Lions vs. Bills 2013 game preview: All eyes on Jeff Tuel

Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The final preseason game will highlight players that are buried in the depth chart, but the Bills starting quarterback will draw the most attention.

The fourth and final preseason game is typically a time for the lowest players on the roster to take one final shot at earning a spot on the 53-man roster. While the first-team starters may have an opportunity to play some in the game, Thursday's game between the Bills will likely highlight players looking to make the team as a special teams contributor or depth player.

Meet the Buffalo Bills

Good luck has been scarce when it comes to the Bills recently, as a slew of injuries has the team in a tight spot at the wrong time. While acquiring Matt Leinart and Thaddeus Lewis helped to quell the team's need at quarterback, the Bills will still have to rely on quarterback Jeff Tuel for the time being.

Through three preseason games, Tuel has completed 31-of-43 passes for 299 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. Thursday's game will be the final tune-up for Tuel as a starter before he'll almost certainly be asked to lead the Bills into the first week of the regular season.

Meet the Detroit Lions

When the Bills ran out of quarterbacks, the Lions were willing to chip in some help by sending Thaddeus Lewis to Buffalo. In exchange, the Lions received veteran linebacker Chris White who will likely make his debut with the team on Thursday after spending the first two seasons of his career with the Bills.

With just one more exhibition game before the beginning of the regular season, the Lions are unlikely to rest their starters, though. On Monday, Lions head coach Jim Schwartz told the media that every player that is "100-percent healthy" will get a chance to play at least a few snaps.

Local Takes: Buffalo Bills

Brian Galliford from Buffalo Rumblings had this to say about the Bills' recent quarterback carousel.

Right now, Manuel and Tuel are mortal locks to make the Bills' final 53-man roster. If Kolb is out for an extended period of time, Leinart may make the most sense as a reserve, as he can play the role of veteran counterpoint to two rookies. How Lewis figures into the mix remains to be seen, but it does not seem particularly likely that the Bills will keep four quarterbacks - though that's certainly possible if Manuel is suddenly unavailable for Week 1.

Local Takes: Detroit Lions

Sean Yuille from Pride of Detroit listed five storylines to watch in Thursday's game, including the Lions kick return game:

Nobody has really had much of a chance to emerge as the Lions' return specialist simply because opportunities have been so limited. As a result, Steven MillerMicheal Spurlock and Patrick Edwards all appear to still be in the mix for this role. If Edwards makes the team as the Lions' fourth wide receiver, would the Lions really need to keep Miller or Spurlock when their main contributions would simply be on special teams? I say no, as I just don't think there's room for a return specialist with the current make-up of the roster.

Follow the Fun

Be sure to check out SB Nation's team blogs, Buffalo Rumblings and Pride Of Detroit, for more analysis and highlights from the game.

Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:

@BuffRumblings

@PrideOfDetroit

@JoeBuscaglia

@davebirkett

Odds

The Lions opened as 4.5-point favorites against the Bills and the line has held steady on most online sportsbooks, according to Oddsshark.

Next Week

The Bills will begin their season with a home game against the New England Patriots, while the Lions will kickoff their regular season with a home game against the Minnesota Vikings.

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