As much as opponents double team Lions defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, the defensive ends should theoretically have several winnable one-on-one matchups.

Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham tried to put that misconception to rest and said Friday he thinks the Lions’ defensive ends are chipped by tight ends, running backs and wide receivers more than any other group in the NFL.

"Next week I'll have that number ready because it's ridiculous," Cunningham said.

Despite lofty expectations, the defensive line ranks 30th in the NFL with just 16 sacks. With a lack of pressure up front, opponents have been able to attack the Lions' suspect secondary, and the Lions pass defense ranks 30th allowing 283.8 yards per game.

Of course, the defensive line has played a key role in the Lions allowing just 94.6 rushing yards per game, fifth best in the league.

But the Lions insist the lack of success by the front four in the passing game isn't due to poor play. Instead, they said opposing teams are using different schemes than what they see on film.

"Usually they'll adjust their game plan pretty much just for our front four and do different things, especially with a chipper or throwing someone off the edge just to slow us down," rookie defensive end Devin Taylor said.

The Lions face a Buccaneers team Sunday that has allowed 24 sacks this season, tied for 11th best in the NFL.

On most pass plays, Cunningham said the Lions' defensive line faces a seven-man offensive front, and sometimes as many as eight players block the front four. While Suh and Fairley draw double teams, the two defensive ends face a blocker — a tackle or tight end — as well as a chip from a running back, tight end or wide receiver, which effectively works like a double team.

During a 37-27 loss to the Steelers last week, defensive end Willie Young said he told Pittsburgh wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery not to chip him, and sure enough Cotchery jumped into him on the next play.