TWENTYMAN: Houston, Mathis out; Johnson, Levy will play

Posted Dec 22, 2013

The Lions will be very thin at cornerback today with starters Chris Houston and Rashean Mathis both inactive

The Detroit Lions will be very thin at cornerback today for a key matchup with the New York Giants.

Darius SlayCB Darius Slay (Photo: Gavin Smith)

Both starters Chris Houston (toe) and Rashean Mathis (illness) have been ruled out.

That means second-year cornerback Jonte Green will get his second start in a row. This week he'll man the right cornerback spot for Mathis. The Lions are moving second-year cornerback Bill Bentley from his nickel slot position to the left cornerback spot in place of Houston.

Expect safety Don Carey to play the slot cornerback position in the nickel, which he’s done at times this year.

As a result, the Lions have rookie Darius Slay active for the game, despite his doubtful status on Friday’s injury report coming off arthroscopic knee surgery a few weeks ago. Slay will probably only play, however, in an extreme emergency.

The team also has cornerback Chris Greenwood available if needed.

Receiver Calvin Johnson is active and will start. He was questionable coming in after missing practice Wednesday and Thursday and being limited on Friday, but the league’s premiere receiver is a go.

Linebacker DeAndre Levy, who’s tied for the NFL lead with six interceptions, will also play, despite not practicing all week with a foot injury.

Detroit won’t have tight end Brandon Pettigrew, he’s already been ruled out with an ankle injury. Expect rookie tight end Joe Fauria to have an increased role today.

Joining Pettigrew, Houston and Mathis on the inactive list will be: quarterback Kellen Moore, running back Mikel Leshoure, guard Rodney Austin and guard Leroy Harris.