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5 things to watch: Lions at Bills

The preseason comes to a close tonight, and the Lions will have their initial 53-man roster by 4 p.m. Saturday.

While some Lions fans might already be looking toward the Week 1 matchup with Arizona, there's still plenty to be decided in tonight's contest in Buffalo from a roster standpoint.

Here are five things to look out for:

Jobs to be won

Head coach Jim Caldwell likes to tell the story of former Colts receiver Blair White going off in the final preseason game in 2010 to win a roster spot.

Lions fans witnessed the same thing for themselves last year when Kerry Hyder Jr. sacked Buffalo Bills quarterbacks three times in the preseason finale to help earn himself a roster spot. He went on to play a key role and lead the team in sacks.

There are some competitions for roster spots and playing roles that appear to be close coming down the stretch. Can someone step up tonight and separate themselves from the pack?

Who will be this year's Hyder?

Return game

The Lions still haven't finalized who will be their punt return and kickoff return man for the season opener.

"That's why we have this fourth game so we'll see narrow it down," Caldwell said. "But some guys have done fairly well. We'll get a chance to kind of put them in the middle of it this week."

Running back Dwayne Washington looks to be in the lead to win the kickoff return job. The same goes for rookie cornerback Jamal Agnew in the punt game. Jace Billingsley, TJ Jones and others will try and throw one last wrinkle into those competitions tonight.

Will Washington and Agnew still be the leaders for those jobs come Friday?

**Last receiver spot(s)


Golden Tate, Marvin Jones Jr. and Kenny Golladay are secure on the 53-man roster. The Lions will at the very least keep a fourth receiver, and could potentially keep five.

TJ Jones has taken a lot of first-team reps over the last month in three receiver sets. He looks to be the fourth receiver, but players like Billingsley and Jared Abbrederis are nipping at his heels.

Billingsley is looking to lead the Lions in receiving for a second consecutive preseason. Last year, it earned him a job on the practice squad. He comes in having caught 10 passes for 104 yards this year. If he has another good night, it just might earn him a roster spot this time around.

Rudock's show

The Lions' second-string quarterback has looked sharp in two of his three preseason outings. Last week vs. New England, he led the Lions on a couple scoring drives, and showed off athleticism and accuracy.

Matthew Stafford is unlikely to play tonight, which means Rudock will get to run the show from the start. If he plays well again, and shows the ability to move the ball and score points, he'll all but lock up the backup job over Brad Kaaya – if he hasn't already.

Young pass rushers

The Lions have been hit hard by injuries and suspensions along their defensive line, which means there might be an opportunity for one of the team's young edge rushers – Pat O'Connor, Alex Barrett, Jeremiah Valoaga and Giorgio Newberry – to earn themselves a spot on the initial roster.

We say initial because it's always a pretty fluid situation over the weekend when it's unknown which players cut from other teams could be claimed or be a fit with the Lions.

But assuming one of these young rushers gets an opportunity to win a roster spot, tonight's performance could help GM Bob Quinn and Caldwell make a final decision.

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