After the results of Week 17, the Detroit Lions are virtually locked into the No. 3 seed in the NFC playoffs with a slim chance (2.7 percent, according to ESPN analytics) to move up to the No. 2 seed. It's just a matter of who'll they'll play at home in the Wild Card Round, and beating the Minnesota Vikings in Week 18 won't have any say in that.
There's a "rest vs. rust" debate to possibly be had here. At a certain point, the Lions will surely consider taking key players out of next Sunday's game if it makes sense. Whatever (less than three percent) chance there is eventually something to gain, with the Eagles-Giants and Cowboys-Commanders both in the late afternoon window and the Eagles and Cowboys both having to lose to give the Lions the No. 2 seed, is not worth the risk of an important player being injured.
Lions' players and coaches are certainly ready to get right back on the field after the controversial Week 17 loss to the Cowboys. Based on how he spoke and carried himself during his press conference on Monday, Campbell is ready to go and would put pads on this week if he could.
Dan Campbell reveals expected plan regarding Lions' starters playing in Week 18 vs. Vikings
Campbell was asked if Lions' starters will play against the Vikings in Week 18.
"Yeah, that’s the plan right now, play our guys."
A couple weeks ago, in anticipation of this type of situation, Campbell was asked what his philosophy is on resting players if the Lions had the division title/a playoff seed locked in. His answer was absolutely expected.
"Yeah, when we’re done with the season, they’re going to rest. I promise you that,” Campbell said. "They’re going to get plenty of time off.”
So as of right now the Lions will play their starters in the regular season finale. Campbell saying otherwise would have been surprising. There will surely with some publicly unspoken regard for when it might be appropriate to change course in-game though.