The Browns play the Detroit Lions in the third preseason game of the year for both teams at 5 p.m. today at Ford Field. Both teams are 1-1 in the preseason. The Browns won their opener 27-24 at the Green Bay Packers and suffered a 19-17 loss to the St. Louis Rams last weekend at Cleveland Browns Stadium. In what has become an unofficial tradition in the third preseason game of the year, the starters for both teams are expected to receive a significant amount of playing time tonight.
Top storylines: 1. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford torched the Browns' defense last season in a 38-37 regular-season victory for Detroit. Can the Browns' defense stop him? The Browns certainly couldn't stop Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Rams quarterback A.J. Feeley from orchestrating scoring drives in the past two weeks. The Browns' defense needs to show improvement against the Lions, but it won't be easy. Stafford has plenty of weapons at his disposal, including standout wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Pay close attention to the Browns' defensive secondary, especially rookie safety T.J. Ward and rookie cornerback Joe Haden. 2. How will the Browns' offensive line, especially the right side, hold up against a tough Lions defensive front? Browns right guard Shawn Lauvao will be tested by fellow rookie Ndamukong Suh. Also, veteran right tackle Tony Pashos will make his debut with Cleveland after being sidelined for most of training camp with a right shoulder injury. 3. Can Browns quarterback Jake Delhomme and the rest of Cleveland's offense protect the ball after fumbling four times in the first quarter against the Rams? Delhomme had two of those fumbles in the rain last week. Ford Field has a roof, so adverse weather conditions can't be blamed tonight.
Sidelined players: Browns -- DB Coye Francies, RB Montario Hardesty, LB D'Qwell Jackson, OL Joel Reinders, DL Titus Adams, DL C.J. Mosley, OL Floyd Womack, OL John St. Clair, DL Shaun Rogers. Lions -- K Jason Hanson, CB Jonathan Wade, CB Jack Williams, a Kent State University product, safety C.C. Brown, CB Aaron Berry and DE Lawrence Jackson.
Lineup changes: Browns -- As expected, Tony Pashos will start at right tackle instead of John St. Clair, who missed three consecutive days of practice this week because of a personal reason. Lions -- rookie RB Jahvid Best will start instead of Kevin Smith; CB Eric King will start instead of Johnathan Wade; safety Randy Phillips will start instead of C.C. Brown.