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 Schwartz has sights set much further than a playoff berth. 
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Martha Firestone Ford
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Post Schwartz has sights set much further than a playoff berth.

Head Coach Jim Schwartz began Saturday's postgame press conference by saying, "There's going to come a time when we don't celebrate going to the playoffs or getting into the playoffs ... but that's not going to be tonight."

Though this is only Schwartz's third year in Detroit, he knows the hardship Lions' fans have experienced the past decade, therefore understanding the city's need to celebrate the team's first playoff berth in 11 seasons.

But, deep down, Schwartz didn't want to celebrate. He would have preferred the game ended like any other win the Lions have earned this year.

For him, entrance into the playoffs isn't the reaching of a goal, it's another step toward the real goal: the Super Bowl.

So when he was asked about which opponent he preferred in the opening round of the playoffs, he answered with that end-goal in mind.

"If your objective is to play one game, maybe you’re worried about stuff like that," he said. "(But) to get through - particularly being a wild card like we are - to get through the NFC you’re going to have to win three games. All three of those are going to be good teams, so the only thing we can worry about is ourselves and preparing the very best we can this week.

"(We can't be) worrying about scenarios or all those other things. They’ll have a team for us to play; we’ll be ready for them."

That's not to say Schwartz doesn't care about getting the best-possible seeding for the playoffs.

Currently, Detroit holds the fifth seed at 10-5 because Atlanta (9-5) has yet to play this week. If Atlanta were to lose to New Orleans tonight, Detroit would have the opportunity to clinch the fifth seed with a win at Green Bay.

That being said, this is football, and football coaches tend to think of football with one thing in mind: winning.

"We are going to try to win the game," said Schwartz. "Any game they put in front of us, we are going to try our best to win."

Whether the Lions end up with the fifth seed or the sixth, they will have a difficult road ahead of them as they pursue the franchise's first-ever Super Bowl berth and victory.

"You have seen teams that have gone in and made that run," said Schwartz. "The New York Giants, Green Bay last year, I think the Colts made their run from the wild card. There is an advantage to playing at home and getting byes and things like that but it’s certainly been proven that it can be done.

"I think a lot of that starts this week. If you look at those teams, it wasn’t just what they did once they made it to the playoffs, it was where they were at the end of the season. Green Bay last year needed to win their last two just to get in and that’s why it puts a little more importance on games like this.

"You certainly want to go in(to the playoffs) with momentum. You want to go in with wins. You want to go in healthy, but I think to be in is the most important thing. After that then everybody has a chance."

December 27th, 2011, 10:28 am
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