2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Alone in first, Lions choosing words carefully

By NOAH TRISTER - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-11 15:01

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) - NFL coaches always seem keenly aware of the worst-case scenario, so it was no surprise when Detroit's Jim Schwartz brushed off any talk of his team's position in the standings.

The Lions won at Chicago on Sunday to take over sole possession of first place in the NFC North. With a favorable-looking schedule and generally good health, Detroit has a chance to win its first division title since the 1993 season - but there's still a lot of football to be played.

''We've got six wins,'' Schwartz said Monday. ''That's not going to be enough.''

For now, it's more than any other team in the division. Detroit (6-3) held on for a 21-19 win to complete its first regular-season sweep of the Bears since 2007. Chicago and Green Bay are a game behind the Lions, and the Packers are dealing with injuries to quarterback Aaron Rodgers and backup Seneca Wallace.

When asked about the possibility of hosting a playoff game or earning a first-round bye, Schwartz was having none of that discussion.

''Good try,'' he said. ''We've got way too far to go to start talking about stuff like that. ... I know it's exciting for fans of our team and people around the league and things like that, but honestly I think you get sidetracked by starting to get ahead of yourself as a team. We want to guard against that.''

This is the latest in the season the Lions have been in sole possession of first place since they led the NFC Central after Week 10 in 1999, according to STATS. Detroit was 6-3 at that point, too, then stumbled down the stretch, barely making the playoffs as a wild card at 8-8.

The fine line between winning and losing was obvious Sunday. Detroit allowed a touchdown with 40 seconds left, then stopped a pair of 2-point conversion attempts. Chicago got two chances because of a penalty on the first one.

Toward the end of the second quarter, the Bears came away with no points after driving all the way to the 4-yard line. Jay Cutler's pass was tipped by Ndamukong Suh and intercepted by DeAndre Levy in the end zone.

''It was a great win, no question about it, but you've got to make it count,'' quarterback Matthew Stafford said. ''We have to make this one count later down the road and it starts next week. We have a new opponent that we don't play every week and that team is dangerous.''

The Lions play at Pittsburgh next weekend.

Detroit made a few mistakes against the Bears that could have been costly. Stafford had an interception returned deep into Lions territory in the fourth quarter, but Chicago had to settle for a field goal. The Bears twice appeared to have reached the end zone, but the first touchdown was called back for holding and the second was turned into an incomplete pass by a replay review.

When the Bears drove for their final touchdown to pull within two, they were helped by an unnecessary roughness call on Detroit defensive lineman Nick Fairley - but Fairley came back with a sack on the next play.

''It's a long season to get through. There's a lot of things that you've got to persevere through,'' Schwartz said. ''Praise - and success - is one of those things. Quite honestly, that's something that in the past we haven't done a good job of.''

The Lions made the playoffs two seasons ago, then collapsed last year en route to a 4-12 record. They've put themselves in position to take another big step forward over the next few weeks.

Only one of the remaining seven games on Detroit's schedule - the Thanksgiving matchup with Green Bay - is against a team that currently has a winning record.

So the Lions are in an unfamiliar position: They've played well, caught a few breaks - and now their biggest concern may be how well they handle success.

''Being successful in this league is dealing with adversity and bouncing back, but it's increasingly becoming part of the scope of the NFL to deal with praise and to deal with the accolades and things like that,'' Schwartz said. ''It makes it difficult to stay level headed. It makes it difficult to stay even keeled throughout the course of a season.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Julius ThomasNov 27 07:52p

Denver Broncos TE Julius Thomas (ankle) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Anthony DavisNov 27 07:23p

The San Francisco 49ers have declared OT Anthony Davis, WR Bruce Ellington, DL Glenn Dorsey, QB Josh X. Johnson, WR Quinton Patton, CB Tramaine Brock, TE Vance McDonald inactive for Week 13.

Arian FosterNov 27 07:12p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 27.

Allen BradfordNov 27 07:12p

The Seattle Seahawks have declared LB Allen Bradford, TE Cooper Helfet, CB Jeremy Lane, LB Kevin Pierre-Louis, C Max Unger, TE Rashaun Allen, DL Travian Robertson inactive for Week 13.

