Preview: Lions at Panthers

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Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton spent the early part of the week handing out an unwanted nickname to the man he hopes to avoid on Sunday. Newton, who missed the season-opening 20-14 win at Tampa Bay, leads the Panthers into a battle of 1-0 teams when they host the Detroit Lions. The two-time Pro Bowl quarterback referred to Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh as "Donkey Kong Suh" on Wednesday, and while Suh declined comment a day later, he might be saving his response for the field.

Suh and the Lions were dominant against the run in last week's 35-14 win over the New York Giants, allowing only 53 rushing yards, but will have their work cut out against a Carolina team that put up a respectable 113 yards on the ground without Newton, who is one of their top rushers. The Lions are banged up along the offensive line, meaning they'll either have to move guard Garrett Reynolds to right tackle or start undrafted free agent Cornelius Lucas there against Carolina's outstanding defensive line. That Panthers defense is tasked with slowing down an offense that put up big numbers against the Giants, and the key will be pressuring Matthew Stafford, who lit up the Panthers for 335 yards and five touchdowns in a 49-35 win in the most recent meeting in 2011.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, FOX. LINE: Panthers -2.5. O/U: 43.5.

ABOUT THE LIONS (1-0): Detroit isn't expected to be as pass-happy as in recent years under new coach Jim Caldwell, but Stafford wasn't shy about putting the ball in the air against the Giants. He was 22-of-32 for 346 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions and also had a rushing score, but might have protection issues against a stout Panthers defense. Detroit's defense was stingy against the Giants, allowing only 197 total yards — its third-best total in the past eight seasons.

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (1-0): Newton's expected return from a cracked rib makes Carolina's offense far more dynamic than with Derek Anderson at the helm, both on the ground and in the passing game. Newton's longtime favorite target, Steve Smith, is gone, but he has plenty of weapons at his disposal including rookie Kelvin Benjamin, who looked like an impact player in his debut with six catches for 92 yards and a score against the Bucs. The defense, one of the league's best a year ago, sacked Tampa Bay's Josh McCown three times and forced three turnovers with star linebacker Luke Kuechly accounting for a sack and a forced fumble.


1. Lions WR Calvin Johnson has topped 100 yards receiving in 22 of his last 34 games and had seven catches for 164 yards and two TDs last week.

2. The Panthers are aiming for their seventh consecutive home win.

3. Newton threw a career-high four interceptions in Carolina's loss to Detroit in 2011.

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Bank of America Stadium
Charlotte, North Carolina, USA.
Capacity: 73,778

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Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers

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Last Injuries

Carolina Panthers

  • Russell Okung

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Okung sat out the last game with a groin injury, and it is uncertain if he will line up versus the Cardinals on Sunday.

  • Donte Jackson

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Jackson exited the last game with a toe injury, and it is undetermined if he will be active Sunday versus the Cardinals.

  • Jeremy Chinn

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Chinn is dealing with a hip injury, and it is undetermined if he will face the Cardinals on Sunday.

  • Dennis Daley

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Daley has missed the past three games due to an ankle injury, and it is unclear if he will return Sunday against the Cardinals.

  • Kawann Short

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Short has been absent from the lineup during the previous two games with a foot injury, and it is unknown if he will draw back into the lineup against the Cardinals on Sunday.

  • Christian McCaffrey

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    McCaffrey suffered a right high-ankle sprain and has been shifted to the injured reserve list. He is without a definitive timetable for recovery.

  • Stantley Thomas-Oliver III

    Prob Sun | probable

    Thomas-Oliver has sat out the previous two games with a hamstring injury, but he is likely to play Sunday versus the Chargers.

  • John Miller

    Prob Sun | probable

    Miller is dealing with ankle and groin injuries. It is projected that he will be in Sunday's lineup versus the Chargers.

Detroit Lions

  • C.J. Moore

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Moore was held out of the last game due to a calf injury, and it is uncertain if he will be active Sunday versus the Saints.

  • Desmond Trufant

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Trufant has sat out the previous two games with a hamstring injury, and it is unknown if he will draw back into the lineup Sunday against the Saints.

  • Hunter Bryant

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Bryant has missed the past three game due to a hamstring injury, and it is unclear if he will make his season debut against the Saints on Sunday.

  • Nick Williams

    Prob Sun | probable

    Williams was held out of the last game due to a shoulder injury, but he is projected to be in the lineup Sunday versus the Cardinals.

  • Halapoulivaati Vaitai

    Ques Sun | questionable

    Vaitai has missed the past two games with a foot injury, and it remains to be seen if he will be on the field against the Cardinals on Sunday.

  • Kenny Golladay

    Prob Sun | probable

    Golladay has been unavailable for the previous two games due to a hamstring injury, but he is expected to make his season debut Sunday against the Cardinals.

  • Joe Dahl

    Out indefinitely | I-R

    Dahl has wound up on the injured reserve list due to a groin injury, and there is no indication when he will return to the fold.

  • Jason Cabinda

    Prob Sun | probable

    Cabinda is dealing with an ankle injury, but he is likely to be available against the Packers on Sunday.