The Detroit Lions will be down a starter on defense today as they host the Chicago Bears and their No. 1-ranked rushing attack at Ford Field.
Starting safety DeShon Elliott is inactive and will miss his second straight game after suffering a shoulder injury in the third quarter of the Jets game Week 15. Elliott is second on the team behind only linebacker Alex Anzalone with 91 tackles. Detroit missed him last week as Carolina racked up 570 total yards and 320 rushing yards in a win over the Lions.
Second-year player Ifeatu Melifonwu is expected to get his second straight start in Elliott's place. Last week was Melifonwu's first start at safety. He was a cornerback last year and moved to safety this offseason.
"I would anticipate we'd see him react quicker," Lions head coach Dan Campbell said this week of Melifonwu. "I think we're going to see a player that sees it faster and triggers faster, and he knows what we're looking for just from what we talked about, the intensity, the aggressiveness. So, yeah, I anticipate we'll see a better version of Iffy."
Offensively, the Lions will be without running back Justin Jackson after he showed up on Friday's injury report with a hip injury and was listed as questionable. Jackson has been the Lions' main kickoff return man all season and his 26.9 yard average per return is second best in the NFL behind only Green Bay's Keisean Nixon (27.5).
Jackson has also been a solid contributor as a runner and pass catcher in the backfield. Expect Craig Reynolds to pick up some of the slack in his absence behind D’Andre Swift and Jamaal Williams in Detroit's backfield.
View photos from Detroit Lions practice on Friday, December 3, 2022.
Center Frank Ragnow (foot) and linebacker Josh Woods (biceps) were both listed as questionable coming in but both are active. Ragnow has been battling this foot injury all season but has still managed to play at a Pro Bowl level.
Joining Elliott and Jackson on Detroit's inactive list today are guard Kayode Awosika, defensive lineman Michael Brockers, defensive lineman Austin Bryant and guard Ross Pierschbacher.