The Lions’ unexpectedly high-scoring offense likely won’t have one of its top performers when Detroit visits the New England Patriots on Sunday.
Running back D’Andre Swift is “unlikely” to play against the Patriots as he continues to recover from a shoulder injury, ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler reported Thursday.
Swift also missed last week’s loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and he saw a limited workload in the two previous games, logging just 12 total carries after going off for 144 yards on 15 rushes in Week 1.
But despite its lead back’s limitations, Detroit has excelled offensively this season. Four weeks in, the Lions rank first in the NFL in points per game, yards per game and yards per carry and just hung 45 points on the Seattle Seahawks without Swift and top receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown. (The defense is a different story. The Lions rank last in total defense and scoring defense and surrendered 48 points against Seattle.)
That offensive explosiveness will be tested this week, however, as Dan Campbell’s club is carrying a laundry list of injuries ahead of its Week 5 matchup at Gillette Stadium. A total of 10 Detroit players missed practice Wednesday, including Swift and St. Brown. That DNP list also included the Lions’ top tight end (T.J. Hockenson), three other receivers (Josh Reynolds, DJ Chark and Quintez Cephus), their starting center (Frank Ragnow) and his backup (Evan Brown).
Headlining the Patriots’ injury list is starting quarterback Mac Jones (ankle), whose status for Sunday remains in question after he practiced Wednesday in a limited capacity. If Jones, who sat out last week’s overtime loss to the Green Bay Packers, isn’t healthy enough to return, rookie Bailey Zappe likely would get his first NFL start.