The Detroit Lions suffered a disheartening loss for fans on Sunday against a struggling Baltimore Ravens team. What looked early in the season as a possible win for the team, was not so, putting the wildcard chances on the line. To add insult to injury, quarterback Matthew Stafford suffered a bruised bone in his hand near the end of the game, putting a dagger in any chance of a late comeback that has buoyed fans during rough starts since last season.
This loss paired with the previous loss to the Minnesota Vikings has dropped the Lions from being in contention for taking the division, to barely hanging on in the wildcard race. Head coach Jim Caldwell is on the hot seat with fans.
Stafford was limited in practice on Wednesday and Thursday and reported to be making more throws with his bruised hand as practices progressed. Fans remember last season when Stafford injured his finger as the team had control of the NFC North, and went on a multi-game spiral that took them into a wildcard loss in the postseason. Stafford will be relied upon if the team is going to have any chance at making it to the postseason, let alone get their first playoff win since the early ’90s.
Two players who are charged with keeping the franchise quarterback on his feet (and uninjured), tackle Rick Wagner (Ankle) and guard T.J. Lang (Foot) both have not practiced yet this week and are questionable to play on Sunday. Defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (Ankle) also was without practice this week, but Dwight Freeney (Not Injury Related) had a full practice Thursday after missing Wednesday.
Cornerback Jamal Agnew (Knee) and running back Ameer Abdullah (Neck) were both back in practice this week in a limited capacity. Agnew has been missed in the return game, and rookie running back Tion Green could take snaps away from Abdullah after a good first game while he was out last week. Also, punter Sam Martin (Right Foot) was limited in practice Wednesday but had a full practice on Thursday.
Other players limited in practice this week: tackles Emmett Cleary (Ankle) and Corey Robinson (Foot), center Travis Swanson (Knee), and defensive end Cornelius Washington (Shoulder).
Opponent Injury Report: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are fresh off a loss to the Green Bay Packers. They were only able to get to Packers quarterback Brett Hundley for two sacks. While the Lions have more offensive line woes, the Packers line isn’t stout. They allowed their franchise quarterback Aaron Rodgers to be injured with a broken collarbone.
Buccaneers who did not practice: cornerback Vernon Hargreaves (Hamstring), defensive tackle Clinton McDonald (Back), safety Josh Robinson (Hamstring), and safety T.J. Ward (Concussion).
Defensive end Ryan Russell (Knee) and center Joe Hawley (Illness) both were held out of practice on Wednesday but had full practices on Thursday.
Players who are on the report and returned to full practice this week: defensive end Robert Ayers (Concussion), running back Doug Martin (Concussion) and quarterback James Winston (Ankle).