Darrelle Revis will have his sights set on containing "Megatron" Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

Darrelle Revis will have his sights set on containing “Megatron” Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate. (Mike Petraglia/WEEI.com)

FOXBORO — A chilly morning will give way to a seasonably comfortable day as the Patriots look to improve their top position in the AFC with an early afternoon game against the Lions at Gillette Stadium.

Temperatures are expected in the low 50s with a chance of rain. Wind is likely going to be the biggest factor on the day, coming out of the southwest at 10 MPH but gusting to as high as 16 MPH.

The Patriots are playing their first home game since beating Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos on Nov. 2. They are paying tribute to America’s service men and women with several activities planned. There will be a pregame flyover by two F-15Cs from the 104th Fighter Wing, 131st Squadron from Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Mass. The F-15C is an Air Dominance aircraft. The men and women of the 104th provide around-the-clock Homeland Defense of the Northeast Region as well as providing air power around the world.

The national anthem will be performed by the Massachusetts Army National Guard “Voices of Freedom” and the color guard will be provided by the U.S. Marine Corps out of Devens, Mass.

Once the game begins, the Patriots will look for their seventh straight win, which would give them their 14th straight winning season. That streak would match the Green Bay Packers of 1934-47 for the fifth longest in NFL history. Dallas holds the all-time record of 20 from 1966-85. The 14 straight winning seasons would be the third-longest in the NFL since the 1970 merger.

The Patriots will be without pass rusher Chandler Jones for a fourth straight game with a hip injury while Cameron Fleming is out with a ankle injury. Fleming had just returned last week from a five-game absence with a finger injury.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia
Greg Dickerson, Steve DeOssie and Chris Price kick off NFL Sunday remembering the Flutie hail mary 30 years later. Then they get into their thoughts after watching the Pats handle the Colts rather easily last week.

[0:00:33] ... much death like is the have beaten on all comers in the Detroit Lions are up next week say good morning to Christopher price WEEI dot com Christa warning. Meaning sitting at home going. Why couldn't ...
[0:06:22] ... couple others similar to that but still your best quarterbacks in leader Tom Brady Roger's the man these are all pocket guys. Luck is still pocket guy with the ability to run some but as he ...
[0:07:18] ... that's all well what. For a quarterback to have longevity for quarterback Aaron Rodgers is probably the best example that a guy who can't run will run but. Is Smart enough to stay in the pocket ...
[0:16:03] ... never maybe real adjustments defensively never brought that people understand the fear Tom Brady can do that to some two thirds of coordinators. But the fact that they had no answer whatsoever for the way the ...






Join Pete Davidson of WEEI.com and Rotobahn.com for a live chat, helping you set all your fantasy football lineups for Week 12. It all starts at 11 a.m. so get your questions in now …

Live Blog Week 12 Fantasy Football live chat
 

Blog Author: 
WEEI

Our pal Sarah Wroblewski of Fox25 says that if you’re headed to Foxboro for Lions-Patriots, it’s going to be a nice fall afternoon.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

After being released this week to make room for running back LeGarrette Blount, defensive lineman Casey Walker is back with the team, as he was signed to the practice squad on Saturday. To make room for Walker, the team has released linebacker Ja’Gared Davis.

Here is a portion of the release from the team:

Walker, 24, was signed by the Patriots from the Carolina practice squad on Sept. 27. He originally entered the NFL as a rookie free agent with Carolina out of Oklahoma on April 30, 2013. The 6-foot-1, 340-pounder spent part of the 2013 season on the Carolina practice squad and went to training camp with Carolina this past summer. He was released on Aug. 30 and signed to the Carolina practice squad on Aug. 31. Walker played in five games with one start for the Patriots and accumulated 10 total tackles and one sack.

Davis, 24, began the 2014 season on the practice squad before being signed to the 53-man roster on Oct. 4, 2014. He played in three games before being released on Oct. 22 and signed back to the practice squad. Davis did not record any statistics. The 6-foot, 238-pounder, spent the majority of his rookie season in 2013 on the Patriots’€™ practice squad, but did see action in one regular-season game and both postseason games after joining the 53-man roster. He was originally signed by Houston as a rookie free agent out of Southern Methodist on May 10, 2013, released by Houston on Aug. 27, 2013, and claimed off waivers and awarded to the Patriots on Aug. 28, 2013.

For more Patriots news, visit weei.com/patriots.

