Browns vs. Lions: TV Schedule, Live Stream, Radio, Game Time and More
Well, I guess the Browns still fall into that category, but with an intriguing rookie class that features the likes of Trent Richardson, Brandon Weeden and Josh Gordon, they’ll be one of the most interesting teams to watch this preseason.
And with the Lions on the verge of championship-contender status—and coming off a bit of off-the-field drama this summer—they’re definitely a team to pay attention to as well.
Here’s a preview of each franchise’s first exhibition game.
Will Detroit cover the spread?
Where: Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
When: Friday, August 10 at 7:30 p.m. EDT
Listen: Sirius XM Radio: 128 or Online at NFL Audio Pass
Betting Line: Lions by 3, according to Bovada
What’s At Stake
A starting quarterback job? Maybe?
Cleveland was quick to take the reins out of Colt McCoy’s hands and throw them to Brandon Weeden. If the soon-to-be 29-year-old rookie struggles, though, it wouldn’t be surprising if the Browns allowed McCoy to continue starting until Weeden gets his feet wet.
And of course, all of those undrafted free agents and/or training camp invites’ jobs are at stake as well.
Browns Injury Report
According to USA Today, linebacker Chris Gocong and defensive tackle Phil Taylor won’t suit up in the Browns' first preseason game, or maybe even the entire season. Gocong injured his Achilles tendon and Taylor tore a pec.
ESPN also reported that running back Trent Richardson is questionable for the contest with a knee injury. Coach Pat Shurmur said of Richardson’s status:
We're evaluating it. There's a chance he won't play on Friday. I'm always concerned about injuries, but at this point we'll just find out what it is. He's been practicing well. Just a little sore.
Lions Injury Report
According to ESPN, safety Louis Delmas and wide receiver Ryan Broyles are questionable to play on Friday. Each has been hampered by a knee injury.
Running back Jahvid Best is also still out with a concussion.
What They’re Saying
Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Browns tight end Evan Moore, once thought of as an up-and-coming talent bound to blow up, isn’t off to an ideal start in training camp. She tweeted:
#Browns TE Evan Moore said he's not at all concerned about being listed No. 4 on the depth chart.— Mary Kay Cabot (@MaryKayCabot) August 7, 2012
David Birkett of the Detroit Free Press reported that if Lions cornerback Chris Houston makes significant strides in 2012, fans should thank Calvin Johnson. Houston said of being forced to defend Megatron every day in practice:
He's the best wide receiver in the game. He's giving you hell day in and day out, and it's training camp. We have to face guys like Brandon Marshall, Larry Fitzgerald, so he's preparing us for that. That's what I go to practice thinking about.
Browns Player to Watch: Brandon Weeden
If Weeden doesn’t solidify himself as the Browns’ starting quarterback, what do they do? Start Colt McCoy until things begin to click? And because Weeden’s nearing 29 years of age already, it isn’t like they have the luxury to sit and develop him.
Weeden must build a strong chemistry with Cleveland’s young receiving corps and emerge as at least somewhat of a respectable passer. Either that, or the Browns will be in for a long season.
Lions Player to Watch: Riley Reiff
Detroit’s first-round pick is currently their second-string left tackle. But if he impresses coaches enough to earn the starting job in the preseason, he could really bolster the Lions’ offensive line.
Matt Stafford’s injuries are a testament to the mediocrity the Lions have thrown onto the field over the past few years. Reiff is a top-10 talent, but he fell in the draft. Hopefully for Stafford’s sake, Detroit doesn’t have to wait until next year to take advantage of their good fortune.
Key Matchup: Calvin Johnson vs. Joe Haden
Joe Haden didn’t nearly have the success he did as a rookie. In 2011, he picked off six passes. This past season, he didn’t record a single interception.
Cleveland needs him to become a defensive playmaker if the team plans on sniffing the playoffs this year.
Calvin Johnson was unrecognizable from the previous season as well. But his numbers, on the other hand, skyrocketed. He’s the best wide receiver in the NFL, and any time he matches up with a talented cornerback, it’s a must-watch matchup.
On the Hot Seat: Pat Shurmur
Now, don’t get me wrong, Shurmur’s job isn’t in danger yet. He just took over the Browns last season. But the fact of the matter is, if you’re the coach of Cleveland, you’re most likely on the hot seat.
If the Browns’ promising rookie class flops and they take a step back as a team, you better believe he’ll be feeling the heat next year.
With the possibility that Trent Richardson may not suit up looming over the Browns, it’s difficult to imagine them defeating the Lions. Without Richardson, Cleveland’s offense is one of the least potent in the NFL.
And you know the Matt Stafford-to-Calvin Johnson connection is going to want to start the year off with a bang.
Detroit by 6
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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