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Looking ahead to Lions' next opponent: New England Patriots

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A look at the New England Patriots, which will play host to the Detroit Lions in Week 12 of the season.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Next up for the Detroit Lions is a road game against the New England Patriots. Here's an early look at the Patriots:

New England Patriots (8-2)

Schedule so far

Week 1 - at Dolphins - lost, 33-20
Week 2 - at Vikings - won, 30-7
Week 3 - vs. Raiders - won, 16-9
Week 4 - at Chiefs - lost, 41-14
Week 5 - vs. Bengals - won, 43-17
Week 6 - at Bills - won, 37-22
Week 7 - vs. Jets - won, 27-25
Week 8 - vs. Bears - won, 51-23
Week 9 - vs. Broncos - won, 43-21
Week 11 - at Colts - won, 42-20

Reason for optimism

This may be grasping at straws, but the Patriots have shown at times this season that they can be beat. The most recent example was when they narrowly escaped for a home win against the Jets on a Thursday night in mid-October. Granted, that was on a short week, but if the Jets can come within two points of the Patriots at New England, there's at least some hope for the Lions.

Reason for pessimism

Where do I even begin? For starters, the Patriots rarely lose at home, and they've won their last three games by 28, 22 and 22 points. Yes, the Bears were one of those opponents, but the Patriots managed to beat both the Broncos and Colts (in Indianapolis) by 22 points. What's more, New England scored 51, 43 and 42 points in those victories. You would expect the Lions defense to fare a bit better than Chicago, Denver and Indianapolis did, but Detroit's offense isn't playing well enough to keep up with Tom Brady and co. It could be a long day for the Lions.

Storyline to watch

The Lions are big underdogs going into this game, and it would be surprising if they somehow manage to avoid their second consecutive loss. With this in mind, the expectation right now is for the Lions to go into Thanksgiving with a 7-4 record. I know this all sounds overly pessimistic given that anything can happen in the NFL, but the main storyline for the Lions really boils down to this: Can they steal a game on the road against one of the best teams in the NFL?

Additional info

For more on the Patriots, check out Pats Pulpit.