This should be an exceptional matchup, especially if Bly is left one-on-one on the outside. Observers around the league are starting to realize Smith is one of the most explosive receivers in the league. At 5-foot-9, Smith has a dangerous combination of speed and strength. He also has outstanding hands and has only dropped one pass all season. Smith is averaging nearly seven catches per game for more than 94 yards a game and already has six touchdown receptions. Smith will have his hands full with Bly, however, who is Detroit's shutdown corner and uses his hands well. If Bly can shut down Smith alone, it will allow the Lions to focus on stopping Carolina's running game.
Lions RT Kelly Butler vs. Panthers LDE Julius Peppers
Peppers has somehow gone five games without a quarterback sack; the Lions don't want this to be the game in which he breaks out.
Lions RB Kevin Jones vs. Panthers MLB Dan Morgan
Jones hasn't had a breakout game yet this year and is averaging only 2.9 yards per carry. If the Lions are to get their running game going, it's got to be better than that.