Strategy: Lions Finally Getting Healthy

The Lions should get a break with the return of cornerback Dre' Bly and perhaps safety Terrence Holt and even strong side linebacker Boss Bailey.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Lions should get a break with the return of cornerback Dre' Bly and perhaps safety Terrence Holt and even strong side linebacker Boss Bailey. Defensive coordinator Dick Jauron will have significantly more to work with.

It appears unlikely MLB Earl Holmes (knee) will be back and it's uncertain what kind of strategy Jauron will use to try to contain Atlanta QB Michael Vick.

In previous games against Vick, the Lions have had varied levels of success using a linebacker to shadow him and playing him straight up.

Although Bly will be playing with his right hand in a cast, his presence gives the Lions both a physical and emotional lift.

GAME PLAN: The Lions challenge will be to stop the Atlanta running game, whether it's RB Warrick Dunn, RB T.J. Duckett or QB Michael Vick. And their problem will be trying to do it without their best run-stopping linebacker, MLB Earl Holmes, if he is unable to play because of a knee injury. The Lions would like to get their own anemic running game untracked to control the clock and force Atlanta to beat them with Vick's passes.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH

Lions RG Damien Woody vs. Falcons DLT Rod Coleman. Coleman leads the Falcons with seven QB sacks and will be lining up on Woody, who is generally considered the Lions best offensive lineman.

Lions WR Roy Williams vs. Falcons LCB DeAngelo Hall. Williams has been on a hot streak since returning from a thing injury two weeks ago. He has 12 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns. Hall leads the Falcons with four interceptions.

Lions CB Dre' Bly vs. Falcons QB Michael Vick. Bly is the Lions best defensive playmaker. Even with his right wrist in a cast he is also the Lions best pass defender with four interceptions in six games.

INJURY IMPACT: The injury situation is much better than it has been in recent weeks. The Lions have all of their receivers back and healthy. The biggest area of concern is the linebacker crew. MLB Earl Holmes (knee) still appears likely to miss a second straight game and backup Teddy Lehman went on IR. It will help if SLB Boss Bailey is able to play, as now appears possible.


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