Jordan CameronNov 27 06:32p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Latavius MurrayNov 27 04:52p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray (concussion) was limited during practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 27 04:02p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Tony HillsNov 27 03:22p

The Dallas Cowboys have declared LB Dekoda Watson, OG Donald Hawkins, QB Dustin Vaughan, FS Jeff Heath, DL Joshua Brent, OT Tony Hills, CB Tyler Patmon inactive for Week 13.

Taylor HartNov 27 03:12p

The Philadelphia Eagles have declared OT Dennis Kelly, DB Jaylen Watkins, WR Jeff Maehl, OG Julian Vandervelde, QB Nick Foles, CB Rashad Carmichael, DE Taylor Hart inactive for Week 13.

Jordan ReedNov 27 03:02p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Dwayne AllenNov 27 02:32p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Thursday, Nov. 27.

Kyle FullerNov 27 11:32a

Chicago Bears CB Kyle Fuller (knee) will play in the team's Week 13 game against the Detroit Lions. Fuller had been questionable during the week.

Lance BriggsNov 27 11:22a

The Chicago Bears have declared WR Chris X. Williams, LB Darryl Sharpton, OT Eben Britton, DL Jeremiah Ratliff, LB Lance Briggs, CB Terrance Mitchell, DL Trevor Scott inactive for Week Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

The Detroit Lions have declared QB Kellen Moore, OG Larry Warford, DE Larry Webster, DL Nick Fairley, RB Reggie Bush, OT Riley Reiff, WR Ryan Broyles inactive for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 11:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is inactive Thursday, Nov. 27, for Week 13.

Reggie BushNov 27 10:12a

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is out for Week 13 Thursday, Nov. 27. His ankle isn't responding well enough, but the hope is to return for Week 14.

R. Griffin IIINov 27 09:53a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III is highly unlikely to return to the team next season, sources within the organization said. Head coach Jay Gruden convinced owner Daniel Snyder [ More ]

Jimmy StatenNov 26 09:43p

The Seattle Seahawks signed free-agent DT Jimmy Staten (Seahawks) to their practice squad Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also released OT Andrew McDonald from their practice squad.

Marcus ThigpenNov 26 09:03p

The Buffalo Bills claimed WR Marcus Thigpen off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Wednesday, Nov. 26. The team also waived DE Bryan Johnson.

Richard GordonNov 26 09:03p

The Tennessee Titans waived TE Richard Gordon Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Larry FitzgeraldNov 26 08:33p

Arizona Cardinals WR Larry Fitzgerald (knee) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Dwayne AllenNov 26 07:33p

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (ankle) did not participate in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

C. PattersonNov 26 06:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson (knee) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jerick McKinnonNov 26 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Jerick McKinnon (back) did not practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Brandon LaFellNov 26 06:03p

New England Patriots WR Brandon LaFell (shoulder) was limited during practice Wednesday, Nov. 26.

Jace AmaroNov 26 05:13p

New York Jets TE Jace Amaro (head) is not expected to play in Week 13, because he is going through the concussion protocol.

Reggie BushNov 26 04:53p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle, back) was limited in practice for the third straight day Wednesday, Nov. 26, and is questionable for Week 13 against the Chicago Bears.

Jordan CameronNov 26 04:43p

Cleveland Browns TE Jordan Cameron (concussion) remains day-to-day, but the team is looking for him to practice symptom-free this week, according to head coach Mike Pettine.

Jordan ReedNov 26 04:13p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed (hamstring) was limited in practice Wednesday, Nov. 26, according to head coach Jay Gruden.

R. Griffin IIINov 26 02:53p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III needs more seasoning, and he'll likely do it from the bench for the rest of this season, according to head coach Jay Gruden. [ More ]

Arian FosterNov 26 02:33p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) has an excellent chance to return in Week 13 against the Tennessee Titans after missing the last two games.

Mark SanchezNov 26 02:23p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Mark Sanchez has thrown six interceptions this year, but all of them haven't been game-changing turnovers. In Week 12 against the Tennessee Titans, Sanchez thrived on [ More ]

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