1. The game within the game: Lions' four-man rush vs. Brady. Teams that put Brady under pressure (sacked, under duress or hit while throwing) on more than one-quarter of his dropbacks when using a standard four-man pass rush are 2-2 this season. Teams that put Brady under pressure on one-quarter of his dropbacks or fewer using a standard rush are 0-6.
Lions' four-man pass rush
Opponents QBR: 39.2 (first in NFL)
TD-INT differential: minus-4 (second in NFL)
TD percentage: 2.3 (second in NFL)
Pressure percentage: 25.9 (fifth in NFL)
2. Gronkowski on cusp of Patriots' record for 10-TD seasons. Tight end Rob Gronkowski's next touchdown will give him his fourth 10-touchdown season of his career, the most in team history, passing Corey Dillon (3) and Randy Moss (3).
3. Holding ground at home. The Patriots have 14 straight regular-season home wins, the longest active streak in the NFL and tied for the third longest in the last 10 seasons. The Patriots had won 20 straight regular-season home games from 2008-2011, while the Ravens' 15-game home winning streak from 2010-2012 ranks second.
4. Brady's history with the Lions. On Sunday, it will mark 14 years ago to the day since Tom Brady made his NFL debut against the team he faces this week. On Nov. 23, 2000, Brady came in the game late in the fourth quarter in relief of Drew Bledsoe with the Patriots down 34-9 to the Lions. Brady was 1-for-3, completing a 6-yard pass to Rod Rutledge. After the game, Bill Belichick was asked if Brady's ties to Michigan had anything to do with the decision. "Nope," he responded.
5. Patriots running backs and 100 yards. Jonas Gray rushed for 201 yards on 37 attempts Sunday and a franchise-record four rushing touchdowns. Gray is the 10th different Patriots running back in the last 10 years to rush for at least 100 yards in a game. Only the Broncos (12) have had more different backs rush for at least 100 yards in a game in that span.
6. Gray is moving the chains. Since Week 8, Jonas Gray has converted a first down on 31.8 percent of his rushing attempts, the third-highest rate by a running back in that span. Only Jamaal Charles (34.8) and Jonathan Stewart (33.3) have a higher success rate, with Marshawn Lynch in the No. 4 spot (31.3).
7. Megatron has faced Patriots once. Lions receiver Calvin Johnson has one career game against the Patriots, a 45-24 loss on Thanksgiving in Week 12 of the 2010 season with Shaun Hill at quarterback. Johnson finished that game with four catches for 81 yards and a touchdown, making the Patriots one of four teams (excluding Detroit) that Johnson hasn’t gained at least 85 receiving yards in a game against (Jets, Chiefs and Seahawks).
8. A 14th straight winning season on the line. With a victory, the Patriots will clinch their 14th consecutive winning season, which would tie for the fifth-longest streak in NFL history.
9. On a roll against the NFC North. The Patriots have won 13 consecutive games against the NFC North, the longest active streak by one team against a division. Since the NFL realigned to eight divisions in 2002, the only streak that was longer was 15 straight by the Colts against the AFC North between 2002 and 2010.
10. Stafford on the road against winning teams. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford is 0-15 including the playoffs on the road when facing a team that ended that season with a winning record.
11. Sizzling in the second half of seasons. The Patriots are an NFL-best 31-3 since 2010 in the second half of their regular-season schedule (games 9-16) while the Lions are 11-23 (.324 winning percentage) in those games over the same span. The 49ers (23-10-1), Packers (23-10-1) and Saints (23-11) are next in line.
12. Long and short of it for Lions' top receivers. Stafford likes to go for the big play with Calvin Johnson and the safer play with Golden Tate. His average "air" yards per attempt to Johnson is 15.9, while it's 8.8 to Tate.