NEW ORLEANS – For just the third time in 12 games this season the Detroit Lions will have their best five offensive linemen available when they take on the Saints in New Orleans today.
After missing the last two games with a wrist injury and being listed as questionable on Friday's injury report, starting left guard Jonah Jackson is active. Jackson sat out Detroit's last two games against Chicago and Green Bay due to the injury. His return means Detroit will have their best five linemen upfront – Taylor Decker, Jackson, Frank Ragnow, Graham Glasgow and Penei Sewell – playing together against a Saints' defense that ranks eighth in points allowed, 12th in total defense and seventh in pass defense.
On the defensive side of the ball, Lions fans will get to see the debut of veteran edge rusher Bruce Irvin in a Lions uniform. Irvin was elevated from the practice squad to the active list on Saturday.
View photos from the Detroit Lions' trip to New Orleans for their Week 13 game against the Saints.
Irvin has 55.5 career sacks over 11 seasons with five different teams. He made 10 starts and appeared in 11 games with 3.5 sacks last year for Seattle. The Lions have allowed him a couple weeks to get into football shape, something Irvin said this week he really appreciated. Now he's ready to help a Detroit pass rush that has just 23 sacks on the season, which is tied for 26th in the NFL. The Lions' pass rush win rate of 36 percent ranks 28th.
"A lot," Irvin said this week when asked how much he thinks he can help Detroit's pass rush. "I don't want to (make any predictions) but I think I can contribute quite a bit."
The Lions already ruled out veteran linebacker Alex Anzalone because of a hand injury and he did not travel to New Orleans. That means Jack Campbell, Derrick Barnes, Malcolm Rodriguez and others in that room will have to step up today. Anzalone leads the team in tackles and is their best cover linebacker. With him out rookie linebacker Trevor Nowaske out of Saginaw Valley State is active for the first time this season.
Joining Anzalone on Detroit's inactive list today are defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs, defensive lineman Brodric Martin, defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike, linebacker Julian Okwara, wide receiver Antoine Green and cornerback Steven Gilmore.