Blog Author: 
Ryan Hannable
Tom Brady will lead the Patriots against the Lions on Sunday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Tom Brady will lead the Patriots against the Lions on Sunday. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Here’s everything you need to know about Sunday’s contest between the Patriots and Lions:

Our three favorite matchups on the afternoon:

1. Ndamukong Suh against the interior of the Patriots offensive line: As our scout indicated earlier in the week, Suh is one of the toughest matchups in the league for an offensive line because he can be utilized in several spots up and down the defensive front, and is disruptive enough to work as a presence as a run stopper as well as getting after the passer. When he’s lined up as a defensive tackle, look for him to be a two-gap presence that guards Dan Connolly and Ryan Wendell and center Bryan Stork have to deal with. The key when it comes to slowing Suh is to maintain proper technique and footwork, and also get some help in the form of a back who could do whatever he can in hopes of trying to slow him down. The Detroit defensive front is far from a one-trick pony, as Suh is joined by top-notch defenders like defensive end Ziggy Ansah and linebacker DeAndre Levy. (The Patriots will catch a small break, as defensive tackle Nick Fairley is out because of a knee issue.) But his high motor, aggressive approach and phenomenal skill set means Suh will be priority one for the New England offensive line on Sunday afternoon.

2. The Detroit pass defense against Shane Vereen: The Lions do an excellent job of getting after the quarterback and shutting down passing lanes, so look for New England to get the ball out as fast as possible (also expect some play action and reverses to try and counter the hyperaggressive Detroit defensive front). One player who could have good success either out of the backfield or split wide is Shane Vereen, who is just one of six running backs with at least 70 carries and 35 catches at this point in the season. Look for the Patriots to try and get the quick Vereen involved in the passing game against the Lions, a team that is ranked 20th in DVOA against running backs in the passing game this season per Football Outsiders, having yielded an average of 7.4 receptions and 54.6 receiving yards per game against opposing running backs. Looking back at some of the Detroit film, both Arizona and Miami had good success getting the ball to receivers as fast as possible, slowing the Lions pass rush and getting guys like Suh on their heels. Regardless of whether or not Vereen is used out of the backfield in one-back sets (and is asked to slow down one of the Detroit rushers before he goes into his route) or is part of four- and five-receiver sets the Patriots should lean on out of the gate, his presence in this one will be very big,

3. Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate against Brandon Browner and Darrelle Revis: There are a few different schools of thought as to how the Patriots are going to defend what has become a pretty impressive receiving duo, but when in doubt, we’ll fall back on our report from this NFC scout that said that while the Patriots will mix and match their coverage in hopes of confusing quarterback Matthew Stafford, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Revis on Tate and Browner on Johnson. Tate has emerged as Detroit’s No. 1 threat in the receiving game with a team-high 68 catches (on 95 targets) for 950 yards and three touchdowns, and with the understanding that Revis usually draws the tougher assignment, that would certainly seem to make sense. That’s no disrespect to Johnson, who has struggled with ankle and elbow injuries over the last month-plus, but still has 34 catches on 64 targets for 520 yards and three touchdowns. It’s just that right now, Tate is your No. 1 concern in the passing game. Then, there’s the idea that the bigger Johnson (6-foot-5, 236 pounds) is a better matchup for the equally sizable Browner (6-foot-4, 221 pounds), particularly when it comes to jump ball situations in the red zone. Browner doesn’t have the best wheels, but his physical nature and veteran savvy could be a good matchup against Johnson, who is no longer the burner he once was.

4. Under the radar opponent who Patriots’ fans need to know: Fauria is a well-known name around Foxboro, but former New England tight end (and ace midday WEEI guy) Christian is usually the one folks are talking about. This weekend, it’s going to be Joe Fauria, Christian’s nephew and the talented young tight end for the Lions. A 6-foot-7, 259-pounder out of UCLA, Fauria had seven touchdowns last season, and remains a sneaky red-zone threat for Stafford in the Detroit passing game. Fauria has struggled with injury this season (he hurt his ankle chasing after a puppy and sat out six games) but is expected to be in the lineup Sunday against the Patriots. In addition, you can’t sleep on rookie Eric Ebron — while he’s had his own injury issues (hamstring), when he’s been healthy, he’s been a nice addition to the Detroit offense with 10 catches for 103 yards and one touchdown in six games. Coming off back-to-back games against the likes of Julius Thomas and Coby Fleener, it’s not an elite-level matchup, but it’s a positional grouping that can burn you if neglected.

5. By the numbers (tie) — 3: Only three teams in the last 20 regular-season games have topped 100 rushing yards in a game against the Lions. Detroit has allowed one team to reach the 100-yard mark on the ground this season, as the Jets finished with 132 rushing yards in a 24-17 loss to Detroit on Sept. 28.

3: The Patriots have scored at least 40 points in three straight games — tied for the longest streak in franchise history. Just three teams in NFL history have scored 40-plus points in four consecutive contests: 1960 Chargers, 2000 Rams and 2004 Colts.

