- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The Buffalo Bills travel to Detroit to play their preseason finale against the Lions Thursday night. It is Buffalo’s final chance to get a win in the preseason.
Here are three things to watch for in this game:
1. Tarvaris Jackson's Bills debut
Buffalo made headlines this week by cutting former first-round pick Vince Young and trading with the Seattle Seahawks for Jackson. Both quarterbacks have similar playing styles, but the Bills feel Jackson is an upgrade to backup starter Ryan Fitzpatrick. Jackson must be a quick learner in Buffalo’s offense. He will most likely run some basic plays tonight. But Jackson will need to have full command of the offense early in the regular season if Fitzpatrick gets injured.
2. No injuries
Last week’s preseason game was the "dress rehearsal," this week is all about survival. Buffalo, like many teams, just want to get out of this game healthy. The Bills have a huge season opener Sept. 9 against the division rival New York Jets. Buffalo will need all its weapons to win on the road. Bills coach Chan Gailey said his starters will be on the field for about 10 plays, just to get their feet wet. If no starters get injured Thursday night, that is more important than a victory.
3. Which rookies will step up?
Don’t expect to see much of first-round pick Stephon Gilmore and second-round pick Cordy Glenn. But beyond that, Buffalo’s rookie class should get a lot of opportunities against Detroit to show what they can do. Players like rookie wide receiver T.J. Graham and first-year linebacker Tank Carder should see playing time in this fourth preseason game.