This season, the Detroit Lions defense hasn’t been quite as good as expected.

Detroit has allowed 23.7 points per game this season, ranking 24th in the NFL, and has been vulnerable to the pass, allowing the 23rd-most passing yards.

The Lions have 34 sacks on the season, which ranks 24th in the NFL.

The Lions, on the other hand, will get a key defensive player back before the end of the season after designating edge rusher James Houston to return off injured reserve.

Houston last appeared in the Lions’ Week 2 overtime defeat to the Seattle Seahawks, playing only 11 defensive snaps before suffering an ankle injury and being placed on injured reserve.

The Lions’ late-season surge was aided by the 2022 sixth-round pick, who recorded all eight of his sacks in the final seven games of the season, including a three-sack performance in a 41-10 Week 17 triumph against the Chicago Bears.

He was second on the team in sacks, trailing only 2022 first-round pick Aidan Hutchinson, and third in quarterback hits, trailing only Hutchinson and defensive lineman John Cominsky.

Houston returns just as the Lions have clinched the NFC North for the first time since 1993.

Detroit’s final two games will be against the Dallas Cowboys and the Minnesota Vikings, two teams that could face each other in the NFC playoffs.

The defense is coming off a four-interception, four-sack effort against the Vikings, and they may have Houston back for one or both of their last regular-season games before the postseason.

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