So far this preseason, Detroit is 1-1 as it defeated the Cleveland Browns 13-12 in Week 1, and lost to the Oakland Raiders 27-26 in Week 2. Quarterback Matthew Stafford has looked sharp so far this preseason as the three drives he’s led have all resulted in points (two touchdowns and one field goal). For the first time this preseason, the Lions will have the services of star wide receiver Calvin Johnson, who sat out the first two games as a precaution.
The Lions, however, still have plenty to improve on this preseason. After committing just five penalties against Cleveland, Detroit was called for 11 against Oakland. The defense, on the other hand, has a major problem on their hands as former first-round pick Nick Fairley was officially demoted to the second team this week.
The Jaguars are also 1-1 this preseason after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 16-10 in Week 1 and lost to the Chicago Bears 20-19 in Week 2. There have been some positive signs that suggest the Jaguars could turn the corner this season, especially at the quarterback position as both Chad Henne and No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles have been impressive. Offensively, the Jaguars look completely different this year than last year as running back Toby Gerhart replaces Maurice Jones-Drew and rookie wide receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson look to bring more explosiveness to the passing game.
Defensively, the Jaguars seriously addressed their defensive line, which has consistently been a major weakness, by adding former Seattle Seahawks defensive ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant. The defense has also been showing good progress as they have already collected three interceptions in two games.
Several key matchups to watch in this game includes the Jaguars’ offensive line against the Lions’ defensive line and Detroit’s Calvin Johnson against Jacksonville’s Dwayne Gratz in the passing game. This game will also be Detroit cornerback Rashean Mathis‘ first against his former team since being let go last season.
No matter how this game ends up, both teams have already shown signs of improvement as both look to make 2014 a year to remember.
Brian Kalchik is a Detroit Lions writer for RantSports.com. He also adds to the site’s NBA, NCAA Football, Fantasy and NFL content. Follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook and add him to your network on Google+.