1. Elevate the play
Tonight is the regular season tune-up for the Lions and it comes against a team that's won at least 10 games in 10 consecutive seasons.
Preseason games don't count, but they do matter. Head coach Jim Schwartz said he wants to see his team elevate it's play from the first two games against a quality opponent that was one game from the Super Bowl last season.
"I think it always elevates the level of preseason," Schwartz said of playing the Patriots. "I think competing against guys, particularly Tom Brady, our guys are going to have to play their very best. Offensively, defensively, and their outstanding special teams unit, they cover very well.
"They're first in the NFL in points scored last year and I think they were first in the NFL in points allowed last year. That's a pretty good formula. All those other stats, you can take those away. They have been a consistent team, a consistent contender for a long time and we're going to have to play our very best."
We haven't seen a real good performance from the offense, defense or special teams through the first two games and the Jets and Browns are average opponents.
Raise the play vs. a good opponent like New England, and coaches will feel a little better.
2. Match the tempo
New England had the league's top offense last year (427.9 yards per game) and also ran more plays than any other team (1,191). They play an up-tempo style and the Lions defense will have to be ready for that.
"It makes you communicate quicker and think quicker," Schwartz said. "You're sort of training at a speed that may seem slow. We do a lot of different periods like that. You probably heard me saying that the first day of training camp and you'll hear me saying it during the season. It's just something that we always talk about."
The good thing for Lions defenders is they're used to the up-tempo style from going against their own offense. The Lions were No. 2 in the NFL last year in number of plays ran (1,160) and third in total offense. They run a similarly up-tempo style, so it shouldn't impact them as much.
3. Get the offense going
The starters on offense have had seven drives so far in the preseason. Those drives resulted in 39 plays, 151 yards, seven first downs and six points.
We can't forget this is the preseason, and schemes have been vanilla. But still, the offense would like to gain some momentum and some confidence heading into the regular season.
It's unclear if receiver
"There's a lot of excuses I could give, but that's really not my thing," receiver
4. Win a job
Individual performances in this game will carry more weight, whether it's a positive or negative.
All three jobs could come down to the very end, but someone can establish themselves as the leader with a good performance tonight.
5. Defend the pass
The Lions have faced six quarterbacks in two preseason games. Of those, five have finished with a quarterback rating of 94.6 or higher.
Future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is in town tonight, which means the secondary better raise the level of it's play.
The team has gotten a couple good individual performances -- Slay is one -- but as a whole, the pass defense has been subpar.
They've particularly struggled in the slot and down the sidelines locating footballs.
There's been an emphasis from Schwartz this week on getting his players to turn their heads and locate the football. He's shouted it out about a dozen times during practice this week.
Coaches will get a good look at veteran cornerback Rathean Mathis, whom the team signed earlier this week. He's been splitting reps at the nickel spot with the first team this week.
We might also get our first look at cornerback