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O'HARA'S WEEK 5 PREVIEW: Lions not taking Panthers lightly, especially after last year's loss

The Detroit Lions are gearing up for their second revenge game of the season with expectations of a better outcome than they experienced in their first revenge game earlier this year.

The Carolina Panthers should make a fitting opponent in Sunday's game at Ford Field in the Lions' quest to get even for a 37-23 loss last year that ultimately kept the Lions out of the playoffs.

It isn't just the loss that motivates the Lions to settle the score in a rematch.

"It's a game we needed last year, and they kicked our butts," quarterback Jared Goff said.

The Lions finished last season with a 9-8 won-loss record. They were tied with Seattle for a wild card berth in the NFC playoffs. Seattle made the playoffs because of a win over the Lions in the regular season.

Seattle beat the Lions, 37-31, in overtime in a revenge game in Week 2 of this season.

The Lions are clear favorites over the winless Panthers. The Lions are 3-1 and going for a third straight win to strengthen their hold on first place in the NFC North.

"I know they're going to come with it," Goff said of the Panthers. "They need to win. So do we. It's going to be a good battle."


Rookie woes: The stress and disappointment of losing are starting to show on Panthers rookie quarterback Bryce Young.

Most of Young's teammates had showered and left the locker room after last week's 21-13 loss to the Vikings while Young remained sitting in front of his locker in full uniform.

"It's not a good feeling," Young told a reporter. "We all feel that. We lost four. We haven't won yet.

"It's not a great feeling."

Young was drafted first overall. He missed one game because of an injury and played reasonably well in the other three, completing 67 of 103 passes for 503 yards, two TDs and two interceptions.

Run comparison: Carolina rushed for 320 yards in a win over the Lions last year. They've rushed for 381 in the first four games this year. Young chipped in 61 yards on seven attempts.

Lions' nemesis: Adam Thielen, Carolina's top wide receiver with 27 catches for 287 yards, is well known to the Lions. He spent the previous nine seasons with the Vikings. He made the Pro Bowl twice.

View photos of the starters for the Carolina Panthers.


Offense: The Lions have balance. They can run or pass efficiently. They've shown that they can dominate the fourth quarter with their run game.

Defense: The pass rush and run defense have been lethal the last two weeks. The Lions have sacked the quarterback 12 times. On the ground Atlanta managed to squeeze out 44 yards on 20 carries, and Green Bay got 27 on 12 carries.

Lions-Panthers prediction:

The national spotlight is shining on the Lions. That's enough motivation to avoid taking the Panthers lightly. Lions are favored by 9.

My pick: Lions 33, Panthers 16.

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