1. Pats O-line vs. Ndamukong Suh
One of those reasons the Lions are considered a “team on the rise” has to do with reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year, DT Ndamukong Suh. Suh made 66 tackles last season, and had 10 sacks to go with it. He’s already considered one of the best lineman in the NFL. In the first preseason game, Suh got to Bengals QB Andy Dalton, grabbed him by the head, and threw him down — after the ball had been thrown. Bet that Logan Mankins won’t allow that.
2. Jump in, the D-line gang is all here.
There’s no more interesting roster battle than the battle on the Patriots’ defensive line.
Against the Bucs last week, Andre Carter shined coming off the edge. You won’t see it on the stat sheet, but he was consistent in pressuring the quarterback.
Who will it be this week? Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth both returned to practice earlier this week, but it’s unclear how much either will play. Rosters are cut from 90 players to 75 before the final preseason game, so some of these guys could be playing their last game in a Pats uniform.
3. From Stafford to Megatron with love.
The Pats beat up on the Lions last season on Thanksgiving, but QB Matthew Stafford had already gone down earlier that season with a separated shoulder.
Now, Stafford is back, and he’s got two superb receivers in Calvin Johnson and Nate Burelson to throw to. The secondary will be tested, and players like Darius Butler and Jonathan Wilhite are on thin ice as it is.
“You got to prepare and be ready to go when you have a guy of [Johnson’s] caliber and especially the physical talents he has,” cornerback Devin McCourty said.