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Friday Notes: Calvin Johnson Returns to Practice

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  • My confidence level in a Lions victory over the Rams has changed quite a bit this week.  On Monday, with there still being no word on the status of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, I was predicting a Lions victory, but there wasn't a ton of confidence behind that.  After Tuesday, I started to gain more confidence after learning that Stafford had returned to practice.  My confidence grew even more one day later after hearing that Stafford had again practiced.  After yesterday, my confidence in a Lions victory rose to an all-time high, because Calvin Johnson returned to practice.  As long as Johnson's knee responds well to the practice and he doesn't suffer any setbacks, it appears that the Lions' deep-ball connection between Stafford and Megatron will be on the field on Sunday.  That's great news considering the Rams will likely present many opportunities to go deep, which could make for a big day for both Stafford and Johnson.
  • Stafford practiced for the third day in a row on Thursday, so I would peg his chances of playing on Sunday as probable.  It appears that he should be good to go barring any unforeseen setbacks.
  • Terrelle Smith returned to practice on Thursday, whereas Jason Hunter and Zack Follett were sidelined with an ankle injury and an illness, respectively.
  • Gunther Cunningham apparently has a list of players that are basically on notice, and if they don't start playing better, they will be headed to the bench.
  • Brandon Pettigrew is surprisingly on pace to have a great rookie season by a tight end's standards.
  • Larry Foote would "love" to finish his career in Detroit.
  • Here is an interesting (and depressing) stat on Sunday's game from Inhistoric, SB Nation's sports history blog (HT: Turf Show Times):
    Next Sunday's matchup between the Rams and the Detroit Lions will be one for the history books (no, seriously). Both teams have lost 17 of 18 games and 25 of their last 27. And if the Rams go 0-16, and it would make this game the only matchup in NFL history between a team coming off a win-less season and a team on its way to a win-less season.
    Some people are dubbing this the "Toilet Bowl" on account of how bad the Lions and Rams have been in recent history.  I think that would only be an accurate description if Stafford and Megatron don't play.
  • Carson Butler has been signed to the 49ers' practice squad.