For the first time in two weeks, the Detroit Lions will have all 11 starters on defense active and available for today's NFC showdown with the Carolina Panthers (3-1). It certainly comes at a good time for Detroit, who faces probably the toughest challenge they've seen this year at quarterback in Carolina's Cam Newton. Newton threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for another 44 yards and a score in the Panthers' win over New England last week.
Starting MIKE linebacker Jarrad Davis is back in the lineup after missing the last two games with concussion and neck injuries. With WILL linebacker Tahir Whitehead playing so well to begin the season (third highest graded LB by Pro Football Focus), getting Davis back solidifies the linebacker corps against Carolina's versatile offensive attack.
All of Detroit's defensive players who were questionable coming in – Davis, Ziggy Ansah, Don Carey, Haloti Ngata and Whitehead – are all active.
Detroit also gets some good injury news from the other side of the football. Right tackle Rick Wagner (ankle/shoulder) and right guard T.J. Lang (back) were both questionable coming in after suffering injuries in last week's 14-7 win over the Vikings, but both are active. That means Detroit has all five starters along its offensive line against a Carolina defense that's ranked fourth in overall defense (282.0 ypg) and fifth in scoring defense (17.5 ppg).
The Lions already ruled out receiver Kenny Golladay (hamstring), running back Dwayne Washington (quad) and linebacker Paul Worrilow (knee). Joining those three on today's inactive list are: Running back Tion Green, cornerback Teez Tabor, guard Tim Lelito and linebacker Thurston Armbrister.