It's no surprise that the New England Patriots lead the NFL in scoring.

In the past four seasons, they've done that twice and finished third twice.

But the Detroit Lions allowing the fewest points? Now there's a surprise.

In the past seven seasons, they gave up the most points three times. In their stingiest season in that period, they were in the middle of the pack, allowing only the 15th fewest.

On Sunday, quarterback Tom Brady leads his prolific offense against tackle Ndamukong Suh and his stout defense.

"He's a phenomenal player," Brady said of Suh. "He's a big, physical presence, and I think he really sets the tone for that defense."

Defensive end Ziggy Ansah has 4 1-2 sacks and three forced fumbles in the past five games. Linebacker DeAndre Levy has 10 or more tackles in seven games this season. The Lions have allowed the fewest yards in the league, and the secondary is the main reason they've given up the fifth-fewest passing.

But the Lions (7-3) haven't faced an offense such as the Patriots (8-2).

"Obviously, (Brady's) been doing some great things like he always does," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. "They are a very surgical sort of a procedure, where he's throwing the ball accurately, getting it to all of his playmakers and putting points on the board."

The AFC East-leading Patriots have averaged 40.5 points in winning their past six games and 32.3 for the season.

The Lions, tied for first in the NFC North with Green Bay, have given up more than 20 points just three times and never more than 24. Opponents have averaged 15.6.

Now they'll see what they can do against Brady.

"I wouldn't say I get extra excited," Suh said, "but I'm always excited to go against any type of quarterback and have an opportunity to have success against them."

Coach Bill Belichick knows the Patriots will have a huge challenge trying to stop Suh and the defense.

"He's the marquee guy, but they have a lot of good players on that front," Belichick said. "They rotate frequently and they're fresh and they're active, very disruptive."

Some things to look for when two of the NFL's best teams meet.

MEGATRON AND MINI-OFFENSE: The Lions have been inconsistent on offense. Their 18.8 points per game are seventh-fewest in the NFL. But Caldwell wouldn't blame that on the absence of wide receiver Calvin "Megatron" Johnson, who missed three games with an ankle injury before making 12 catches in the past two games.

"We don't make any excuses," Caldwell said. "There have been some times we've been up and down a little bit, but haven't been able to put a complete game together."

With Johnson back and Golden Tate having 68 catches, third most in the league, quarterback Matthew Stafford has his top options.

"Golden Tate has really taken off this year," Patriots safety Devin McCourty said. "You put that together with a guy like Stafford who can throw the ball to him any way possible, it'll be a tough task."

A WIN IS A WIN: The Lions have won four games by no more than seven points. Their past three wins have come by 1, 1 and 4 before a 14-6 loss to Arizona last Sunday.

"If you don't know how to close out a game and find ways to get that done," Suh said, "you are going to lose quite a bit of them."

The Patriots have had plenty of breathing room with five wins by at least 22 points.

"The final score might not end up being close," Brady said, "but there is a point in the game where the game is really close, and we've found ways to make the plays to kind of pour it on."

POWER RUNNING: Jonas Gray rushed for 201 yards and four touchdowns with a straight-ahead style in the Patriots' 42-20 win over Indianapolis last Sunday night. On Thursday, they re-signed another power runner, LeGarrette Blount, cut by Pittsburgh on Tuesday after spending last season with New England.

"Even if he wasn't here, you never know what your opportunities are going to look like," Gray said, "so I'm preparing the same way I've always prepared."

HOME AGAIN: The Patriots are back home where they've won 14 straight regular-season games and 43 of their past 46. And they've won 13 straight against NFC North opponents. The Lions have won three of their past four road games, including one in London where Atlanta was designated as the home team.

REMEMBER WHEN?: Fourteen years ago on Thanksgiving Day at the Pontiac Silverdome, Brady played for the Patriots. He replaced Drew Bledsoe with just four minutes left in a 34-9 loss to Detroit and took five snaps — two incompletions, a 5-yard completion and two penalties.

"I was in mop-up duty," he said. "It was an inauspicious start."

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