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NOTEBOOK: Tate/Jones Jr. a formidable WR duo for Lions

The receiving tandem of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs are considered by most to be one of the best pass-catching duos in the league. They were No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in the NFL in receiving yards when the Lions faced the Vikings in Week 4.

While Diggs' numbers have tailed off some, partly due to missing two games with injury, the overall numbers for the two Vikings receivers are impressive through 10 games. They've combined to catch 97 passes for 1,448 yards and eight scores.

Detroit's top two receivers – Golden Tate and Marvin Jones Jr. – don't get a lot of credit across the league for the tandem they're quickly becoming, but on numbers alone this season, they've been just as productive as Thielen and Diggs.

Tate and Jones have caught the same number of passes (97) for a slightly lower yardage total (1,313), but have one more touchdown (9).

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer knows how dangerous Tate and Jones can be, especially with quarterback Matthew Stafford playing as well as he is right now.

"Yeah, it's really difficult," Zimmer said of trying to defend Tate and Jones. "Golden Tate is, really, he's a terrific player. He's tough, catches the ball well, great run after catch, very sneaky and elusive running routes.

"And Marvin Jones, I was with him in Cincinnati, he's a great kid. Makes some unbelievable catches, has great leaping ability, great speed. So, those guys are good, and the quarterback is amazing getting the ball to them and moving with his feet in the pocket."

Tate and Jones are the only receiver tandem in the NFL where their quarterback has a 100-plus passer rating when throwing to either of them. When targeting Jones this year, Stafford's passer rating is 108.5. When he targets Tate, it's 108.4.

"They stay healthy, they contribute each and every week and they're consistent," Lions safety Glover Quin said of Tate and Jones, who he goes up against every day in practice.

"To me, that's a good duo."

The Lions will need Tate and Jones to be good on Thursday against a Vikings defense that ranks fourth in points allowed, fifth overall and 11th against the pass.


There's still a ton of football to be played, but it is Week 12, and the playoffs are just a little more than a month away now.

The Lions are right in the middle of the playoff chase, but as it sits right now, they're on the outside looking in. Here's what the playoff picture in the NFC currently looks like heading into Thursday's Thanksgiving Day games.

No. 1 seed (bye): Philadelphia (9-1)

No. 2 seed (bye): Minnesota (8-2)

No. 3 seed: New Orleans (8-2)

No. 4 seed: Los Angeles (7-3)

No. 5 seed: Carolina (7-3)

No. 6 seed: Atlanta (6-4)

In the hunt:

No. 7: Detroit (6-4)

No. 8: Seattle (6-4)

No. 9: Green Bay (5-5)

No. 10: Dallas (5-5)


Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is terrorizing opposing quarterbacks this year, so much so that his name is among the early ones being thrown around for defensive player of the year. Griffen had at least one sack in the first eight games he played this season – he was inactive Week 10 vs. Washington – and has 10 sacks overall on the year.

View photos of the starters for the Minnesota Vikings

He recorded a sack, five tackles, two tackles for loss and three quarterback hits in the Week 4 loss to Detroit.

While Thursday will be the second time these two teams have met in 2017, it's the first matchup of the season between Griffen and Lions left tackle Taylor Decker, who was on IR for the Week 4 meeting between the clubs.

Decker's been active for two weeks now. He played every snap in Detroit's win in Chicago last week. He hasn't allowed a sack in either game he's played this year.

Decker knows he has difficult task this week. He said the toughest thing about playing against Griffen is that Griffen has great speed, power and a terrific counter spin move, and he never ever takes a play off. Over the course of 60 snaps, that's tough to deal with.

Griffen saw his streak of games played with a sack snapped last week vs. Los Angeles, so he'll no-doubt be looking to start a new streak Thursday.

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