A late field goal by the Buffalo Bills kept Dan Campbell from his first win as head coach of the Detroit Lions in last week's NFL preseason opener. Now the Lions will prepare to face an established Pittsburgh Steelers franchise that is the model of a winner Detroit someday hopes to become.
Sportsbooks in Michigan have the Lions as underdogs for Saturday's preseason matchup.
Here is what to watch for on Saturday.
Some Starters Will Play
As always is the case with preseason games, which starters are active and who sits out is always one of the primary storylines. For the Lions, some starters will play and some will rest.
"I still see most of our starters playing," Campbell said during a media session. "This had been in my head for about a week. I’m starting to think about, you know, maybe sitting a few of these guys. A select few veterans is kind of what I’m thinking right now. I’m not there yet, I want to see how we get through this practice too. That will play a lot into it."
Three players Campbell was prepared to rule out were running back D’Andre Swift, defensive end Michael Brockers and tight end T.J. Hockenson.
Campbell also mentioned quarterback Jared Goff could be done for the remainder of the preseason. Goff completed 7 of 9 passes for 56 yards in his Lions debut against the Bills. But Goff struggled during Thursday’s practice, throwing two picks and having two other passes nearly intercepted.
New Lions Long Snapper
On any other team, the release of a long snapper typically doesn’t draw many headlines. But Don Muhlbach was Detroit’s longest-tenured player before he was released on Wednesday. The 40-year-old long snapper played 17 years for the Lions, taking part in 260 games during that span. Only Jason Hanson has played more games for Detroit. Muhlbach’s mark is also the eighth-most in NFL history by a player with a single team.
“The best way to put it is: It's time,” Campbell said. “Look, I got the utmost respect for Don. I played with Don. Seventeen seasons, 260 games, 37th overall all-time games played in this league — he’s a pro, he’s an even better person, and he’s meant a lot to this organization.”
Scott Daly will presumably take over long-snapping duties. He is the only long snapper on the roster.
Muhlbach’s release even drew a statement from Lions principal owner Shelia Ford Hamp.
“Don Muhlbach will go down as one of the all-time Detroit Lions greats,” she said. “Since joining our team as a free agent in 2004, to earning the respect of his teammates as a team captain, he has represented our organization with class, consistency and true sportsmanship."
Lions, BetMGM Release Live Dealer Game
For anyone who wondered what it would be like to play Vegas-style table games inside Ford Field, BetMGM is giving players the chance to play it out virtually. Earlier this month, BetMGM announced two titles in Michigan: Detroit Lions Blackjack and Roulette.
Using Lions branding and colors, the games place players at their favorite tables inside an immersive three-dimensional rendering of a suite inside Detroit’s Ford Field.
Detroit Lions Roulette features realistic ball animations, section bets and a full results statistical interface. On the blackjack side, players can bet in up to five seats. There are also two popular side bets: 21+3 and Any Pair.
“BetMGM is excited to expand its relationship with the Detroit Lions through these innovative table offerings in Michigan,” BetMGM Director of Gaming Oliver Bartlett said in a media release. “Since Day One of operation there, our strategy of leveraging both in-house and exclusive content has resonated with players and we know that Lions fans across the state will jump at the chance to play blackjack and roulette ‘at Ford Field.’”