Game time: 7 p.m. ET; Aug. 13, 2021
Venue: Ford Field, Detroit, MI
Where to watch: NFL Network
2020 season results
Bills: 13-3 (1st place, AFC East; lost AFC Championship to Chiefs)
Lions: 5-11 (Last place, NFC North)
Statistical leaders in 2020
Passing: Josh Allen -- 4,544 yards, 37 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
Rushing: Devin Singletary -- 687 yards, 2 touchdowns
Receiving: Stefon Diggs -- 1,535 yards, 8 touchdowns
Tackles: Jordan Poyer (124)
Sacks: A.J. Klein and Mario Addison (5)
Interceptions: Tre’Davious White (3)
Passing: Matthew Stafford -- 4,084 yards, 26 touchdowns, 10 interceptions
Rushing: Adrian Peterson -- 604 yards, 7 touchdowns
Receiving: Marvin Jones -- 978 yards, 9 touchdowns
Tackles: Jamie Collins (101)
Sacks: Romeo Okwara (10)
Interceptions: Duron Harmon (2)
Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Bills -2, Lions + 2
BetMGM: Bills -2, Lions +2
FanDuel: Bills -2.5, Lions +2.5
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Bills - Lions Preview
Now that they’ve signed their franchise quarterback to a lucrative extension, the pressure is on the Buffalo Bills to start winning.
There are 285 million reasons why the Bills are trusting Josh Allen to be the guy that gets them there. After an improbable season that saw Buffalo fall one game short of the Super Bowl, Allen and the Bills begin their preseason slate Friday against the new-look Detroit Lions.
Head coach Sean McDermott will enter his fifth season as Bills coach, having made the playoffs in all but one season to this point. During that time, McDermott has turned the Bills’ defense into one of the most fearsome units in the NFL; a group of linebackers that have a nose for the ball every time, a young but balanced defensive line that will soon break out a ton of sacks, and a secondary full of ballhawks led by cornerback Tre’Davious White.
But the Bills’ ascension over the New England Patriots in the AFC East standings is due to Allen, the former No. 7 overall pick in 2018. Allen’s transformation from a guy with a big arm at Wyoming to a top-5 quarterback in the league has been masterful. After consecutive seasons of completing below 60 percent of his passes, Allen benefitted from a great Buffalo offensive line to complete a career-high 69.2 percent.
It helped that the Bills had depth at receiver, primarily with Stefon Diggs having a career year and Cole Beasley nearing 1,000 yards.
Don’t expect to see a lot of Allen in these preseason games. Buffalo signed former No. 2 overall pick Mitchell Trubisky in hopes of being a reclamation project, so look for him and former Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm to take the majority of the reps Friday.
Bills fans have every right to be excited about their team. Lions fans, maybe not so much. Detroit traded longtime signal caller Matthew Stafford to the Los Angeles Rams, and the hope is Jared Goff will pick up where Stafford left off … and that he results in some wins.
Most teams would take Stafford’s 4,000-yard season and 26 touchdowns and be a playoff-caliber team most years. But the Lions have a lot of room to go before they catch the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. The Lions are going to need a solid running game from young tailback D’Andre Swift, and need more from an unknown receiver corps.
Wouldn’t it be great if they could clone Calvin Johnson? That would make coach Dan Campbell’s job a lot easier.
Goff, the former No. 1 pick from Cal, is not that far removed from a Super Bowl appearance with the Rams. This could result in growing pains for Goff if the Lions don’t win right away, but also expect Goff to not play as much until next week. A heavy dose of David Blough is expected, with Tim Boyle also competing for a roster spot.
The Lions are 14-5 straight up against the Bills since 1993. Take that for what you will; these aren’t the Bills of yesteryear and are much better than the team Detroit is composed of now. However, this being the preseason, it’s not too blasphemous to think the Lions will play well in this game.
One component that will likely stay the same: the under has cashed in 13 of those meetings since 1993. If the starters aren’t heavily involved, expect the under to stay par for the course here.
It normally takes one or two dumb plays to swing a game. This sounds like one of those times, with the Lions winning. Lions win 20-17.
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