Forget all the anonymous garbage about center Dominic Raiola.
That's what the Detroit Lions (4-4) need to do this week against the Minnesota Vikings (5-4), who may not have the services of star receiver Percy Harvin because of Harvin's sprained left ankle.
Furthermore, amid all the controversy about what was and wasn't said about Raiola by an opposing team official, the Lions have too much at stake this week to focus on anything but beating the Vikings.
Two consecutive wins aren't the only things propelling Detroit as it dwells at the bottom of the NFC-North standings, Mikel Leshoure's three-touchdown second quarter in a 31-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-7) was an indicator showing that there might be a run game in Mo Town after all.
The Lions will need that if they want to push for a Wild Card bid.
The good news is that three straight wins are possible, especially against a team that's struggled lately with Harvin in the lineup and dropped three of its past four.
Two teams that are going in opposite directions will impact playoff possibilities with a loss. The Lions and Vikings are nearly identical in terms of points averaged and surrendered per outing.
The obvious advantage on the ground goes to the Vikings, who feature soon-to-be 1,000-yard rusher (probably come Sunday) Adrian Peterson. Detroit probably won't stop him from reaching 1,000 yards; he's at 957 already.
However, limiting Peterson will absolutely be important; it's logical to assume with Harvin on the shelf, Minnesota will in turn go to Peterson -- who ran for 182 yards in a 30-20 loss to the Seattle Seahawks -- more often. While Harvin and other receivers have looked to gain ground the past three games, Peterson has averaged nearly 153 yards.
Just food for thought. Sunday's game is a must-win for Detroit, and must-wins don't really get bigger than when they're against a divisional opponent like Minnesota.
"I think that whether it's the first game of the year or the ninth game of the year, whatever it is, when you're playing a division opponent it becomes more important because a win for you also puts a loss on them," Lions coach Jim Schwartz told ESPN. "The way (the Vikings) started the season, they put themselves in the picture. We can't worry about that. We need to worry about just this game."
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