Someone has big shoes to fill on the Detroit Lions defensive line.

Not to mention a big butt, big attitude and big game.

Defensive tackle Alim McNeill is on injured reserve and that makes for a big hole on the Lions defensive line. Rush end Aiden Hutchinson makes the biggest splashes during games, but McNeill’s steady play might be the most important on the defensive line.

Yes, the Lions pass rush hasn’t been the best. But lost in the noise is that the Lions are pretty good against the run. You don’t want to open up a new Pandora’s Box and that could happen without McNeill in the lineup.

He will miss the next four games and could return Jan. 7 for the final game against the Minnesota Vikings.

McNeill plays with violence. He’s smart, and he was ranked fifth among interior defensive linemen by Pro Football Focus.

How do the Lions fill this void?

‘My choice on the roster is Isaiah Buggs. However, there is some kind of disconnect between Buggs and the Lions coaches. I’ve not seen this many healthy scratches for a guy who plays well when he is healthy. He is listed as a backup to the other starting defensive tackle, Benito Jones. Buggs is competing with Levi Onwuzurike to replace McNeill.

Quinton Bohanna is another possibility, along with Tyson Alualu who was signed to the practice squad.

Is this a reason to panic? No. But many of you will anyway.

The Lions (9-3) own a three-game lead with five to play in the NFC North ahead of the Minnesota Vikings (6-6) and Green Bay Packers (6-6). Some panicky Lions fans fret that Green Bay or Minnesota might win their final five games to finish 11-6 and broom the Lions from the North title and home field playoff game.

Relax. That won’t happen. Despite the injuries on defense that Lions are fully capable of winning three of their last five games.


For more from the author Terry Foster, check him out on Twitter here: @terryfosterdet

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Original Photo Credit: © Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK

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By Published On: December 6th, 2023Categories: Detroit Lions, NFL

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