Pros and Cons of Detroit Lions Resting Starters….

Should they or should they not sit their starters? 

That is the big question facing each of the NFL’s 32 franchises heading into the final week of the regular season.

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell already came out earlier this week and said that he plans on playing his starters against the Minnesota Vikings this weekend. 

Campbell told reporters, “We’re gonna use our full arsenal and go win this game. That’s the objective here.”

Certainly, there are both pros and cons for the Lions to rest their starters against the Vikings.

On one hand, Detroit has already clinched a playoff berth and wrapped up the NFC North division crown. That right there arguably could be enough reason to keep Jared Goff and the team’s other starters on the sideline and out of harm’s way in Week 18.

However, on the other hand, Campbell’s team – which currently possesses the No. 3 seed in the NFC – still has an outside shot at moving up to the No. 2 seed.

In order for the Lions to capture that two seed, they need a lot to go right Sunday. 

First off, they need to beat, or at least tie, the Vikings. It’s definitely within the realm of possibility, especially with Minnesota coming off a 33-10 defeat – its worst loss of the season – to Green Bay.

If Detroit does indeed take care of business against Minnesota, it still will need help from two sub-.500 teams: the Washington Commanders (4-12) and the N.Y. Giants (5-11). Campbell’s squad will need the Commanders to beat the Dallas Cowboys and the Giants to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles in their respective season finales. Both of those results coming to fruition is rather unlikely. 

By the way, as long as the Lions win Sunday, they can still secure the No. 2 seed if the Commanders-Cowboys and Giants-Eagles contests end up in ties.

Obviously, Detroit is in a precarious situation entering its Week 18 matchup with Minnesota. And, it’s a situation that Lions offensive coordinator Ben Johnson has never been in before.

“This is 12 years in the NFL, and I’ve only gone on to the playoffs one time. And, it wasn’t knowing going at the end of the season that we were going to be in the playoffs,” Johnson expressed. “So, that’s where when something like that happens, just a good reminder, yeah, I don’t have certain experiences. But, I’m surrounded by so many great guys that compensate for that. 

“Coach Campbell’s been in this position before. (Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn) AG’s been in this position before. We’ve got such a robust coaching staff that – with a wide variety of opinions on how we should proceed in a scenario like this. So, I’m trusting. I’m trusting the powers that be and that have gone through this before (to decide) what the best course of action is to get us ready, (and) not only to win the game this week, but also the future weeks, as well.”

If I were in Campbell’s shoes, I likely would’ve played it safe, and opted to sit the starters the final week of the regular season with the division already clinched. 

Additionally, Detroit, as noted above, has a very little chance of improving its playoff seeding. It would’ve made my decision to rest and preserve the health of Goff and the team’s other first-stringers even easier.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.