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Lions' James Ihedigbo, Glover Quin best safety duo?

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The Lions' top-ranked defense has been fueled by dominant defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, well-rounded linebacker DeAndre Levy and breakout pass rusher Ziggy Ansah.

As we discussed on the Week 11 preview edition of the Around The NFL Podcast, though, Detroit might also be home to the NFL's most effective safety duo.

Seattle's Legion of Boom tandem of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor is widely regarded as the premier duo, but the latter has been a liability this season while battling a lingering ankle injury.

With the top spot up for grabs, relative unknowns James Ihedigbo and Glover Quin have stated their case with the Lions.

A prototypical box safety, Ihedigbo came over from Baltimore with coordinator Teryl Austin, helping install the defense. While Ihedigbo has been as active at the line of scrimmage as any safety the past two years, former cornerback Quin has excelled in coverage as a centerfielder.

Here's a look at the primary competition for the Ihedigbo-Quin duo:

» Antoine Bethea / Eric Reid, 49ers: Always around the ball, Bethea is a lock to go to the Pro Bowl in a career year. NFL Media's Willie McGinest even named Bethea as one of the top five defensive players at midseason. Reid is a physical tone-setter and future Pro Bowl selection himself.

» Donte Whitner / Tashaun Gipson, Browns: Gipson is leading the NFL in interceptions while Whitner has been one of the few reliable tacklers on a disappointing Browns run defense. The secondary has allowed just 12 passing touchdowns versus 13 interceptions, ranking No. 1 in opposing passer rating.

» Eric Weddle / Marcus Gilchrist, Chargers: Gilchrist holds his own, but it's Weddle who leads the Bolts' defense. No safety has played better this season -- not even Thomas or Bethea.

» Devin McCourty / Patrick Chung, Patriots: McCourty emerged as a Pro Bowl-caliber safety a year ago. Give credit where it's due: Although Chung washed out in New England and Philadelphia the last two years, he has bounced back in a big way this season. Chung has played a key role in a secondary that Reggie Wayne calls the best he has faced in 14 years.

» Reshad Jones / Louis Delmas, Dolphins: Miami's star-studded defensive line has overshadowed a strong secondary, with Jones enjoying a breakout season and Delmas proving to be a smart offseason addition.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast previews every Week 11 game and recaps the Dolphins' key victory over the Bills. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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