Lions, Patriots look to bounce back from 1-3 starts

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Detroit Lions haven’t had much trouble scoring points this season. Winning games hasn’t come as…

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — The Detroit Lions haven’t had much trouble scoring points this season. Winning games hasn’t been that easy.

The New England Patriots are reeling for a different reason and could use a win as bad as the teams preparing to meet on Sunday.

Through four weeks, the Lions are averaging an NFL-high 35 points and a league-high 437 yards per game. But even 45 points weren’t enough to beat Seattle at Ford Field last week, leaving Detroit 1-3 as it tries to avoid a fifth straight season with at least 10 losses.

“We’re as good as their record says,” Lions quarterback Jared Goff said. “So maybe we’ve done some good things that reflect the opposite in some areas, but at the same time, there have been three games that weren’t good enough, and one was.”

Detroit is the first team in NFL history to score and allow a combined 281 points in the first four games of a season.

“The script can be changed,” Detroit cornerback Amani Oruwariye said. “I have seen it happen. I just have to believe.”

The Patriots are also 1-3 after losing their second quarterback in three weeks to injury when Brian Hoyer was knocked out of their 27-24 overtime loss at Green Bay.

Regular starter Mac Jones was inactive in that game recovering from an ankle injury and began the week limited in practice, while Hoyer remained in concussion protocol. It could be the first career start for rookie Bailey Zappe, who came off the bench and almost led the Patriots to victory against the Packers.

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The fourth-round pick said he’s ready for anything that’s asked of him this week.

“It’s like having the mindset of 1% better every day,” Zappe said. “Taking it that way and just practicing every day with the mindset of taking every rep as a replay of the game.”


If Zappe starts, there will be someone familiar to the Lions in his ear.

Matt Patricia took over play-calling duties in his second season as an assistant in New England after being fired 11 games in his third season as coach of Detroit in 2020.

Lions coach Dan Campbell said he feels his predecessor has found a groove in his new role this season.

“He’s adapting quickly, and every week he’s gotten better and they’re attacking their opponents,” Campbell said. “They are putting together good game plans. They’re using the list well, so you’re doing a good job. He really is.


Zappe’s potential start would mark the Patriots’ third different starter at quarterback in three games.

New England hasn’t faced this much shakeup at the job since 2016.

Jimmy Garoppolo started the first two games of that season with Tom Brady serving his four-game “Deflategate” suspension. Jacoby Brissett took over in Weeks 3 and 4 after Garoppolo was injured before Brady returned in Week 5.


This won’t be Campbell’s first time training against Belichick

Campbell went 1-1 against him in 2015 with Miami after being promoted to interim head coach following the firing of Joe Philbin. Campbell does not know Belichick personally. However, he knows his reputation.

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“Obviously I respect him tremendously and I know what he does,” Campbell said. “And he is arguably the best coach to ever run this game. So, I mean it’s hard to argue with what he’s done.”


Patriots linebacker Matt Judon is 1 of 3 players in the NFL (Nick Bosa, Rashan Gary) with a sack in each of the first four weeks of the season.

He is the second Patriots player to start a season with at least one sack in his first four games. He joins Pro Football Hall of Famer Andre Tippett, who did so in 1986.

Judon had a sack in his only career game against the Lions while playing for Baltimore in 2017.


AP sportswriter Larry Lage in Detroit contributed to this report.


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