Lions hope to close out season with third win

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Detroit Lions coach Jim Schwartz is not a big believer in the theory that winning the season's final game will give an NFL team momentum for the next year.

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"That's probably overplayed," Schwartz said Monday. "It may make you feel good for a week or two going into the offseason, but then you start looking at the season as a whole again."

As a matter of fact, Schwartz thinks there is a danger to paying too much attention to the final games of a season.

"I've been part of teams where we made mistakes in evaluating players because of a good performance at the end of the year -- we gave that more weight than the entire body of work over the season," he said. "We've done the opposite as well -- penalize a player too much for a poor finish to a good season."

So Schwartz doesn't plan to treat this weekend's season finale against Chicago as anything other than a normal game -- one he wants to win, but not one that he considers more important than the first 15.

"We're going to try to win this game," he said. "That's the same thing we do every week."

That's why Schwartz is considering going back to Daunte Culpepper at quarterback instead of giving Drew Stanton his second career start. Stanton earned the job after helping the Lions rally the previous week against Arizona, but only led Detroit to three points during Sunday's 20-6 loss to San Francisco.

"We're not going to make a decision based on getting a better look at a guy -- we'll make the decision based on who helps our offense and who gives us the best chance at winning the game," he said. "In the last few games, our quarterbacks have not played well."

While Schwartz won't decide on a quarterback until later in the week, Stanton knew he lost a chance to win the spot as Matthew Stafford's unquestioned backup. The former second-round pick turned the ball over four times -- three interceptions and a fumble.

"This was my first career start, and I had a chance to do that," he said Sunday. "I did some good things, but at the end of the day, it was far, far inferior to what I wanted to do."

Stanton hopes to get another chance against the Bears, but knows that his poor performance brought Culpepper back into the picture.

"Having four turnovers at my position isn't going to win football games," he said. "If you turn the ball over like that, you aren't going to be out there for long."

The loss was Detroit's 20th in a row on the road, four short of the NFL record they set from 2001-03.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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