New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick said it will be a "big challenge" for his team to match the toughness and competitiveness of the Detroit Lions on Sunday.
The Patriots host the Lions in what will be a matchup of two division leaders. New England is atop the AFC East at 8-2 while Detroit is tied atop the NFC North at 7-3.
"We’re going to need to play a good, complementary game all the way across the board; there’s no real weak points, a lot of things we have to deal with," Belichick said. "It’s a team we don’t know very well, so we’re going to have to really work hard this week to get on top of them, get familiar with them, but they present a lot of problems."
Belichick praised the Lions defense, which is giving up an NFL-low 15.6 points per game, the fewest rush yards in the league and the fifth-fewest passing yards. Detroit is led by defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, who has 28 tackles and 4.5 sacks on the season.
"He’s pretty dominant. He can do it all," Belichick said of Suh. "That’s a very good front they have. He’s the marquee guy, but they have a lot of good players on that front."
Belichick also called Lions receiver Calvin Johnson a "really hard guy to defend," saying Johnson is "always open, even when he’s covered."
New England and Detroit kick off at 1:00 p.m. ET on Sunday.
- Molly Geary