Duane Burleson/Associated Press
Justin Tuck and Khalil Mack vs. Corey Hilliard and LaAdrian Waddle
Two pass-rushers at opposite ends of their careers will serve as the next hurdle in the race to become the Lions' starting right tackle.
Last week, Hilliard suffered his way through the first quarter. He was beaten multiple times, including once for a sack, and was badly outplayed by Waddle.
Hilliard must stem the bleeding if he doesn't want to start the all-important third preseason game on the bench. Waddle, conversely, will look to lock down a job that currently has his name written all over it.
Kellen Moore vs. Dan Orlovsky
As mentioned earlier, Moore was the Waddle to Orlovsky's Hilliard against the Browns. While Moore was busy completing 85 percent of his passes, Orlovsky was trying to find the open man.
That's what separated these two last week—decision-making time. Moore processed his reads much faster and got the ball out of his hands quickly.
It should be noted that Orlovsky didn't get the clean pocket that Moore enjoyed on seemingly every throw. More often than not, the nine-year veteran (nine years for Orlovsky!) was under some form of duress, either from the defense or his receivers' hands.
Head coach Jim Caldwell might have faith in his hand-picked backup, but the public does not. More than anything else, Orlovsky needs to win the PR battle here to quiet the masses.
Nick Fairley vs. Himself
The deeper the slide goes, the deeper the analysis.
Or something like that.
The truth is it's difficult to project actual matchups in the preseason because no one knows how long somebody will be on the field or who will be lined up opposite that man. However, we do know that Fairley clearly needs to stop getting in his own way.
Aside from the weight issues discussed a couple slides ago, there is the lackluster performance against the Browns, which could be the culprit for his demotion. He often looked uninterested, and it's going to start costing him a lot of money sooner rather than later.
He must show up mentally prepared to give a damn. If he doesn't, he might not have a starting job to fight for come September.
Lions' X-Factor of the Week: Eric Ebron
There won't be a single X-factor to a preseason game. Most players don't log enough snaps to have a lasting impact, and the final score doesn't matter.
So, with that being said, I pick Eric Ebron.
The Lions might be okay with Ebron's initial performance considering the encyclopedia of knowledge they've force-fed him over the past couple months. The fans got to see all of the different duties that will be expected of the rookie, just none of the fun.
But Detroit needs to see the tiniest step of improvement going forward. He needs to flash the athleticism that made him the 10th overall pick to create separation or to break a tackle, because that would be progress.
And that's all that matters in the preseason.