Kevin Nogle, The Phinsider (KN): Now that Megatron is over his recharging period over the past few weeks, what should we expect from him? Is he 100%? What about Reggie Bush?
Sean Yuille, Pride of Detroit (SY): Johnson said on Wednesday that he is almost 100 percent. It appears he is finally over his high-ankle sprain for the most part, and assuming he doesn't aggravate the injury upon his return, I would expect to see the usual ol' Megatron who makes a ton of plays and gives defenses headaches. The most interesting thing will be how he and Golden Tate work together with Tate becoming the Lions' top receiver in recent weeks.
As for Reggie Bush, he also appears to be healthy. It's entirely possible he will lose some snaps to Theo Riddick, who has really emerged as a weapon on offense lately, but the expectation is for Bush to still have a big role on offense.
KN: Another big injury for the Lions was the knee injury to Nick Fairley, who seemed to have responded to losing his starting position in the offseason. How bad is the injury? Is former Lions, former Dolphins, former Lions, former Bears, and former Lions (did I get all the Detroit stints in there?) Andre Fluellen just on automatic speed dial for the Detroit front office at this point?
SY: Fairley looks like he's going to be out at least a month, although the Lions have denied that there is any kind of a timetable for his return at this point. In any case, C.J. Mosley, who is back from a suspension, will start in Fairley's place, and rookie Caraun Reid will also have a bigger role going forward. Also, Fluellen, as you mentioned, is back yet again to provide extra depth. This is actually the eighth time he's signed or re-signed with the Lions during his career. It's really become a midseason tradition for the team to re-sign him.
KN: This game is going to feature two of the top three defenses in the league, based on yards per game allowed. Coming into the season, everyone knew the Lions' defensive line was going to be great, but I don't think anyone was anticipating the rest of the defense being ranked number one overall after being 16th to finish last year. What's attributing to this success?
SY: More than anything, it's new defensive coordinator Teryl Austin. The Lions really have the same amount of talent as last season, but unlike the old coaching staff, Austin is actually getting the most out of that talent. The D-line has been phenomenal, and DeAndre Levy has been outstanding at linebacker. And even the secondary has played at a pretty high level this season despite being ravaged by injuries. Everything just seems to be clicking with Austin leading the defense.
KN: Along with Calvin Johnson and Reggie Bush, the Lions are also expecting to get back some tight end help through some combination of Brandon Pettigrew, Eric Ebron, and/or Joseph Fauria. (Seriously, with all these injuries, how have the Lions been able to hold it together this year? What a perfectly timed bye week for Detroit.) Anyway, my real question is, with all of the players coming back, how do you think the offense will change this week versus what's on film from the last few games?
SY: My hope is that the Lions will start to open things up a bit more on offense. As of late, they've seemingly been extra cautious until the score necessitated them to start throwing the ball around and take shots downfield. Going forward, with so many of their top weapons returning, hopefully we will see an offense that isn't afraid to take some chances. I know offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi has really put a focus on limiting turnovers, and he's been in a tough situation with the run game being nonexistent, but the Lions need to make plays earlier in games instead of simply waiting until they're in need of a late comeback.
KN: What do you think the outlook for the Lions is the rest of the season? Will they be able to hold on to the top spot in the NFC North?
SY: I'm still skeptical of the Lions' chances of winning the NFC North. They're in a great spot right now considering they currently own the No. 2 seed in the NFC, but they have a really tough final eight games. Not only do they have back-to-back road games against the Arizona Cardinals and New England Patriots coming up, but they have to finish the season on the road against the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers. Considering they haven't won at Lambeau Field in more than two decades, it's tough to have any confidence in the Lions' chances of winning in Week 17, and the NFC North title could very well be on the line in that game.
I do think the Lions will contend for a playoff spot, and it would be disappointing if they don't at least secure one of the wild cards. However, between the schedule and how the Packers have looked in recent weeks (their loss to New Orleans notwithstanding), I think winning the NFC North will prove to be a pretty difficult task.
Big thank you to Sean for taking the time to give us a look at the Lions. You can check out more about Detroit, and my answers to Sean's questions, by heading over to Pride Of Detroit.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-week fantasy football "Double Up" league this weekend. It's $10 to join and nearly half the field doubles their money. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.