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Patriots-Lions matchup of the day: Wednesday

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Recent posts by Kevin Fishbain

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Posted Nov. 24, 2010 @ 3:36 p.m. ET
By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a matchup to watch in the Week 12 Thanksgiving Day game between the Patriots and Lions:

Lions defensive line vs. Patriots offensive line

Two of the Lions' best defensive players line up on the front line: rookie DT Ndamukong Suh and veteran DE Kyle Vanden Bosch. The Patriots have one of the most veteran and skilled offensive lines in the game, but they will have their hands full on Thursday.

Suh has essentially locked up the league's Defensive Player of the Year honors, dominating from his defensive tackle position. He not only leads all rookies with seven sacks this season but that mark is best among all defensive tackles. He has added 41 tackles. Vanden Bosch, a free-agent acquisition earlier this year, has four sacks, two forced fumbles and 49 tackles this season and has been a veteran presence in the locker room.

Teams have struggled to put pressure on Patriots QB Tom Brady this season. He has been sacked just twice in the past four games after the O-line gave up 10 sacks in the previous three games. The last time the Patriots played such a stout D-line was against the Ravens in Week Six. Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata recorded one of the Ravens' three sacks against the Pats in Week Six.

C Dan Koppen and OGs Dan Connolly and Logan Mankins will get the task of slowing Suh down. Vanden Bosch will be rushing off the edge going after OLT Matt Light. Light had a great game against Colts DE Dwight Freeney last Sunday, allowing just one sack, and he also played well the previous week with Steelers OLB James Harrison rushing against him. The Lions will run some stunts so Mankins will get some chances to slow Vanden Bosch down, too.

Suh and Vanden Bosch also help stop the run, and considering the Lions have the league's 26th-ranked run defense, the Patriots will challenge the Lions' D-line and pound the ball on the ground, which also takes away the threat of getting pressured by the standout duo.

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