Detroit Lions Aidan Hutchinson plans to shine against Packers

Detroit Lions Aidan Hutchinson plans to shine against Packers

The Lions and the Packers, each sitting at 8-8, close out the 2022 regular season in grand fashion Sunday at Lambeau Field.

Both teams potentially have a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a win in the Week 18 matchup. 

The Packers literally just have to win to claim a spot in the postseason. Meanwhile, the game becomes a “win-and-get in” scenario for Dan Campbell’s team if the Rams find a way to beat the Seahawks in their regular season finale.

As a result of the playoff implications surrounding the NFC North divisional contest, the NFL decided to flex the game to NBC’s “Sunday Night Football” telecast. 

Outside of the annual Thanksgiving game, it’s the Lions’ first nationally-televised game of the season, and it marks the team’s first primetime contest since Week 2 of last season. It was a Monday Night Football game — televised on ESPN — which also happened to be against the Packers at Lambeau. 

So, there’s a significant portion of Detroit’s young roster that has little-to-no experience playing in primetime. That includes Lions rookie EDGE Aidan Hutchinson.

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Hutchinson, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2022 draft, is beyond excited to play in his first primetime tilt as a pro.

“No doubt. This is huge, man. Obviously, we can’t control our entire destiny. But, either we’re getting in or we’re knocking someone out. So, it’s going to be fun,” Hutchinson told reporters Thursday. “We’re going to — I’m just so excited, man, to be primetime and to do my intro here pretty soon for Sunday Night Football. It’s gonna be — everything about being in a primetime game, being one of those primetime teams is something that I think, playing for the Lions, is something I want to get used to.” 

It’s something that Hutchinson and his teammates will have to get used to, if they carry on their winning ways into the 2023 campaign. After starting the 2022 season with a paltry 1-6 record, Detroit has won seven of its last nine games. And, if it pulls out a win Sunday against Aaron Rodgers & Co. (even just as spoiler to Green Bay’s playoff chances), it further validates the Lions’ status as a team worthy of primetime games next season.

For now, Hutchinson is just worried about filming his player intro video for NBC. He admitted Thursday to putting in some prep time to master his intro for the Sunday Night Football broadcast.

“A couple times,” Hutchinson said, when asked about whether he’s practiced his intro for the telecast. “You see it so much. I feel like it’s so iconic, you know? With everybody, so it’s gonna be fun. And like I said, everything about this game is what I love about football.”

In the first meeting between the two teams this season (in Week 9), the Lions forced Rodgers to throw three interceptions, en route to a 15-9 win at Ford Field. Hutchinson came up with one of those three picks, and also added two tackles and two pressures.

Rodgers later labeled the interception by the first-year pro as a “gift.” Hutchinson, meanwhile, wouldn’t mind being gifted with another pick from the future Pro Football Hall of Famer Sunday.

“It would be cool (to get another gift). It would be cool,” the rookie defensive lineman expressed. “I’m sure he won’t make it as easy for this next time. But, no, I’m fired up and ready to go.” 

Hutchinson, who constantly plays with a high motor, is certainly “revved up” and ready for the opportunity to play on Sunday Night Football.

“I know that we didn’t have any (national TV games) this year besides the Thanksgiving game, but that was a 12:30 (p.m.) game and people were still waking up, I feel like,” Hutchinson said. “So, to have this one is going to be special, and hopefully, we’ll have more next year. So, yeah, I’m going to take advantage of it and play my best ball.” 

You can add fellow rookie Jameson Williams — the No. 12 overall pick in the 2022 draft — to the list of Lions players excited for the chance to play in a big, end-of-the-season contest Sunday. 

“Yeah, it’s a game with a lot on the line,” Williams said Thursday. “We’re just coming prepared. We’ve had a real great week (of practice) so far. It just comes down to who want it more. It’s a real — like I said, it’s a lot on the line for both teams. You know, we’re just coming as prepared as we can and trying to win.”

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