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New England: Players to watch

Tom Brady, QB: He made his NFL debut in 2000 in a loss to the Lions in mop-up duty in the fourth quarter. He hasn't lost in the three meetings since.

Rob Gronkowski, TE: He's a matchup problem for any defense, He leads the team with 734 yards and nine TDs.

Darrelle Revis, CB: He will draw some of the coverage duty on Lions WRs Calvin Johnson and Golden Tate.

Intangibles

Perfect feeling: In the last three meetings since QB Tom Brady's NFL debut against the Lions on Thanksgiving in 2000, he hasn't lost to them.

Home cookin': Playing at Gillette Stadium will be a challenge for the Lions, and not just because of the weather. The Patriots are 86-15 at home since 2002.

Don't forget us: With all the hype around QB Tom Brady, the Lions still have the No. 1 defense in the NFL and believe the Patriots have something to fear.

Best of the best: After falling to the Cardinals, who have the best record in the NFC, the Lions get the best team in the AFC, as the Patriots have a six-game winning streak.

Bag 'em: The Lions defense didn't have any sacks against Drew Stanton last week, but have talked about making Tom Brady uncomfortable with defensive pressure.

Facts and figures

RB Jonas Gray (Detroit Country Day) went for career-highs of 201 yards and four TDs last week against the Colts. He'll have a tougher time against the Lions defense.

The Patriots have won 13 straight games against NFC North opponents, including both games against the Bears and Vikings this year. They face the Packers next week.

In 10 games, the Patriots have scored 125 points in second quarters this season.

The Lions had their best rushing day last weekend, with 85 yards by Joique Bell, but if the weather isn't ideal, they'll have to lean a little more on it. The Patriots rank 14th (109.9 yards) in run defense.

The Patriots rank ninth in the league in fewest sacks allowed, with Tom Brady going down 16 times. The Lions defense ranks 10th in sacks with 26.

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