Lions battle Giants in final regular season home game
Detroit looking to keep playoff hopes alive
DETROIT – The Detroit Lions once had control of the NFC North but four defeats in five games have left them on the outside of the postseason picture entering Sunday's matchup against the visiting New York Giants. Detroit has no shot at a wild card so its only path to the playoffs is to win the division, but it trails Chicago by one game and Green Bay by a half-game with two to play. Back-to-back losses have left the Lions needing to win out and hope for losses by the Bears and Packers.
One positive for Detroit is facing an opponent that has totally unraveled - the Giants have absorbed consecutive 23-point beatings, including last week's 23-0 home loss to Seattle to drop out of contention in the mediocre NFC East. New York turned in what coach Tom Coughlin termed a "pathetic" effort against the Seahawks, managing only 181 total yards.
"Offensively, I don't know whatever word you want to use to describe it, is probably pretty accurate," quarterback Eli Mannning said. "It wasn't good."
TV: 4:05 p.m. ET, Fox. LINE: Lions -9.5. O/U: 49.
ABOUT THE GIANTS (5-9): Manning's train wreck of a season reached its nadir when he threw a career-high five interceptions against Seattle, boosting his total to a league-worst 25 and matching his career high from 2010. His passer rating of 69.7 is his lowest since his rookie campaign and doesn't figure to get any better with leading receiver Victor Cruz dealing with a concussion and a sprained knee that will cause him to miss Sunday's game. Andre Brown was held to 17 yards rushing by the Seahawks, while the defense played fairly well and collected four sacks.
ABOUT THE LIONS (7-7): Manning is not the only QB who has been a turnover machine. Detroit's Matt Stafford has been picked off 10 times and lost two fumbles in the past five games. Three more interceptions by Stafford in last week's 18-16 loss at Baltimore continued the Lions' inability to protect a fourth-quarter lead, which has occurred in each of their last four defeats. Wide receiver Calvin Johnson is second in the league with 1.449 yards, but he had a couple of costly drops last week and has only one TD reception in the last four games after hauling in seven in the previous four.
1. Stafford went over 4,000 yards for the third straight season last week and is one of three QBs to to reach that total three times in his first five seasons.
2. Giants DE Justin Tuck has 7.5 sacks in his last four games and is one shy of hitting double digits for the fourth time in his career.
3. RB Reggie Bush needs 60 yards to become the first Detroit player to rush for 1,000 yards since 2004.
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