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O'HARA'S WEEK 5 PREVIEW: What's next for Hockenson after big Week 4 performance?

Tight end T.J. Hockenson is all for it if he has been rediscovered as a play-making option in the Detroit Lions' offense.

He played that role in last week's 48-45 loss to the Seahawks and would like it to carry over, starting with Sunday's road game against the New England Patriots.

"That's to be determined," Hockenson said. "I hope so. We have so many really good pieces on this offense. We've got a lot of guys that are making plays."

With running back D’Andre Swift and wide receivers DJ Chark and Amon-Ra St. Brown missing, Hockenson was a primary target for quarterback Jared Goff against the Seahawks.

Hockenson had eight receptions for 179 yards and two touchdowns. He also had a catch for a two-point conversion, a 37-yard TD catch and a long reception of 81 yards.

Hockenson has been a productive player in his four seasons as a Lion. He made the Pro Bowl with 67 catches in 2020 and was on the way to repeating last season until a foot injury forced him to miss the last five games. He had 61 catches in the first 12 games.

Lions keys:

1. Offense - attack to the finish: Until proven otherwise, the offense has to carry the defense. The pressure is on the offense to play close to perfection.

An example of that was last week's 48-45 loss to the Seahawks. The offense put up more than enough points to win, but an interception return for a TD contributed to the loss.

2. Defense – limit breakdowns: Defensive breakdowns have been deadly from the opening game through the last play of Sunday's game.

Breakdowns in the run game and passing game have given opponents too many easy touchdowns. The defense hasn't made enough big plays to make up for those mistakes. Case in point: The Lions have one sack in the last two games.

3. Leadership - from the top: It has to come from head coach Dan Campbell to get the Lions headed in a winning direction. He made some key offensive changes last season, and the players reacted to finish on an upswing.

Campbell acted earlier this season. It began with so much promise but is doomed if the defense does not improve immediately.

It was the right time to move – with no letup.

Patriots' woes: They are losing quarterbacks and games almost at the same rate. Neither one is a good sign for the Patriots.

They have a 1-3 won-loss record and have had to use three quarterbacks because of injuries. Starter Mac Jones went out with a sprained ankle in the Week 3 loss to the Ravens. Backup Brian Hoyer went out early with a head injury in last week's overtime loss to the Packers.

View photos of the starters for the New England Patriots.

Rookie Bailey Zappe took over and played well, completing 10 of 15 passes for 99 yards and a TD.

The Patriots rank 17th on offense in total yards and 18th on defense.

My pick: The Patriots are favored by three points, which means the oddsmakers think the Lions have their best chance to beat the Patriots on the road since a 19-16 win in 1993.

Bill Belichick is likely to have something ready to counter whatever the Lions do on defense.

Patriots 23, Lions 20.

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