For D’Andre Swift and other young members of the Detroit Lions, Sunday serves as the biggest game of their careers.
The Lions are firmly in playoff contention with one game left in the regular season. Sunday’s matchup between Detroit and the Green Bay Packers carries heavy playoff implications, and it’s so meaningful that the league made it the Sunday Night Football game.
Swift is a unique case for the Lions’ offense. He’s been up and down, as injuries have hampered his production. Yet, the running back has been particularly impactful in recent weeks, with two touchdowns last week.
Now that he feels recovered from ankle and shoulder issues that held him back, the running back is focused on playing his best, in an effort to help his team extend its season.
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“It’s been real good. I’ve faced adversity since Week 1. Just being blessed enough to go out there each week and compete with my teammates and the type of season that we’ve had, I’m just proud to be a part of it. Winning season, winning a lot more than years prior, so just the way we overcome adversity, things we go through week in and week out. Just proud to be a part of it.”
Quarterback Jared Goff, in his second year with the team, has plenty of pivotal experience. At 28 years old, he’s already logged six games of playoff experience. This includes his start against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 53.
This experience at the quarterback position is important for the young team. The veteran can remain cool, as he understands how to handle the jitters of win-or-go-home situations.
When speaking to the media earlier in the week, Goff spoke of how impactful critical games can be for young players and their development.
“Yeah sure, when you’re young, absolutely,” Goff said. “Just playing in these situations where it really matters late in the year, and hopefully, we get some playoff games where it’s truly big. But, these games matter. And, they’re big, and they mean more, and it’s on the road. It’s in Lambeau, and all that goes into it. And, we’ll be ready. We’ll be ready to have some fun, and hopefully get after them.”
Goff’s experience is a real asset for the rest of the team. Swift said the presence of the veteran will help the squad in critical situations.
“(It’s) real comforting,” Swift explained. “He’s been there before, he’s seen it before. Goff, the type of year he’s having, just real excited to play beside him. All the guys, real excited. He’s been there before, so he kinda knows this atmosphere, away games, they’re home. He knows what we’re up against.”
Swift is one of many young players getting their first taste of the playoff atmosphere. Detroit head coach Dan Campbell has made it no secret that this game is important. Rather than make it feel like just another game, Campbell has leaned into its importance.
Swift, a third-year running back, has yet to play in a game that carries this much weight during his pro career. As a result, the Georgia product acknowledges that it’s the most important showdown of his young career.
“For sure, most definitely,” Swift said. “It’s a playoff game, in my eyes. Sunday Night Football, everybody’s watching. It don’t get too much better than this.”