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TWENTYMAN: 5 games to watch this week

The bye week will give Detroit Lions players and coaches an opportunity to rest, get healthy and watch some of the other teams in action.

Lions fans also get an opportunity to scout some of Detroit's upcoming opponents.

Here are five games worth tuning into this weekend:

**1. NEW ORLEANS (3-2) AT GREEN BAY (4-2), 1 P.M.


What was supposed to be a matchup between two sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterbacks in Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers is no more after Rodgers suffered a broken collar bone in last week's loss in Minnesota.

The headline in this one has shifted to Brett Hundley's debut as Green Bay's starting quarterback for the foreseeable future.

The 4-2 Packers are hoping Hundley can play well and keep Green Bay on track for their ninth-straight playoff appearance. The 3-2 Saints will try to keep things rolling on the road in Lambeau Field after an impressive win against Detroit last week.

2. CINCINNATI (2-3) AT PITTSBURGH (4-2), 4.25 P.M.

The Lions will be able to live scout their next opponent coming out of the bye week. Detroit hosts Pittsburgh at Ford Field on Oct. 29.

The Steelers' offense has been inconsistent this season, though they did play well last week in a 19-13 win last week over then undefeated Kansas City.

The Steelers' defense has been the real story in Pittsburgh, however. That unit is allowing just 17 points per game and rank third in total defense (272.0). They are first against the pass (153.5).

The Lions play in Cincinnati on Christmas Eve, so this is also an opportunity to scout two opponents at once.

**3. BALTIMORE (3-3) AT MINNESOTA (4-2), 1 P.M.


The Lions are currently one game behind both Minnesota and Green Bay in the NFC North. Detroit's already defeated Minnesota once this year, and the two will square off at Ford Field on Thanksgiving.

Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has had a tough start to his season. He's thrown just four touchdowns vs. eight interceptions in six games.

Detroit heads to Baltimore later in the year to play the Ravens, so like the Bengals/Steelers game, Lions players, coaches and fans can scout two future opponents at once.


Last year's NFC playoff race came down to the last week of the season between the Lions and Redskins. Washington's loss in Week 17 guaranteed the Lions a playoff berth before they even kicked off their game against the Packers.

Philadelphia owns the best record in the NFC, and Washington is expected to be in the NFC playoff mix when it's all said and done. This is a good NFC showdown with playoff implications.

5. CAROLINA (4-2) AT CHICAGO (2-4), 1 P.M.

The Bears are a game behind the Lions in the NFC North, but rookie quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has infused some life into that football team. They went on the road and beat Baltimore last week in Trubisky's first start on the road.

The Bears can run the ball, and they play good defense. They just need Trubisky to play well and not make too many mistakes, and they should be in every game.

Carolina beat Detroit two weeks ago, which means this one could also have playoff implications down the road.

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