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Friday open thread: Who will be the key Lions player vs. the Falcons

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Which Lions player will be the key to victory against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday?

Detroit Lions v Atlanta Falcons Photo by Jordan Mansfield/Getty Images

For the first time this year, it appears the Detroit Lions are going to be shorthanded going into gameday. While the final injury report has yet to be released, four Lions players, included three starters, have yet to practice this week: center Travis Swanson, linebacker Jarrad Davis, safety Tavon Wilson and backup running back Dwayne Washington.

For all offseason, we’ve been praising Lions general manager Bob Quinn for his ability to build depth on this roster. On Sunday, that depth could very well be tested.

The Atlanta Falcons present several difficult matchups up and down their roster. They’ve got depth of their own and playmakers on both sides of the ball. In order to stop Atlanta and remain undefeated, the Lions will need a few key players to step up and meet their biggest challenge of the season.

So today’s Question of the Day is:

Which Lions player will be key to victory against the Falcons?

My answer: Tahir Whitehead. Whether Jarrad Davis plays or is sidelined with a concussion, Whitehead is going to play a pivotal role on Sunday. If Davis can play and Whitehead remains at weakside linebacker, it will be on Whitehead to both help limit Atlanta’s run game and help provide coverage on the Falcons’ talented duo of pass-catching backs: Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman.

If Davis cannot go, it’ll be on Whitehead to quarterback the defense and prove that his down year in 2016 was the exception, not the rule. He’ll also likely have to help rookie Jalen Reeves-Maybin adjust on the fly.

Either way, the Lions need Whitehead at his absolute best if they stand a chance against the NFC’s reigning champion.

Your turn.