Five things to know as Lions prepare to face Browns

You know the Lions are in bad shape when the best thing that can be said is they haven’t lost a game in November. First they had a bye week, then last Sunday they tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Still looking for their first win, the Lions (0-8-1) face the Browns (5-5) on Sunday in Cleveland. The Browns are coming off a 45-7 loss to the Patriots.

Coach Dan Campbell said the team had a good week of practice.

“There again, we know this is an opponent that’s going to be ready to go. They’re back home, very talented. So we’ve got to be ready, but I like where we’re at right now,’’ Campbell said on Friday.

Five things to know:

1. Quarterback Tim Boyle is expected to get his first career start with Jared Goff listed as doubtful with an oblique injury. Boyle has been on injured reserve since he underwent surgery for a broken thumb in the preseason. He spent the past two seasons in Green Bay backing up Aaron Rodgers. He’s ready to prove himself. “Opportunities, especially in the NFL, come very few times unfortunately, but that’s the beauty of the NFL. It’s so competitive. It’s been a long journey, just kind of reminiscing on my story of starting football when I was six years old and here I am as a 27-year-old still blessed to have this opportunity,’’ Boyle said.” it really is. It’s about preparation and always staying ready. I’ll be ready to go.”

2. The Lions signed rookie kicker Riley Patterson from the Patriots practice squad after Ryan Santoso missed a 48-yard game-winning field goal in overtime and an extra point earlier in the game at the Steelers. Austin Seibert will miss at least two more games.

3. After a bit of a scare this week with an elbow injury, left tackle Taylor Decker should be ready to go for his second straight start. He’s officially listed as questionable. “I think he’s good. I think it was not as bad as we thought it could be. So, I think it is – I think we’re fine. I think he’s going to be good to go. Look, he’s tough, man. He’s going to handle this well. He got it checked out and should be good,’’ Campbell said.

4. The defense will be tested by Browns’ running back Nick Chubb. “I would say it’s very similar to talking about Najee Harris last week. This team, they’ll try to run this offense through Chubb,’’ Campbell said. “I think he’s a special player. I think he’s – if there is such a thing as being underrated, he is maybe one of these underrated backs in the League. You can argue he’s the best or top two or something. I just think this guy is – he is, he is a special back. And so, we know they’re going to give him the ball, he’s going to carry the load.’’ Chubb is averaging 103 rushing yards per game and 6.0 yards per carry. 

5. While the Lions had to settle for a tie a week ago, there were good signs with the defense (after the first quarter) and the run game which finished with 229 yards. Campbell would like to see the team build on that. “You’d like to think that it’s something that we can continue to do that – there is something to be said about that recipe giving you the best chance to have success. I bring this up again, our defense came up with turnovers, too,’’ Campbell said. “That’s got to be very much a part of this. We have to have some turnovers and we’ve got to protect the football just like we did last week offensively. That’s as big of a part as anything is in all of this.”

INJURY UPDATE: OLB Trey Flowers (knee), RB Jermar Jefferson (knee/ankle) and T Matt Nelson (ankle) will not play.

PREDICTION: Browns 27, Lions 14

Author: Paula Pasche

Paula Pasche, a veteran sports writer, covers the Detroit Lions for her Lions Lowdown blog. She has written two books, "Game of My Life Detroit Lions" and "100 Things Lions Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die" which are available at bookstores and on Amazon.com. She won first place for column writing from the Society of Professional Journalists in Detroit (Class B) in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and was The Oakland Press 2010 Staffer of the Year.

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