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Detroit Lions: Three Things to Watch in Week 6 Matchup Against the Cleveland Browns

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | The Detroit Lions (3-2) offense managed just nine points against the Green Bay Packers last week as Calvin Johnson sat out with a knee injury.

The wide receiver practiced for a second consecutive day Friday, October 11, which isn't a guarantee he will play against the Browns on Sunday, but it's a good sign.

After trading Trent Richardson a few weeks ago, it appeared the Cleveland Browns (3-2) were sticking a fork in their 2013 season. However, they have since rattled off three wins, and are tied for first in the AFC North.

Here are three things to watch in the Lions' Week 6 matchup against the Cleveland Browns:

Offensive line needs to rebound against Browns

Until the game against Green Bay, the offensive line had done a good job protecting Matthew Stafford and giving him time to make his reads and deliver catchable balls.

However, the Lions allowed Stafford to be sacked five times last week after being sacked just three times in the four games prior to Green Bay.

The Cleveland Browns have 18 sacks in five games this season, with 2013 No. 6 overall pick Barkevious Mingo getting three in his rookie season.

Green Bay was so successful last week because they shut down Reggie Bush and forced Stafford to throw a lot. If the Lions can get the running game going, it'll keep Cleveland's defense on its heels.

Lions defense continues to impress

Despite losing last week, the Lions defense managed to contain quarterback Aaron Rodgers for the majority of the game. Green Bay had to settle for five field goals against the Lions.

Unfortunately for the Lions, they couldn't take advantage of their defenses' strong play and made the game look more lopsided than it actually was.

Brandon Weeden will get the start for the Browns after Brian Hoyer tore his ACL in a 37-24 win against the Buffalo Bills last week.

Weeden was sacked five times despite leading the Browns to the win. It'll be vitally important Detroit's front four get to Weeden early and often. Weeden is in his second year in the NFL and is susceptible to being rattled by a dominant defensive line.

Lions offense goes when Calvin Johnson goes

Calvin Johnson practiced for the second consecutive day, and all signs point to him playing against the Browns.

It'll be a big boost, not only in the receiving game, but a morale boost as well. As much as this team would like to think it has other playmakers at wide receiver, the truth of the matter is it simply doesn't.

Nate Burleson is out, and nobody behind him has stepped up to provide depth in his absence.

It's sad that the Lions offense comes and goes with Calvin Johnson, but it's a sad reality. I like the Lions' chances to get a win in Cleveland if Johnson plays.

Prediction: Lions win 27-24

Tom Mitsos is a Michigan native who covers the Detroit Lions for the Yahoo Contributor Network. He also is a high school sports reporter at MLive Media Group. You can follow Tom on Twitter.

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