Lions running back Jahvid Best remains questionable for Thursday's game with the Patriots which means the Lions will likely need to make use of receiver Calvin Johnson and the passing game if they want any chance at winning on Turkey Day.
Behind Best is No. 2 running back Kevin Smith who hasn?t played much this season, and when he has, he's been relatively ineffective. Smith has 34 carries for 133 yards with no touchdowns compared to the rookie?s 382 yards and four touchdowns. If the turf toe means Best can't go, the Lions? running game is really going to be hurting and virtually nonexistent.
Johnson, one of the game's best receivers who is leading the team with 10 touchdowns, will be the main target for the Lions on Thursday. He has caught 55 passes for 725 yards this season. Both receivers Brandon Pettigrew and Nate Burleson will be getting a lot of attention from the Patriots secondary as well. Pettigrew has 50 catches for 487 yards and three touchdowns while Burleson has 37 catches for 433 yards and four touchdowns.
Helping the case of the Lions is the recent play of quarterback Shaun Hill. The ninth-year quarterback has been on a mini-tear as of late in place of injured Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford. Hill has thrown for more than 600 yards to go along with three touchdowns in his last two starts. Throw in the fact that the Patriots have struggled against the pass at times this year and it could easily turn into a shootout.
The 2-8 Lions will have to play hard on both sides of the ball in order to come close to winning this one, but it?s possible as evidenced by a Week 10 performance in which the Lions took the Jets to overtime. The Patriots are coming off of a crucial win over the Colts while the Lions are coming off a loss to the 3-7 Cowboys.