New England Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia, though linked to the New York Giants’ job, is likely to become the next head coach of the Detroit Lions, league sources told ESPN. Patricia, 43, and the Lions still need to agree to the contract details after the Patriots’ season ends. Assuming the two sides can do that, Patricia would be reunited with former Patriots personnel man and current Lions general manager Bob Quinn.

There was no one the Lions interviewed who had more of a pre-established connection with Quinn than Patricia. Detroit publicly announced interviews with six candidates for the job: Patricia, Houston defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, Green Bay associate head coach Winston Moss, Minnesota offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur, now-former Lions defensive coordinator Teryl Austin and Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter.

Since Patricia became its defensive coordinator in 2012, New England has gone 75-21. In that span, the Patriots allowed 107.1 rushing yards per game (No. 12) and 246.7 passing yards per game (No. 25). His teams were able to hold opponents out of the end zone, though, allowing 19.2 points per game — second in the NFL to Seattle, which held teams to 16.99 points per game over the same time frame.

It is anticipated New England will lose at least two assistant coaches and potentially even three. The Patriots are expected to lose offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels, who is a finalist for both the Colts’ and Giants’ head-coaching jobs, per sources. In addition, Patriots linebackers coach Brian Flores is expected to be a finalist for the Arizona Cardinals’ head-coaching job, according to a league source. But the man now destined for one of those jobs is Patricia, one year after he interviewed for the head-coaching jobs with the Rams and Chargers.

Detroit wants Patricia, and many around the league expect the deal to eventually get done. But as NFL rules state: “No contract shall be executed, and no agreement to execute a contract, or an announcement of a contract, or of an agreement for employment, shall be permitted until after the conclusion of the employer club’s playing season.” The Patriots (14-3), having defeated the Titans 35-14 on Saturday night, will host the winner of Sunday’s divisional matchup between the Jaguars and Steelers next Sunday in the AFC title game.

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