Every week during the regular season Tim Twentyman will answer 10 good questions from his Twitter account @ttwentyman in a feature we call "10 Questions with Twentyman."
20man: I think that's a fair question because Detroit's offense has had chances this season to put games away with the lead. I think there have been times when they've been a little too passive with the lead.
But it's also worth noting that Detroit is one of only five teams this season that have scored at least 20-plus points in every game this year, per NFL Media Research. They're among a pretty talented group of offenses, including Pittsburgh, Kansas City, New Orleans and Arizona.
Detroit's scored enough to win more games this season. For me, the bigger question should be how does the Lions' defense figure out a way to play consistent for 60 minutes and hold on to the leads the offense has given them and the defense has contributed to building early on? That's what I think needs to be better moving forward.
20man: It's not a great sign wide receiver Kenny Golladay was back at practice Wednesday in limited fashion, but then sat out Thursday. Hopefully there was no setback. Teams usually like to see a steady progression with players returning from injury. Going from practice to no practice is going in the wrong direction, especially after missing two weeks of practice and games with a hip injury. We'll have to see what Friday looks like and his game designation, but Thursday's practice report was a step in the wrong direction.
Another factor to consider is the quick turnaround for Detroit this week playing four days after Sunday on Thanksgiving next week. Detroit likely won't push it Sunday if Thanksgiving gives Golladay a better chance to be closer to 100 percent. We'll just have to see how it plays out in the coming days.
20man: I would expect that to be the case with Golladay not out of the woods yet and if either Marvin Jones Jr. or Danny Amendola aren't able to play Sunday. Losing Jones in particular would be a hit to this offense. He's been playing really well of late.
Detroit has three receivers currently on the practice squad – Mohamed Sanu, Tom Kennedy and Victor Bolden.
I asked head coach Matt Patricia about Sanu on Thursday, and he said he's been awesome. Patricia said he's run some really good routes on the practice field.
Given Sanu's experience, if they need more outside help, he seems like the likely candidate for a promotion. If the Lions need help inside, Kennedy and Bolden could be in play. Maybe we see multiple players called up due to injuries at the position.
20man: I think it was in the plans all along. It's kind of been a process for D'Andre Swift leading up to this point after he wasn't able to get as many reps as Bevell and the Lions would have hoped at the start of training camp due to an injury.
Bevell said this week he feels Swift is fully up to speed, and that obviously showed up in the game last week.
The concussion Swift suffered this week certainly comes at a bad time. But when he's ready to go, whether that's Sunday, Thanksgiving or whenever, I think the usage we saw from Swift last week is what the Lions will be hoping for moving forward.
20man: T.J. Hockenson wasn't a key contributor last week, for really the first time all season. Maybe the toe injury he's been dealing with played a factor.
Carolina ranks 22nd against the pass (255.5 yards per game). Tampa Bay tight ends scored two touchdowns last week against them. Kansas City tight ends had 159 receiving yards against them the week prior to that. It seems like there may be some opportunities to get back right this week, if that's in the game plan.
20man: Teddy Bridgewater has practiced in a limited capacity so far this week.
If he can't go and Carolina turns to P.J. Walker, the first real hit for them comes in the fact that Bridgewater's completion percentage of 72.1 is second in the NFL to only Drew Brees (73.5). It's not a big sample size, but Walker in two games has completed 3-of-8 passes (37.5 percent) for 15 yards.
Walker doesn't have a lot of professional experience outside of the XFL, where he was a standout playing for the Houston Roughnecks.
I'd say the biggest thing Walker brings to the table is his athleticism. Walker rushed for 771 yards and nine touchdowns in college at Temple. Walker also knows this offense well, and Rhule knows what Walker can and can't do within it, because Walker was Rhule's quarterback all four years at Temple.
20man: Both teams kind of control their own destiny with one game remaining against each of their division opponents. New England ends the year at Miami, and has home games against Buffalo and New York (Jets).
I think overall it's harder for the Patriots just because of the current playoff picture in the AFC. The Patriots at 4-5 are currently the No. 10 seed in the AFC. The Lions are also the No. 10 seed in the NFC with an identical 4-5 record. But the two teams ahead of New England still outside the playoff picture are Tennessee and Cleveland at 6-3. The four through seven seeds in the AFC are all two games ahead of the Pats at 6-3.
In the NFC, Detroit's trailing ninth seed Minnesota (4-5) and eighth seed Chicago (5-5). The Rams and Seahawks hold the sixth and seventh seeds in the NFC at 6-3.
There are fewer teams with good records in the NFC to have to leapfrog, giving the Lions the better odds, in my opinion.
20man: No Christian McCaffrey is a win for the Lions' defense this week, but they certainly aren't sleeping on veteran Mike Davis, who is averaging 4.2 yards per carry this season and has also caught 47 passes out of the backfield.
Stopping the run has been the single most important factor in deciding if Detroit wins or loses football games this season. In Detroit's five losses, they've given up an average of 193.2 yards on the ground, compared to 77.0 in their four wins. When the Lions stop the run, they typically win the football game.
Carolina comes into Sunday's contest ranked 22nd in rushing offense, averaging 105.4 rushing yards per game.
20man: Nothing I can really see from a scheme perspective.
What stands out to me has been a lack of playmaking late in games in those got-to-have-it situations. A big sack, key interception or key play on third or fourth down that gets them off the field. The biggest deficiency on defense late in games from my perspective has been a lack of playmakers stepping up and making keys plays on defense down the stretch.
20man: I would certainly expect Kerryon Johnson to have a bigger role Sunday if Swift (concussion) can't play. Adrian Peterson will likely have a heavy role on early downs, and Johnson could see some increased carries on top of his third-down role.
That's really the benefit of having a veteran like Johnson in the backfield. He's experienced and knows the offense. He can hop right in seamlessly. I bet he's chomping at the bit to get a few more carries.