Lions' preseason opponents unveiled; open at home vs. Patriots

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
The Lions and Patriots will square off in the preseason opener at Ford Field in Detroit.

Allen Park — The Detroit Lions will open the preseason hosting the defending champion New England Patriots. The team's full preseason slate was announced on Tuesday. 

After hosting the Patriots (Aug. 8-12), the Lions will head out on the road to face the Houston Texans  (Aug. 15-19), and return to Detroit to play the Buffalo Bills in a game nationally televised by CBS (Aug. 23). The Lions close the schedule with a trip to Cleveland  (Aug. 29-30). 

Dates and times for the games are expected to be announced later this month. 

There's also a decent possibility the Lions conduct a set of joint practices with both the Patriots and Texans. Coach Matt Patrica has obvious connections with the coaches of those two opponents, having worked extensively with both Bill Belichick and Bill O'Brien in New England. 

At the league meetings last month, Patricia raved about the value of working with another team on the practice field. 

"They are so critically important," Patricia said. "It’s kind of a switch we decided to make, probably 2010 or 2011, we started doing those because the way everything was set up in camp, you’d get that two-week period (into camp) and they’d be tired of the same old routine, tired of hitting each other. When you can bring in another team that you can work well with and has the same philosophies on how practice should be and the control of it, I think there’s a lot you can get done from a fundamental standpoint. There’s a lot of really good evaluation you can get done because if you practice against the same guy, man to man coverage let’s say, or  route running over and over again, you start to learn about that guy, right?"

"Plus you get to see a new scheme," Patricia continued. "You get to see different looks. You get different situational football you can go through with other teams that we trust in order to practice that way and grow the intelligence part of it."