Detroit Lions will ‘recalibrate, respond’ vs. Bears with NFL playoffs on line

Detroit Free Press

On Wednesday morning, Detroit Lions coach Dan Campbell sent a message to his players and coaching staff.

Having already digested the film, Campbell instructed them to forget about last Saturday’s blowout loss to the Carolina Panthers and focus solely on Sunday’s clash with the Chicago Bears at Ford Field. The Lions, facing adversity yet again, must return to their winning ways over the next two weeks if they want to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2016.

“This is our recalibrate week,” Campbell said Wednesday. “We’re going to recalibrate because we were doing some good things. … We just got a little out of line, so let’s do a little realignment, recalibration and go back to work.”

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Quarterback Jared Goff, who hasn’t thrown an interception (compared to 12 touchdowns) in the past seven weeks, echoed a similar message. He believes the Lions are built to bounce back.

“Recalibrate and respond,” he said, “and find a way to get better and improve and beat Chicago.”

The Lions, of course, started the season with a 1-6 record before winning six of their next eight games, putting them at 7-8 overall. They won three straight games in November (against the Green Bay Packers, Bears and New York Giants) and three straight games in December (against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets).

“The adversity we’ve been through this year is much greater than one loss,” Goff said.

To advance to the playoffs, the Lions need to beat the Bears and Packers for a second time this season (and get help from other teams). Detroit has a 24% chance to make the playoffs, according to

The Bears have lost eight games in a row, as well as 11 of their past 12.

“We’re treating them like any other team,” Goff said. “I don’t care who it is. We were a team like that last year, and we felt like we could beat anybody. They feel the same way. So yeah, show up ready to play.”

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But the Bears, with a 3-12 record and a half-game from controlling the No. 1 overall pick, could easily play spoiler, thanks to the mobility of quarterback Justin Fields. The Lions topped the Bears, 31-30, in a Week 10 comeback but let Fields run for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

The Lions have struggled to contain running quarterbacks this season.

Fields is slated to play the final two games of the season despite having his foot stepped on and hurting his previously injured non-throwing shoulder in Chicago’s 35-13 loss to the Buffalo Bills. He was held to 71 rushing yards by the Packers in Week 13, 95 rushing yards by the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 15 and a season-low 11 rushing yards by the Bills in Week 16.

“The first tape you’re going to turn on is your last game,” Campbell said. “You’ll always look at that one and see what was done well and what wasn’t done well. And then you do have to go over the last few games. You need to look at what’s been done. I think you combine the two, and then you have to understand how they’re looking at it and where they feel like they can expose you.”

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After watching film, Campbell tipped his cap to a seemingly underrated component of the Bears.

Chicago’s defense — decimated by injuries in the secondary — has forced six turnovers in the past two games and 21 turnovers throughout the season. Ball security will be crucial for the Lions in their Ford Field finale.

“Last home game,” Goff said. “We’ve had a lot of fun in front of our home fans this year, and this one, we expect to be the same. They’ll be rowdy, and offensively, we want to score a lot of points for them and come out with a win.”

Putting last Saturday’s disappointment to rest, Goff laughed at the possibility that the Lions were shell-shocked by their recent loss and expressed confidence in a more favorable result this Sunday.

He doesn’t seem fazed by the difficult task ahead.

“It’s another game, and we will respond accordingly,” Goff said. “We had a tough game. We didn’t play well. We lost, and they played better than us. It’s the National Football League. That’s going to happen.

“Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t go back and look at it and see what we need to get better at, but we know every game is tough. We’ve won six of eight and need to find a way to win eight of 10. I feel good about it.”

Contact Evan Petzold at or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold.

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