Lions face real test against Patriots as preseason continues on WXYZ

(WXYZ) - The Lions return to Ford Field to continue the preseason against the New England Patriots and WXYZ, the flagship station of the Lions Television Network, will broadcast the action live.

Our coverage kicks off at 7pm tonight with Lions Tailgate. Tom Leyden will be joined on the field by Pro Football Hall of Famer Charlie Sanders and Lions great Herman Moore.

David Solano will look at the battle between Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell as the two jockey for playing time, while Brad Galli will look at how the team's new additions on defense, Rocky McIntosh, Rashean Mathis, and Justin Bannan, fit into the Lions picture.

Play-by-play team Matt Shepard and Rob Rubick will join Lions Tailgate from their broadcast booth atop Ford Field.

Earlier this week, Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh joined Tom for a one-one-one interview. Suh discussed his new role as the leader in the locker room and on the field.

You can be a part of the show by sending us your tweets using the hashtag #Lions.

When the game kicks off at 7:30, Shep and Rubes will call the action from the booth with Tom on the sideline interviewing players and offering insight from the field.

Two years ago, the Lions used their preseason game against the Patriots as a barometer for where they were as a franchise. Calvin Johnson said that's not the same case this time around, but the matchup still fuels the team to bring their A-game.

Brad's Top Three Stories to Watch:

1)      Starters Play, but for How Long? –  Jim Schwartz said starters will play as long as they need them to, but that snap count will dictate much of their final gameplay. Louis Delmas and Calvin Johnson both missed practice time this week, and will be gametime decisions. As the Patriots come to town, everyone wants to play against one of the best, and Delmas and Johnson are certainly included in that testament.

2)      Fast Start – The offense sputtered last week against the Browns. The defense wasn't much better. Jim Schwartz called the first half performance 'poor.' How the team starts today will either leave a bad taste in Lions fans mouths heading into the final preseason game, or it will settle everyone's stomachs. It may not matter, but tonight is as real a test as the Lions will get.

3)      Step Up – Schwartz was furious with the offense's lack of playmaking ability last week, save for Reggie Bush. If Calvin Johnson does play, he'll get the ball. Past that, there's been little to no emergence from anyone else on offense this preseason (in limited time). Ryan Broyles and Nate Burleson are also battling for time, and any in-game production will help solidify their role with the offense going forward.

We'll see the starters more than we have all year. We can't wait to bring you inside the action. See you at 7 on 7.

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