The Lions enter today's game in New Orleans thinner than usual, especially at linebacker.
Starting MIKE linebacker Tahir Whitehead was downgraded from questionable to out Saturday with a knee injury. He didn't travel with the team.
The Lions will also be without linebacker DeAndre Levy for an 11th consecutive game because of a knee injury. Levy was questionable coming in after being limited in practice again all week. He hasn't played since a Week 1 win in Indianapolis.
Veteran Josh Bynes and rookie Antwione Williams could get the bulk of the snaps at linebacker. Defensive coordinator Teryl Austin could also choose to play a lot of nickel and dime with their low numbers at linebacker, and may utilize more of their three-safety sub package. The only other linebacker on the active roster is Thurston Armbrister.
Detroit will also be without receiver Marvin Jones Jr., who is inactive after being limited in practice all week with a thigh injury. Jones leads the team with 730 receiving yards, and his 17.4 average per catch also leads the team.
The Lions promoted receiver TJ Jones from the practice squad on Saturday as insurance for Marvin Jones. Andre Roberts could move up in the pecking order with TJ Jones likely the fourth receiver. TJ Jones has 10 career receptions for 132 yards and a score, all of which came last season. He's been on the practice squad the entire year up to this point.
Defensive end Armonty Bryant, who was activated from Exempt/Commissioner Permission Saturday, is active after missing the last three games due to suspension. Bryant had three sacks in his first four games with the Lions before the suspension. He returns to the lineup today.
Special teams also took a hit. They'll be without their leading tackler, Don Carey. He's inactive for a second straight game with a hamstring injury.
Joining Whitehead, Levy, Marvin Jones and Carey on the inactive list for the Lions today are: tackle Cornelius Lucas, offensive lineman Joe Dahl and quarterback Jake Rudock.