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As the preseason wears on, the Detroit Lions make a return engagement to Oakland, a place they enjoyed some smashing late season success in 2011. There waiting are the physical Raiders, a tough team which will provide the Lions with a great test on the field and mentally.
Here’s a few things that are worth keeping an eye on during Saturday night’s game:
1. Starters. In the third preseason game, the starters usually go much deeper. How will the first team offense and defense fare against the Raiders? Will there be a need for another epic comeback like last December? Most importantly, can the Lions avoid the big injury? These are the major issues this week. Against the Ravens, Detroit’s first team played well on both sides of the ball. What’s in store for this week?
2. Improvements With Discipline. As mentioned in last week’s Hunt Report, the Lions were far too undisciplined again, taking bad 15 yard personal foul penalties. In game penalties on plays will happen, but the after the whistle hits on the quarterback and other silly personal fouls need to go away. Did Jim Schwartz intimidate Nick Fairley and company enough during the week, or will the Lions be goaded into more issues by the equally as physical Raiders?
3. Kassim Osgood On Special Teams. Wednesday night, the Lions signed Osgood, a wide receiver who is also a special teams ace. Will he play on Saturday and make an immediate impact? With the Lions’ well documented problems with special teams coverage and performance last fall, any improvements made to the unit will provide a step forward. Will Osgood provide the missing link? If so, this could be a very underrated move.
4. The Punting Battle. Ryan Donahue supplanted Nick Harris last year in camp Now, thanks to the play of Ben Graham when Donahue was hurt last fall, there’s another battle to settle. There hasn’t been much differentiation between the two, with both punting well. Will there be any separation in the third preseason game? This choice, being it is the second one in as many seasons at the punting position, is one of the more fascinating decisions Schwartz will have to make prior to the regular season.
5. Kellen Moore. Osgood was added to the roster and in his place, and another backup quarterback was cut, making Moore all the more fascinating to watch this week late in the game. Might he have the third quarterback position completely sewn up? More importantly, how will he play? After starting the first preseason game slow, signs of life emerged with a solid second half last week in Baltimore. If Moore can keep improving in Oakland, chances are good he’ll make the team.
Line: Lions by 2 1/2
Pick: Detroit 27, Da Raidazzz 20