5 Things to Watch for During the Detroit Lions vs. the Oakland Raiders

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5 Things to Watch for During the Detroit Lions vs. the Oakland Raiders
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With the regular season right around the corner, we'll get one last look at the starters before we head into preparations for Week 1.

There are some interesting aspects to this game which came to me while I was reviewing the game against the Baltimore Ravens, and we'll touch on that in a minute.

First things first though...

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Mikel Leshoure

I've been an advocate of Leshoure's for some time now, but it's good to know we will finally see how effective he will be on the field.

After tearing his Achilles last preseason, Leshoure has been out of action. He will finally have full contact against another team, and we will see if he has lost any burst, speed or explosion.

How he does could very well impact how much the offense can run and when.

As for how the run game breaks out and why it might matter...

Why the Run Matters

I broke down some film the other day on Titus Young's touchdown against the Ravens, and the interesting thing to me wasn't just the touchdown, but the way it was set up before that play.

The preceding plays—in fact a lot of them in the drives prior to it—were short runs and passes, with a very occasional intermediate route thrown in.

The Ravens slowly crept closer to the line, in that particular play, staying in to watch the short routes and letting Young get into the free space between the middle and deep coverage.

The run, while not mind-blowingly effective, was effective enough to keep the defense worried about the short game.

This freed up Young (and at one point, Calvin Johnson) to go deeper and make big plays.

I think if they can get the Ravens to bite, they can get the Raiders to bite. 

Some of it starts by having a run game which is consistent enough to be a threat at any time.

I'm curious to see if they try it with the Raiders and whether it was an aberration or a trend.

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Ryan Broyles

Broyles has been getting a little action, but he's not with the starters yet, nor should he be. There's no rush, after all.

Still, I expect to see him a little Saturday night, perhaps, longer than you would think. 

Often the offense in these things is pretty vanilla, even in the "dress rehearsal" game, so it wouldn't shock me if they used Broyles more just to change things up a bit.

How close is he to being 100 percent, and what does that look like?

Hopefully, we get a glimpse of both of those answers against a somewhat depleted Raiders secondary.

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Amari Spievey

Spievey isn't terrible, but he's not great. It wouldn't shock me, once Louis Delmas is back, if he got beat out by Erik Coleman or John Wendling.

Wendling in particular has had a very good camp, and last week, looked good against the Ravens.

Spievey just isn't consistent enough as it stands to keep his spot on merit.

However, if we see some more consistency, it could be enough to keep him ahead of the people right behind him.

It all becomes moot if Delmas' injury lingers, but if not, there is certainly room for a change.

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Penalties

Not to harp on this, but I'm going to harp on this.

The Lions need more discipline. If there is one thing people in the media criticize the team for fairly, it's sloppy, and sometimes flat-out, dumb penalties.

We have to start seeing more controlled play and less flags.

There is not any point in giving the teams they play a free drive.

Heck, if they can't get less flags than the Oakland Raiders, we'll know something is wrong.

 

Check out the B/R NFC North Facebook page—like us and keep up with everything NFC North on Bleacher Report! Follow me on Twitter at @andrew_garda.

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