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New England shares the AFC East lead with the New York Jets. Detroit is all alone in the NFC North cellar.

But the Lions haven’t been pushovers. Five of their losses have been by five points or less. And they’re pretty good at home with a 2-2 record that includes an overtime loss to the Jets.

“It’s going to be a tough game,” Light said. “I wish we could get a nice easy week in this league. But it’s not happening. I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon.”

New England’s defense also is suspect. Only the Houston Texans have allowed more yards.

The Patriots are cutting back on their physical preparations to give their bodies time to recover. But they haven’t played the Lions since 2006 so they have to familiarize themselves with a team that has many new players and a coach, Jim Schwartz, who is in just his second season.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis ran for 96 yards against the Colts. Now he has to find holes in a defense he’s seen only on film.

“There’s a few things that each team does differently, but for the most part teams do one or the other thing,” he said. “So you’ve just got to take your preparation from previous weeks and get prepared for this team.”

And don’t waste any time doing it.

“We’ve just got to kind of turn the corner real fast and turn our preparation toward the Detroit Lions and get ready for them, which we already have started to do,” Green-Ellis said. “We’ve just got to go home and kind of accelerate everything.”