3 players who will be huge x-factors for the Detroit Lions down the stretch this season

The calendar has now flipped to December, and these three players will be big x-factors from here on out this season for the Detroit Lions.

/ Junfu Han / USA TODAY NETWORK
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3. LB Jack Campbell

Alex Anzalone has rewarded the Lions' faith in him with the best season of his career this year. He also suffered a hand injury late in Thanksgiving loss to the Packers, and will miss at least one game. Multiple games missed is certainly possible, since two fully-functioning hands are pretty critical to playing linebacker effectively.

In Anzalone's absence, however long it may be, the Lions are counting on Campbell to step into a bigger role. That's both tangibly, as the all-around force Anzalone has been thus far, and intangibly as a key on-field communicator like Anzalone.

"When we’re in meetings, and sometimes I tell Alex (Anzalone) don’t say anything because it’s easier for him for the most part,” defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn said this week. “The next voice that you’re going to hear is Jack and that’s encouraging because what he does in the meeting actually translates to what he’s going to do on the field. And he understands this defense like the back of his hands now.”

Campbell has had the expected ups and downs a rookie will tend to have. But he has started the last six games, so he has clearly earned the trust of the coaching staff. Now he's being called on to step up a little more, for however long Anzalone's out (and perhaps beyond).