All eyes will be on the Detroit Lions Friday night, as their "dress rehearsal" game against the Jacksonville Jaguars is on national television. Here are five things you should be looking at closely.
1. The wide receiver battle
Could this be Ryan Broyles' swan song with the Lions? Does Greg Salas have anything left in the tank to fight as a dark-horse candidate to make the roster? Will Jeremy Ross ever show any signs of being a good return specialist again, or will TJ Jones emerge as team's returner? The receiver race is tight, and Friday's game may decide who makes the cut and who will be searching for a new team in just over a week.
2. Can Ameer Abdullah do it again?
Word is that Abdullah will get some "consistent" playing time against the Jaguars. After his brilliant performance in the opening preseason game, fans have been chomping at the bit to get another taste of those sweet, sweet jump cuts. It sounds like Abdullah will get his shot to impress again, but will he really be able to top his performance against the Jets?
3. Laken Tomlinson's first start
With Larry Warford likely sitting the game out while he nurses an injury, Tomlinson will be pushed into the starting lineup against the Jaguars. Tomlinson has had his fair share of snaps during the preseason, but this will be his first career start. How the first-round draft pick responds to that pressure will be exciting to see.
4. Who will step up on the defensive line?
After Caraun Reid went down early in the Lions' preseason game against the Redskins last week, Detroit was thoroughly gashed by the Washington run game. This week, the Lions' defensive line depth will be challenged again, but will anyone rise to the occasion? Gabe Wright? Jermelle Cudjo? Devin Taylor? Bueller?
5. Zach Zenner vs. George Winn
Perhaps the most contentious camp battle has been for the fourth running back position. Winn brings a year of experience and superior special team skills, while Zenner, the hot new thing in town, has performed much better as a running back this preseason. Zenner still likely has an uphill battle, considering the Lions likely value special teams contributions highly for their fourth-string back. However, there's no doubt Zenner has threatened Winn's job security over the past two weeks.