With a win on Thursday night the Dallas Cowboys (9-4) moved into the sixth seed in the NFC playoff picture and knocked the Lions (8-4) out, at least temporarily.
Coach Jim Caldwell said he does not talk to the team about the playoff race.
“Nothing, don’t even talk about it,’’ Caldwell said “It’s not our issue right now. Our issue is Tampa and that’s what we focus in on.”
The Lions play the Tampa Bay Bucs (2-10) on Sunday at Ford Field.
The coach said he does not tell the players to avoid playoff talk.
“I like authenticity. I don’t tell players exactly what you should say, what you shouldn’t say,’’ Caldwell said. “We advise, we direct, we talk about what’s important for us and that’s our focus and etcetera. What they choose to discuss is up to them.”
Still his message has gotten through because the players are focused in on the next opponent not what’s going to happen in early January. It’s been that way all season.
If the Lions win out, they will win the NFC North. If they win three of the last four they have a good chance of earning a wild-card berth.
The Lions play the Bucs at home on Sunday; the Vikings (5-7) at home on Dec. 14; the Bears (5-8) at Chicago on Dec. 21 and the Packers (9-3) at Green Bay on Dec. 28.