Lions visit Panthers in game of battered QBs

The conversations about the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers have dramatically shifted after some recent results.That’s largely a good thing for the Lions going into their game against Carolina on Sunday afternoon in Charlotte.Despite playing in the NFC that is stacked with playoff contenders, Detroit is trying to enter the discussion.”We just have to really stay in the moment,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said on the postseason topic. “We have a lot to clean up.”The Lions (4-5) have won three of their last five games. The Panthers (3-7) are going in the opposite direction with five straight losses.”We’ve got to find a way to make more plays and really, most importantly, do things right,” first-year Carolina coach Matt Rhule said.The lead-up to the Detroit-Carolina game is going to include a bit of dialogue about the health statuses of the team’s starting quarterbacks.Matthew Stafford of the Lions has a banged-up right hand coming into the week. The Panthers might be in more of a pickle after Teddy Bridgewater exited last week with a knee injury in the waning moments.Rhule said the injury might not be as severe as initially suggested, and the quarterback was listed as a limited participant for Wednesday’s workout.Will Grier or PJ Walker will be the starter for the Panthers if Bridgewater is out.Plus, Carolina will play for the second consecutive week and for the eighth time this season without All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, who has a shoulder injury as his latest ailment. He has scored two touchdowns in each of the three games in which he has played.”Carolina is going to be ready to go and we have to learn from (Sunday’s) game,” Patricia said. “It’s a copycat league. There’s things that come up in the game that are going to show up in the next game or a couple games down the road, so we have to get that stuff cleaned up and try to improve.”Stafford didn’t practice Wednesday because of the thumb. His status might not be clear until the weekend.Detroit is coming off a 30-27 victory against Washington on Matt Prater’s 59-yard field goal on the game’s last play. Prater has connected on 75 percent of his attempts from 50 or more yards in his career.

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