6. Quote of note: “Foxboro’s a weird place. You go up there and you’re in a hotel and then you got to drive through like back woods to get there and then all of a sudden a stadium appears like it seems like in people’s backyard and it’s like, just a weird place out there. And they love it. They play great there. I’ve never won there. I’ve played there three or four times, I’ve never won there. It’s tough to win there. … I just know you’re going through like the back woods, and you’re just like, ‘Oh my God, what am I going to?’ And then all of a sudden it’s like you see like a little trailer park or something like that, and then all of a sudden you see the stadium, you’re like ‘Whoa, right in the backyard?’ … It’s weird out there. It’s weird out there, I can’t even lie.” — Detroit defensive back Glover Quin speaking with the Detroit Free-Press about playing in Foxboro

7. Patriots fans should be worried about… the Lions finding some way to run the football. Detroit really doesn’t run the football — the Lions’ ground game is led by Joique Bell (122 carries, 422 yards, three TDs) and Reggie Bush (53 carries, 191 yards, 1 TD). The Lions have topped 100 rushing yards as a team just twice in the last 11 regular-season games, dating back to last year. This season, they’re tied for 30th in the league in yards per game (79.8) and yards per carry (3.2). It remains highly unlikely, but if Detroit figures out some way to pick up consistent yards on the ground, it will certainly change the complexion of the game.

8. Lions fans should be worried about… the Patriots getting after Stafford consistently. The Detroit offensive line has struggled with pass protection over the course of the season, and as a result, it’s no surprise Stafford is one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the league with 31 through 10 games. (He’s on pace to be sacked 50 times.) Even though the Patriots won’t have Chandler Jones, there’s the very real likelihood that New England will be able to find a soft spot in the Lions offensive line and exploit it, whether it’s through the use of a situational rusher like Akeem Ayers or deciding to bring an extra rusher. Regardless, this appears to be a winnable matchup for the Patriots, and if they arable to harass Stafford to a point where he starts to throw some bad balls (something he’s done on occasion this year with nine picks), it will certainly go a long way toward winning the ball game on Sunday.

9. One more thing: The Lions have made some really impressive gains over the course of the 2014 season, but at this point in their development, this is a game where they appear to be in a little over their collective heads. This game reminds me of a phrase from former Patriots running back Antowain Smith, who once remarked about a big contest that it’s the sort of game where you have to put your big-boy pants on. The Patriots won’t score as much as they have over the last three weeks — that Detroit defense is one of the better groups New England will face all season — but in the end, the Patriots have more than enough talent and leadership on both sides of the ball to come out of this game with a victory.

10. Prediction:

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
We check in with the playmaker, Hall of Famer Michael Irvin joins us for his weekly conversation about the NFL. We talk to Michael about the Raiders first win, the LeGarrette Blount saga, and how Patriots-Lions might play out.

brightcove.createExperiences();


FOXBORO — LeGarrette Blount is indeed getting his No. 29 back. The question now is whether he will regain the good graces of Bill Belichick after the Patriots took him off the trash heap of the waiver wire this week and gave him a two-year contract, and a second chance with a team that has a chance to go to the Super Bowl.

“Bill is a straight-forward shooter, he’s a 100 percent honest person,” Blount told reporters Friday. “I truly believe that if I do what I have to do, then I’ll make myself a role on this team. Whatever I have to do, I’m going to do it to be productive.”

The 6-foot, 247-pound Blount will team with 230-pound Jonas Gray in the Patriots’ backfield, giving the team some depth if they choose to stick with a power game as the weather turns colder.

Blount didn’t want to talk about why he landed in New England because he clearly didn’t feel the same about Mike Tomlin and the Steelers, who didn’t give him a single carry in Monday’s 27-24 win over the Titans. He left before the end of the game, prompting several Steelers to say good riddance to a disgruntled teammate.

Blount said Friday that he was surprised by his release but not scared because he believes his 27-year-old body still has plenty of football left to give.

“It wasn’t scary at all. I feel like I’m talented enough to land on any team,” Blount said. “[But] I wasn’t expecting it, You know, I don’t really want to talk about it. But just the fact it opened up another opportunity for me to get back here ended up being a good thing for me.

“I’m going to stay ready. I’m in good shape. Whenever they call me to carry the ball, I’m going to go out there and do whatever I can do to make them comfortable with their decision to bring me back.”

Blount, who signed a two-year deal with the Patriots Thursday, turned down a Patriots’ offer believed to be significantly less than the two-years, $3.85 million offered by the Steelers in late March. Blount said Friday he had no regrets with signing with Pittsburgh.

“At the time I was comfortable with my decision,” Blount said.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

FOXBORO — Chandler Jones will miss his fourth straight game with a hip injury while Cameron Fleming’s ankle injury suffered Sunday night against the Colts will keep him out of this weekend’s game against the Lions.