Jim Prisching, Associated Press
Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz reacts to a call during the first half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Jan. 1, 2012, in Green Bay, Wis.

ALLEN PARK, Mich. — General manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz have done yeoman's work to help a franchise that was 0-16 three seasons ago reach the playoffs for the first time since 1999.

Mayhew has made many productive moves since being promoted to clean up the mess left behind by Matt Millen. One of them was giving Schwartz his first shot to be a head coach.

Schwartz leads the Lions with a fist-pumping passion always on display in his three seasons. Mayhew has done his business quietly, rarely answering questions from reporters in three-plus years of improving the roster.

Their formula has put the Lions in a position to play Saturday night at New Orleans in the wild-card round.