Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was sacked five times by the Packers last week. (Daniel Mears / Detroit News)
Keys to the game
■ Protect Stafford: The Lionsí offensive line looked great the first four games, allowing three sacks. But after giving up five sacks against the Packers last week, the unit has some work to do. The Browns have 18 sacks, tied for third in the NFL.
■ Receivers finding openings: At this point, Calvin Johnsonís status is unknown. Either way, the Lions receivers need to find a way to get open. If Johnson plays, the separation of other receivers like Kris Durham, Patrick Edwards and Ryan Broyles could make the offense unstoppable. If Johnson doesnít play, those guys need to beat their defenders to keep the offense moving.
■ Donít allow long plays: With James Jonesí 83-yard TD catch and Randall Cobbís 67-yard run last week, the Lions have given up four plays of 50-plus yards. Browns RB Willis McGahee may not break a run like Cobb, Adrian Peterson or Matt Forte, but WR Josh Gordon is capable of making a deep catch.
■ Collapse the pocket: Brandon Weeden might be the slowest quarterback in the NFL, so if the Lions defensive line can create pressure, they should record some sacks. Weeden has been sacked 16 times in three games, third-most in the league. LT Joe Thomas and C Alex Mack are good, but there are other weaknesses the Lions pass rush can exploit.
■ Keep punting well: Lions rookie P Sam Martin is second in the NFL with a 49.5-yard average, but his net yardage (42.1) has been more important. And, the longest punt return the Lions have allowed was 11 yards. Browns KR Travis Benjamin had a 79-yard punt return for a TD last week, so Martin needs to keep it away from him.
Know the foe
■ Ferocious front seven: The Browns have 12 players with a sack, but most of their pressure comes from the front seven. DE Desmond Bryant leads the team with 3.5 sacks, and rookie LB Barkevious Mingo has three.
■ Strong secondary: Cleveland allows 208 passing yards, seventh in the NFL. And while the pass rush has helped, the Browns have a couple top-notch defensive backs. CB Joe Haden has contained top receivers like Mike Wallace, A.J. Green and Steve Johnson, and Pro Football Focus rates T.J. Ward as the sixth-best safety in the NFL.
■ Containing Cameron: Offensive coordinator Norv Turner has a history of developing tight ends well, and third-year man Jordan Cameron is blossoming in his first season under Turner. Cameron has more than doubled his career totals with 33 catches for 396 yards and five TDs. His yardage ranks 14th in the NFL and third among tight ends.
■ Johnsonís health: If Calvin Johnson can play at all, it would be a major boost for the Lions offense, but the severity of his knee injury remains unknown. The Lions surely will use Johnson as much as possible, but if they need to limit his snaps, theyíll do that.
■ Exhibition: The Lions and Browns said they ran fairly vanilla schemes during their exhibition in August, but thereís a chance one team will find something useful from that game. The Browns won 24-6, for what itís worth.