Lions-based view from Detroit

Patriots coach Bill Belichick and players said this week that they've spent time studying the Lions in anticipation of playing them Thursday night.

This is commonplace for the third preseason game, and here are some links from the Lions perspective as we do the same to familiarize ourselves with the Lions:

1. Megatron plans to play. Chris McCosky of the Detroit News writes that receiver Calvin Johnson is planning to play on Thursday. There has been a question on his availability because he didn't play last week and has missed two practices with a bruised knee. "My thing is getting my wind right," Johnson told the Detroit News. "We've got a long season, but the better conditioned you are the better you are going to be in that fourth quarter."

2. Starters will play extensively. "Based on precedent, the first units should play about a half against New England, give or take a could drives depending on how many snaps they get early," writes Kyle Meinke of MLive.com.

3. Knee remains an issue for Delmas. In the 2009 draft, the Lions selected safety Louis Delmas with the top pick of the second round (33rd overall). The Patriots picked next, selecting safety Patrick Chung. Neither has been the consistent difference-maker both teams hoped they'd be, and Kyle Meinke of MLive.com writes on how Delmas' knee continues to slow him down at times.

4. Offense has struggled so far. The Lions' first-team offense has produced just two field goals in seven possessions, and Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press speaks with offensive lineman Rob Sims on whether there are any concerns.

5. Lions' late-round drafting in focus. Kevin Seifert, who covers the NFC North for ESPN.com, answers questions in his chat about the Lions' track record with late-round draft picks. Another team, another fan base scrutinizing the personnel decisions.

6. Top pick Ansah progressing well. Detroit selected defensive end Ziggy Anash with the fifth overall pick in the draft, and columnist Mike O'Hara of the Lions' team-operated website writes on his progress. "The Lions need a bounce-back season from last year's disappointment, and Ansah is a big part of their plans," O'Hara writes. "The front four is the foundation of the Lions' defensive scheme. It has to dominate for the defense to function effectively. Ansah is a rare athlete. At a little more than 6-5 and 271 pounds, he has the speed to run the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds and the leg explosion to record a vertical leap of 34.5 inches."

7. 'Big' preseason game for Lions. Anthony Kuehn, whose Lions Gab blog appears on the Detroit Free Press website, breaks down why this is a big game for the Lions. "These are troubling signs so far, but the preseason game that counts the most is coming up," he writes.