SERIES HISTORY AGAINST PATRIOTS: 9th meeting. The series currently stands at 4-4, with the Patriots winning the last game, 20-12, on Thanksgiving Day four years ago.
BY THE NUMBERS: 5-40 -- The Lions road record going back to the 2001 season. That includes a 24-game road losing streak covering three full seasons (2001-03), three road wins in 2004, two in 2005 and none in the first five tries this year.
GAME PLAN: The Lions have their work cut out for them again this week going against a team that features the strength and balance that is the envy of virtually every other NFL team. The running game would appear to be the key. If RB Kevin Jones can stay healthy, the Lions will at least have a chance to control the ball and not rely entirely on QB Jon Kitna to provide an offense. Defensively, the Lions are ill-equipped to stop the New England combination of Laurence Maroney and Corey Dillon, especially with two-time Pro Bowl DT Shaun Rogers not expected to play while he continues his recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH:
--Lions WR Roy Williams vs. Patriots CB Asante Samuel -- Williams needs seven yards for his first 1,000-yard season; Samuel leads the Patriots with six interceptions and is likely to get help covering Williams.
--Lions QB Jon Kitna vs. Patriots OLB Rosevelt Colvin -- Kitna was sacked eight times by the Dolphins and will have to try to avoid Patriots OLB Rosevelt Colvin (4.5 sacks) and DE Jarvis Green (5.5 sacks) this week.
--Lions WR LB Ernie Sims vs. Patriots RB Laurence Maroney -- Two of the NFL's top rookies will collide in this matchup. Sims leads the Lions defenders in tackles and Maroney leads the Patriots with 610 yards rushing.
INJURY IMPACT: Again, the Lions will probably be operating without their best defensive player -- DT Shaun Rogers (knee). And with DE James Hall (shoulder) and DT Shaun Cody (toe) out for the season, the Lions need big games from DT Cory Redding and the cast of backups to keep the Patriots from dominating the line of scrimmage.