NFL Wire News

Lions’ Stafford tries to defy history in hometown Dallas


ALLEN PARK, Mich. — Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford has a unique chance Sunday to win a playoff game in his hometown of Dallas, but he said Wednesday that he’s approaching it like any other game.

“I don’t need much motivation; it’s a playoff game,” he said. Win or go home gives you enough motivation. Obviously, it’ll be fun playing in front of a bunch of my friends and family, but other than that, just trying to win a football game.”

The Lions have some historical hurdles to overcome Sunday. Their last playoff win was in 1991, and though it was against the Cowboys, it was at home. The last time they won on the road in the postseason was in 1957, the year they last won an NFL championship.

And, of course, Stafford’s 0-17 road record against teams that finished with a winning record is on the line, too, which has led to criticism this year after the Lions lost three such games.

“I’m not too worried about what other people think,” Stafford said. “I was getting criticized when I was throwing for 5,000 yards or 4,000 yards and not winning games. If you try and make everybody happy, it’s going to be a long day for you.

“I don’t worry too much about that. I just try and help my team win. We’ve got 11 wins this year, and I’m pretty fired up about that.”

–Lions strong safety James Ihedigbo will return to the starting lineup after being benched for the second half of Week 17.

“We’ve moved on. It’s all about this game and just winning this game,” Ihedigbo said Wednesday. “We’re preparing to play our best ball when it’s needed most, which is now.”

Ihedigbo is the Lions’ enforcer on defense, hitting as hard as a linebacker — three forced fumbles this year — and also being surprisingly solid in coverage this year with four interceptions.

“I’ve had a hell of a year; there’s no soul-searching about that. I’ve been out here kicking butt every game,” Ihedigbo said. “You have to go back and do what you do well and prepare the way you prepared all season.”

–Right guard Larry Warford must spend as much time as possible in the training room to give him a chance to play against the Cowboys after suffering a right knee injury last week against the Green Bay Packers. After missing practice Wednesday, it’s doubtful that he’ll play, but the team remains optimistic there’s a chance.

“It sucks,” he said Wednesday. “Opportunities like this don’t come by every year. They talk about all the time how fortunate we are to put ourselves in this position. If I don’t get to play, it’s just crappy.”

Warford was wearing a brace on his left knee Sunday, something he hadn’t done until suffering an injury in Week 10 that cost him three games. Now, after suffering another knee injury, he plans to wear a brace on both knees to hopefully avoid future injuries.

“I’ll probably be bracing up for rest of my career,” he said.

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