Excited to see how the Patriots secondary would fare in a test against the best receiver in the NFL? Yeah, about that . . .
All-Pro wideout Calvin Johnson will not play Thursday night, according to the Lions.
Johnson was a question mark all week with a knee contusion. He missed last week's preseason game, but hoped to play when the Patriots visited Detroit. Now, after reportedly pulling up a bit while running routes in warmups, he has been ruled out.
How Patriots corner Aqib Talib -- and the rest of New England's defensive backs, for that matter -- handled Johnson would have been a key storyline in the Patriots' third preseason game.
Without the receiver they call Megatron, Detroit's passing attack still has weapons. Matthew Stafford threw for 5,000 yards in 2011 and nearly matched that total last season. Offseason addition Reggie Bush provides a dynamic pass-catching threat out of the backfield.
However, in a game that traditionally serves as the last true test before regular-season play, the Patriots' night got a whole lot easier with the news that Johnson will not play.
The Patriots will also be missing their No. 1 receiver on the depth chart Thursday night as Danny Amendola will be out because of an undisclosed injury.