Patriots vs. Lions: Does Bad Blood Exist?

DETROIT - NOVEMBER 25: New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick breaks up a late fourth quarter scuffle between the Lions and the Patriots during the game at Ford Field on November 25 2010 in Detroit Michigan. New England defeated Detroit 45-24. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)

Tonight, the New England Patriots will head to Ford Field to take on the Detroit Lions in what should be a good chance for the Pats' starters to continue to get prepared for the regular season opener.  That being said, tonight's game could be a bit more intriguing than your usual preseason game.

After all, it was less than a year ago that a skirmish broke out on the field with Detroit down big in the teams' Thanksgiving clash - a game the Patriots won in convincing fashion, 45-24.  Here's what I wrote following the skirmish at the end of the game:

At the end of the game, one thing that particularly stood out to me was the lack of class from the Lions players on the field. I'm not sure exactly what happened as the Patriots punched in their final score, but the indication, from the referees, was a lack of sportsmanship from the Lions. The first clue came on a Tom Brady quarterback sneak near the goal line. It looked like the Lions jumped on Brady near the end of the play unnecessarily. A play later, an unsportsmanlike conduct was called on Louis Delmas of the Lions. It seemed to get out of hand on the point after try. It appeared that DeAndre Levy and Ndamukong Suh among others converged and attempted to pile drive Logan Mankins and Matt Light into the ground. While Patriots, for the most part, seemed to keep their cool (with the possible exception of Matt Light, who I should mention was a victim on the play): the Lions players, Suh in particular, decided to celebrate their little act while forgetting what the scoreboard said. Overall, it appeared to be a classless act by a losing team. It's not wonder that players such as Bart Scott have called them dirty: it showed up on Thursday.

I'm not sure if the events that took place will have any affect on tonight's game.  But it should be something to watch, especially considering some of the Lions' players' recent comments.  As pointed out by Ian Rapoport of the Boston Herald:

"It's not anything we haven't faced," said defensive tackle Corey Williams, in this notebook from the Detroit News. "It's not like it's new. It's the same speed we are used to playing at."

Maybe that's true. We'll see. Just odd to hear. Shoot, even coach Jim Schwartz joined the party. He said in the article that last year's blowout loss to the Patriots wasn't really a blowout and that Tom Brady's offense "is no different from what we practice against every day."

Either way, it should be intriguing to see how the Patriots offense comes out against the Lions.  After all, they did put up 45 the first time around.  This game should also serve as a "test run" of sorts for the Patriots, as the team may opt to play the reserves for the entirety of the final preseason game.

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