The NFL released the preseason schedule on Thursday. Dates and times haven’t been announced, but here’s a first look at the opponents for the Lions:
Week 1 (Aug. 11-15) at Pittsburgh Steelers
Comment: The Lions likely won’t see much of Ben Roethlisberger during this game – maybe a series or two – but former Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint could get a lot of playing time for Pittsburgh in this opener. The Lions are on the road to start the preseason for the first time since 2010.
Week 2 (Aug. 18-22) vs. Cincinnati Bengals
Comment: Marvin Jones and Wallace Gilberry won’t get a chance to travel to their former home this preseason, but the Lions will see a playoff team in Ford Field to open the home exhibition season. The Lions and Bengals have played 36 times in the exhibition season and are tied 18-18.
Week 3 (Aug. 25-28) at Baltimore Ravens
Comment: The Lions travel to Baltimore in a semi-homecoming game for Haloti Ngata, who was traded from Baltimore to Detroit in 2015. This is the game in which you’re likely to see a lot of the starters play deep into the game, so Matthew Stafford, Jones and Golden Tate should show some sort of rapport by then.
Week 4 (Sept. 1) vs. Buffalo Bills
Comment: The seemingly annual game against the Bills is at Ford Field again. The teams have played in the preseason finale every year since 2002 and Rex Ryan gets to come to Buffalo again. If the Lions bring in a rookie quarterback, that player could see a lot of action against Buffalo.