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NOTEBOOK: Slay's next test is fellow Pro Bowler A.J. Green

Fresh off the first Pro Bowl selection of his career this week, Detroit Lions cornerback Darius Slay gets back to work Sunday, and will likely draw the attention of another of the league's top receivers in Bengals Pro Bowler A.J. Green.

Part of the reason Slay earned that Pro Bowl nod this year is because he's traveled with, and played well against, some of the top receivers in the league.

Slay and the Lions have held all the NFL's top receivers they've faced this season under 100 yards receiving. It started Week 2 in New York vs. Odell Beckham Jr. (36 yards), and has continued on to include Julio Jones (91), Adam Thielen (59 & 89), Antonio Brown (70), Davante Adams (53) and Mike Evans (11). That's a who's who list of NFL receivers.

Overall, opposing passers have just a 56.3 passer rating when throwing into Slay's coverage area this season.

Can Slay and the Lions' secondary continue to hold the league's best pass catchers at bay Sunday against Green, who made his seventh consecutive Pro Bowl this season?

Green needs just 20 yards against the Lions to become the second player in Bengals history with six 1,000-yard seasons.

The last time Slay and the Lions faced Green was back in 2013 during Slay's rookie season. Slay said the only thing he remembers from that game is Green catching a long out and up for a touchdown. Green caught six passes for 155 yards and a touchdown that afternoon.

"They are all unique in their own way," Slay said of all the best receivers he's faced this season. "Green is one of the best in the game right now and it's going to be a real competitive battle. I see him out there and he works. Run good routes. Has good hands.

"Just like all the best ones, you have to be consistent every year and get better every year and he is."

Green has 67 receptions on the year for 980 yards and eight touchdowns. He's averaging 14.6 yards per reception with a long of 77 yards.

"He's tall, long, good speed, good hands," Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said of Green. "Been very, very productive throughout his career, so I don't expect anything less.

"He's been a good pro ever since he's been in the league, and so I would expect that he's going to give us all we can handle. He's an outstanding talent."

Green can expect to see plenty of Slay on Sunday, in what should be a terrific matchup between two Pro Bowl players.


In Bob Quinn's first draft as Lions general manager in 2016, he selected three offensive linemen -- One in the first round (Taylor Decker), third round (Graham Glasgow) and fifth round (Joe Dahl).

Last week vs. Chicago, all three started in a game together for the first time: Decker at left tackle, Dahl at left guard and Glasgow at center.

"I noticed and I thought Joe played really well," Glasgow said Thursday of Dahl's first start last week and all three picks starting together for the first time.

"I had played a lot with Taylor and played a lot with Joe in practice. It was great to see (Dahl) out there and for him to have his opportunity and I thought he made the most of it. It's fun to play with Joe."

Interestingly, Decker, Glasgow and Dahl all lived together during their rookie season.

Who knows how things will go this offseason, but the Lions drafted Decker, Dahl and Glasgow for a reason. We could be watching the offensive line of the foreseeable future.  


Winning and keeping their playoff hopes alive is obviously task No. 1 for the Lions Sunday, no matter what it takes to accomplish that, but there are a couple impressive benchmarks Matthew Stafford can hit Sunday from an individual passing perspective.

Stafford has thrown at least 25 pass attempts and completed 75 percent or better of his passes in each of his past three games. He can join Tom Brady (2007) as the only quarterbacks in NFL history with four consecutive games with at least 25 pass attempts and a 75 percent or better completion percentage.

Stafford currently ranks third in the NFL with 3,920 passing yards this season. With 80 passing yards this weekend, Stafford will reach 4,000 passing yards for the seventh consecutive season and surpass Peyton Manning (six seasons, 1999-2004) and Matt Ryan (six, 2011-16) for the second-longest streak in NFL history.

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