The Detroit Lions are banged up on offense heading into today's matchup in Carolina with the Panthers, but the good news is quarterback Matthew Stafford is active today.
Stafford was questionable coming into today's contest with a right thumb injury suffered early in the win over Washington last week. Stafford finished the game and threw for three touchdowns, but missed practice Wednesday and was limited Thursday and Friday because of the injury. We'll see today how the thumb injury might affect his grip and velocity.
Stafford will be down three key contributors at the skill positions on offense. Wide receivers Kenny Golladay (hip) and Danny Amendola (hip), and rookie running back D’Andre Swift (concussion) were all ruled out Friday. Those three have accounted for 79 receptions for 1,024 yards and four touchdowns so far this season.
Detroit still has their top two pass catchers on the year in terms of receptions and touchdowns in tight end T.J. Hockenson and wide receiver Marvin Jones Jr. Marvin Hall, Jamal Agnew and Mohamed Sanu will also look to help fill the void in the passing game.
View photos from the Detroit Lions' trip to Carolina for their Week-11 game against the Panthers.
With Swift unavailable, I expect Adrian Peterson to start the game and split carries with Kerryon Johnson. Detroit could even work in veteran Jonathan Williams as well. It's unfortunate timing with the injury to Swift, who made his first career start last week and totaled 149 scrimmage yards and a touchdown against Washington.
Defensively, Detroit will be without defensive lineman Da'Shawn Hand (groin) and defensive end Austin Bryant (thigh). They were downgraded from questionable to out on Saturday, which makes Detroit pretty thin upfront on defense already playing without defensive end Trey Flowers (IR). Romeo Okwara and Everson Griffen could see a lot of reps on the edge, with Nick Williams, Danny Shelton and John Penisini handling a lot of the duty inside.
Linebacker Jarrad Davis, safety Will Harris and offensive lineman Halapoulivaati Vaitai were also questionable coming into today, but all are three are active.
Joining Golladay, Amendola, Swift, Hand and Bryant on Detroit's inactive list are quarterback David Blough and guard Logan Stenberg.