The Detroit Lions head into Week 18 virtually locked into the No. 3 seed for the playoffs. Head coach Dan Campbell has consistently said starters will play Sunday against the Minnesota Vikings, albeit without saying starters will play the whole game and while acknowledging leeway for players dealing with an injury.
Beyond the slim chance to climb to the No. 2 seed, and the general idea of carrying good momentum into the playoffs by not resting key players for the whole game, some Lions' players have things to play for in Week 18. I'm talking about statistical milestones and contract incentives, of course.
Those things, beyond the result of the game, are what drive interest in Week 18 from players who may otherwise be looking ahead in a game that doesn't mean all that much (or nothing at all) to their team. The Lions straddle that line this week, in terms of the regular season finale being meaningful, but players (and their teammates) definitely know what they can attain.
Here's a look at what some Lions' players can attain, statistically or financially, in Week 18.
Detroit Lions: Tracking statistical milestones and contract incentives to watch in Week 18
TE Sam LaPorta
-LaPorta needs one catch to set the new NFL record for receptions by a rookie tight end. He is currently tied with Keith Jackson at 81 catches.
-LaPorta needs three catches to pass Brandon Pettigrew (83 in 2011) and set the new Lions' single season record for catches by a tight end.
-On the far less likely side, LaPorta needs 217 yards to set the new NFL record for yardage by a rookie tight end. (Mike Ditka had 1,076 receiving yards in 1961),
RBs David Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs
The Lions' backfield duo is close to joining an exclusive club. Montgomery has 975 rushing yards this season, while Gibbs is at 915. If they get what they need to get to 1,000 yards, 25 and 85 yards respectively (#math), they can become the seventh duo in NFL history on the same team to rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
WR Josh Reynolds
Reynolds needs one touchdown, which would give him six for the season, to hit a $250,000 incentive. With 36 yards on Sunday, which would put him at 600, he would hit another $250,000 incentive. With Jameson Williams out due to an ankle injury, Reynolds has a better chance to get one or both of these than he otherwise might have.
WR Kalif Raymond
It's a huge longshot, but Raymond needs 211 yards (600 for the season) to get a $125,000 incentive.