Each Wednesday throughout the season we'll identify one player or area of the team that is most under the microscope. This week, S Brandon Meriweather is the choice.
After a shaky start to the season, Meriweather's play has picked up of late and he is starting to show more consistency in the Patriots' secondary. He intercepted Peyton Manning last Sunday, leading to a Patriots score.
The Lions' best chance to win (and for that matter, every Patriots opponent) is to throw the ball against the league's 31st-ranked passing defense. With a great deep threat in Calvin Johnson, it will be on Meriweather to help out over the top.
CBs Devin McCourty and Kyle Arrington will get their chances to cover Johnson, but considering how the Patriots covered Randy Moss, expect Meriweather to play a deep center-field type of role, helping on any deep ball that could be thrown to Johnson.
On just a few days rest, this could be a trap game for the 8-2 Patriots who have hit their stride since the Cleveland debacle. Their defense has not been good, but opportunistic, and Meriweather has been a part of both the good and bad. He needs to have a solid game on Thursday and help contain Johnson. The Patriots have done a good job avoiding giving up big plays and Detroit will want some quick strikes to gain momentum and a lead at home. It will be on Meriweather to help contain the Lions' passing attack.