What to Watch For: Jets' Preseason Opener

As the New York Jets open their preseason schedule against the Detroit Lions in the Motor City, fans will be keeping their eyes on which players standout and deserve to make the 53-man opening day roster. Find out the critical matchups heading into Friday night.

Mark Sanchez vs. Geno Smith

Round one of a highly anticipated quarterback battle will get underway on Friday night in the Motor City, pitting the embattled veteran against the unproven rookie signal-caller. Look for turnovers to be a major determining factor for who leads the huddle come the start of the regular season as the Jets look to avoid the costly mistakes that derailed their playoff hopes a season ago. Sanchez is in the midst of his last stand in New York, so any miscues could result in Smith getting the nod. In his first preseason action, Smith will need to prove to the coaching staff that he is mature enough and has a strong grasp of the West Coast system if he hopes to secure the starting spot this upcoming season.

Megatron vs. Megacorner

Calvin Johnson is widely regarded as the NFL's premier wide receiver, while Antonio Cromartie is within the elite rankings when it comes to cornerbacks. This compelling matchup will feature a plethora of speed, athleticism and eye-popping plays which could make for some must-see TV for football fans across the country.

Reggie Bush vs. Jets' linebackers

Gang Green had a hard time containing the Bush and the Miami Dolphins last year, so this matchup will be a good early test for a group of young, unproven linebackers. Bush joins a high octane Detroit Lions offense, known for big yardage plays through the passing game, so the Jets will need to be on their toes to defend speedy running back in both the run and passing game.

Ndamukong Suh vs. Kenrick Ellis

There's no question this heavy weight battle in the trenches will get physical and ugly in a hurry. Suh has a penchant for borderline dirty play, while Ellis is looking to establish himself as the franchise's starting defensive tackle, after Sione Po'uha was released during free agency. Expect Ellis to have his hands full as he matches up with one of the best and most controversial pass-rusher the NFL has to offer.

Nate Burleson vs. Dee Milliner

Playing in the shadow of the league's best receiver, Burleson is a vastly underrated receiving target capable of giving opposing defenses headaches. Milliner, New York top draft pick, will face his stiffest challenge as a pro, tangling with Burleson in the preseason opener. Keep an eye on Milliner's physicality to determine if he's back to 100 percent after offseason shoulder surgery.


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