'This is as special as it gets' - Lions HC Dan Campbell eager for Week 18 trip to Lambeau Field

By Sports Desk January 01, 2023

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell is over the moon to be heading on the road next week to take on the Green Bay Packers with a spot in the playoffs potentially up for grabs.

The Lions bounced back from a loss last week to trounce the Chicago Bears 41-10 on Sunday, making it seven wins from their past nine fixtures and improving their record to 8-8.

There was also some history made by the second overall selection from the 2022 NFL Draft, with Lions edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson snagging his third interception to tie the record for the most by a defensive lineman in a season in the Super Bowl era.

Hutchinson also shared a sack with teammate Ifeatu Melifonwu, one of seven total sacks on Bears quarterback Justin Fields.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Campbell pointed to a fully padded practice on Wednesday as the rallying point for his side facing a tricky quarterback matchup with their season on the line.

"We went full pads on Wednesday and said we were going to get our identity back, and we're going to recalibrate, and those guys did that," he said.

"They trusted us, and they came out and it looked like that. It looked like we were ready to go, it looked like we were more physical. I was proud of them.

"Here's the hard thing with playing a guy like [Justin] Fields, man. If you just come barrelling off the edge, and you're out of control, then he's gone.

"So you have to be able to bring a little bit of force and close the pocket in on him, but you can't commit one way or another because he'll break contain again.

"While all this is happening, our back-end is having to cover their rear off for five, six, seven seconds at a time. You give up a couple of holding calls, that's not an easy task there.

"But all-in-all, I thought we snapped back on defense. We were much more physical, we got takeaways, we got sacks, we were disruptive."

Detroit's win keeps their season alive for at least one more week, and Campbell said he feels blessed to get a chance to play a massive January game at the famous Lambeau Field.

"I think it means everything," he said. "I think it's just so special – it's as good as it can get, seriously.

"You get to go to Lambeau – historic Lambeau – where the top of this division has been Green Bay every year for years, with a chance to earn your right to potentially get in.

"Even if we do get the win, it doesn't mean we're guaranteed to get in. But I know this, we're guaranteed to get one more week, and so I just think this is as special as it gets. I don't think you'd want it any other way."

The Lions will be relying on another strong performance from quarterback Jared Goff, who Campbell said is "extremely hot" after his three-touchdown effort.

"He has a ton of confidence right now, and he's had that for a while," he said. "He's played pretty well all year.

"You can just tell he's in this mode right now where you feel like every time you dial up a pass, he's going to find somebody. He's going to find the throw, he's going to get it to the guy that's open.

"That's a great feeling, man. To feel your quarterback is in that mode, and he's been there, that's a great feeling."

Goff himself has played in playoff games and took the Los Angeles Rams to a Super Bowl appearance, but he still acknowledged how meaningful it still is to just have a chance at making the postseason.

"It's huge," he said. "Not every team, players, young guys get an opportunity to play in games like this.

"There are a bunch of guys here who, for the first half of their careers, have not had a chance to play a game in January that means something, and we're going to get that chance next week.

"Whether it gets us in or not, that's not up to us, but we're going in there and trying to win, and see where everything falls at the end."

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