Detroit Lions: 5 Players They Can Least Afford to Lose to Injury
We all try not to think about it.
Opening weekend. Everything is clicking. The team is rolling.
Then it happens.
At the end of a play, rather than joining his teammates in the huddle, one player is still on the turf, either motionless or clutching a limb in agony.
That player is irreplaceable, and your team's season has just taken a drastic turn for the worse before it ever got started.
Here are five players the Detroit Lions cannot afford to lose.
5. Stephen Tulloch
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The quiet leader of the defensive unit, Tulloch is a tackling machine. Replacing 111 tackles is no small task.
Stability at middle linebacker is underrated in the NFL, and Tulloch is as stable as they come.
He has yet to miss a game in his six-year career.
4. Calvin Johnson
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The offense wouldn't be completely crippled without Megatron, but it would certainly need to change.
Johnson, in addition to being dominant in his own right, also benefits the other receivers by drawing extra coverage.
The absence of Calvin Johnson in the Detroit offense would mean a level playing field for opposing defenses.
3. Dominic Raiola
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The NFL is a difficult place to be successful when you lose the heart of your offense line.
It becomes even more so when the center is a seasoned warrior like Dominic Raiola.
Raiola gives the Detroit line an attitude that cannot be duplicated, along with providing Matthew Stafford with the piece of mind of knowing he has a veteran center watching over him.
2. Ndamukong Suh
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Suh is the face of Detroit's vaunted front seven.
The rest of the defense feeds off his intensity and violent style of play.
Without him in Detroit's lineup, the Lions lose a certain element of intimidation.
1. Matthew Stafford
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You don't get to the top of the NFL food chain without an elite quarterback.
It would appear Detroit has one in Matthew Stafford. Losing him (again) to injury would tear the heart out of this franchise and the fans.
Unfortunately, the Lions are an NFL franchise all too familiar with how life without an elite signal-caller goes.
The only thing more frightening than the thought of losing Stafford is the collection of names on the depth chart behind him.