The New York Giants have been in town all week conducting joint practices with the Detroit Lions. The work week concludes tonight with those two teams squaring off at Ford Field for the second preseason game of the year for each squad.
The home fans get their first look at the 2018 version of the Lions. Here are five things they should look out for:
Quarterback Matthew Stafford sat out the first preseason game in Oakland. Head coach Matt Patricia hasn't said publicly if Stafford will play or not, but I wouldn't be surprised if Stafford and any other healthy starter on offense gets at least a series or two.
Stafford's a 10-year vet, so there isn't a whole lot he hasn't experienced in this league, but it could be good to see a few live reps heading into next week's third preseason game in Tampa Bay, when the starters typically play a half or so as their regular season tune-up.
Ziggy Ansah, Theo Riddick and Nevin Lawson were other big contributors that didn't play in the first preseason contest in Oakland. Those players could potentially make their preseason debuts tonight as well.
KERRYON JOHNSON ENCORE
The rookie running back had a solid debut in Oakland (67 total yards on 11 touches), and that's not including a highlight-reel 57-yard scamper that was called back for holding.
Johnson ran with vision and power, and showed he can also be an impact player in the passing game.
"We've seen a lot from Kerryon through the course of camp and he certainly had some good plays out there," Patricia said after the Oakland game. "I think there were a couple plays that we just still left out on the field that we have to do better on, but we just keep trying to improve with him the overall understanding of what we're trying to do offensively."
The Giants' strength on defense is their front seven, so if Johnson gets some run early in the game, this should be a good test for both him and the run game as a whole.
LOOKING FOR MORE PASS RUSH
Patricia and the Lions weren't doing much in the way of scheming on defense in Oakland, but coaches probably would have liked to see more pressure generated from their front seven in that game.
The Lions failed to record a sack, and had just one quarterback hit in Oakland. There were a number of times Lions pass rushers sped the clock up for Raiders passers in terms of pressure, but we need to see a few more of those end with impact plays for the defense.
Ansah is Detroit's top pass rusher. He led the team with 12 sacks last season, and is just a few years removed from a 14.5-sack season. Getting him back on the field could certainly help the front seven generate more pressure against the Giants than they did in Oakland.
BACKUP QUARTERBACK BATTLE
Both Matt Cassel and Jake Rudock received a lot of playing time in the preseason debut to mixed results.
Cassel led the only touchdown drive of the game, but neither passer threw a touchdown.
Cassel finished 10-of-18 passing for 81 yards (long of 14) for a 67.1 passer rating. He lost a fumble that ended the game.
Rudock completed 12 of his 19 passes for 84 yards (long of 19) for a passer rating of 73.1. He completed just one pass traveling 10 or more yards downfield, according to Pro Football Focus statistics.
Cassel seems to have the edge in the competition based off his experience and Detroit's win-now mentality, but there's a lot of football yet to be played before the 53-man roster is established Sept. 1.
There are a lot of good challenges that come with starting the preseason on the road, like the Lions did last week in Oakland. Traveling, different meeting rooms, not having the comforts of home and not being familiar with the stadium or the set up or the surroundings to name a few.
Most of the Lions coaching staff is new this year, and has never played a home game at Ford Field, so going through the home routine this week will be good.
"For myself it's just getting used to it being our home stadium and the logistics of getting to the game, the pregame, and all of the things I talked about last week with our routine," Patricia said.
"I'm sure there will be things I will want to modify by the time we get to the next situation with Cleveland."
Patricia and the players are also looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd and the energy that provides.
"Obviously most excited to be home with the fans, that's going to be the most important thing," Patricia said. "I'll be real excited to see everybody out at the stadium."