The Final Preseason Game Is Upon Us As The Detroit Lions vs. Buffalo Bills Happens Today.
Here we are, the final game of the preseason. Where the backups shine, and players fight for roster spots as the dark looming cut day approaches on Saturday. Don’t expect any starters out on the field, as both teams will want their starting 22 players healthy and ready to go next Sunday.
Detroit has a lot of question marks on its roster heading into the game on Thursday, which begs the question that everyone wants to know, who makes the team? Who gets cut? Well while I won’t be giving my predictions just yet, I can give you players to watch as their jobs are in the air on Thursday night.
Offensive Battles To Watch
With Dan Orlovsky out of Detroit, many people were wondering if Jake Rudock was the guy who could be a number two QB in Detroit. Well, according to other GM’s around the league, they believe so. Rumors came out that Jake Rudock has been a trade target for some GM’s in the NFL.
Rudock disputed those rumors on Tuesday, telling the Detroit Free Press “I heard that from someone. I’m like, ‘I don’t know what the hell you guys are talking about.’ I just heard someone say it.” Rudock will most likely start on Thursday, with rookie quarterback Brad Kaaya getting reps later in the game. If Detroit thinks they can live without Rudock, this is Kaaya’s time to prove it.
Matt Asiata and Dwayne Washington are battling for the fourth running back spot on the roster. Now last season the team did keep four running backs, but there could be a chance that neither player makes the team, and Detroit sticks with three running backs. So far this preseason, Asiata has 16 carries for 37 yards and one catch for nine yards, while Washington has 21 carries for 73 yards and one touchdown, with four catches for 42 yards and a touchdown. With Washington in the lead, Asiata will need a big night to take over.
The final offensive battle to watch for is the number three receiving job. Kenny Golladay vs. TJ Jones. Besides the first preseason game, both receivers have been quiet in action. Golladay has five catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns, while Jones has two catches for 33 yards. Golladay has been more impressive, but with Jones still getting reps with the starters in practice, it could go to him. Thursday will clear the air on that decision.
Defensive Battles To Watch
The defensive line will have Ziggy Ansah back for week one, but who will start on the opposite end? That battle is between Cornelius Washington and Anthony Zettel. Both have done well in the preseason, but Zettel seems to have the edge with more playing time than Washington.
Detroit could end up with seven cornerbacks on its roster come Saturday at 4:01 p.m. The biggest battle is between slot cornerbacks Quandre Diggs and rookie Jamal Agnew. Agnew was a preseason favorite after returning a punt to the house in the Lions mock game, but he hasn’t done much on the return game or playing corner so far. He was targeted heavily against the Jets and lost majority of those battles. Diggs hasn’t been targeted as much as Agnew, but his presence hasn’t been noteworthy besides a big hit.
A battle of the backups as I like to call it, Detroit showed their depth against New England last week. While they didn’t pull out the win, Rudock and company were able to put Detroit on top for the first time all game. Sadly the defense wasn’t able to stop the Patriots, but that was last week.
This week they play the Bills and Buffalo is looking to avoid going 0-4 in the preseason. Each game has been close for Buffalo, but this one won’t be close.
Detroit has better depth at most positions and that shows on Thursday. Detroit wins 27-13.