It’s the dress rehearsal game as the Lions host the New England Patriots Thursday in the third preseason game for both teams. Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. at Ford Field.
The starters are expected to see about a half of play.
Here are five positions to keep an eye on:
1. Right tackle. Jason Fox has been getting most of the reps in practice with the first team. He started against the Jets and seems to have the edge in earning the starting role there. Corey Hilliard not out of the mix, but expect Fox to start and watch both closely.
2. Nickelback. Bill Bentley had been working the position with the first team all through camp until cornerback Rashean Mathis took reps there on Tuesday. Mathis, a 10-year NFL veteran, has played nickel for the Jaguars. Bentley struggled big-time in the first preseason game and seemed to settle down a bit against the Browns. The addition of Mathis heats up the position battle.
3. Right guard. In recent days Dylan Gandy has started practice here and rookie Larry Warford has also gotten snaps with the first team. Jake Scott, who started against the Browns, is in the mix too.
4. Wide receiver. Still looking to fill the fourth and fifth spots. Patrick Edwards seems to have the edge but wouldn’t hand him the job just yet. Matt Willis a strong competitor along with Terrence Austin. There’s a chance the Lions could keep just four wide receivers and expand the tight end count from three to four which brings us to ...
5. Tight end. Joe Fauria has improved his blocking skills which puts him in the mix. His height (6-foot-7) could make him a red zone threat. Michael Williams excels at blocking but can catch the ball. If both have a good showing against the Patriots, they could make the 53-man roster. Don’t think either one would clear waivers to join the practice squad.
Note: The game is a sell-out so it will air live on WXYZ-TV Channel 7 in the Detroit area.