As indicated in an NFL.com Aug. 8 report, record-breaking (TV and live streaming) viewing numbers are expected tonight when the Cleveland Browns take on the Detroit Lions in an NFL preseason game from Ford Field in The Motor City. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time (6:30 p.m. CT/5:30 p.m. MT/4:30 p.m. PT) on NFL Network (TV schedule) and NFL Online live stream page.
For those who live under a rock, the buzz surrounding this meaningless football game is for the much-anticipated debut of controversial quarterback Johnny Manziel. Ready for his NFL preseason debut, the former Heisman Trophy winner is in the midst of a positional battle with Brian Hoyer, Connor Shaw and Tyler Thigpen.
In an Aug. 9 Cleveland.com report, the author describes how “Johnny Football” has narrowed the gap between himself and Hoyer, the projected first-string quarterback for first-year head coach Mike Pettine. Nevertheless, all indications are that Hoyer will get the nod against the Lions, while the former Texas A&M standout will work “exclusively” with the second-team offense.
What to look out for when the 22nd overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft makes his pro-football preseason debut this evening? By far the biggest question mark is how Manziel’s scrambling abilities will hold up against the speed and power of NFL defenders.
“You get tired fast,” said Browns linebacker Jabaal Sheard Sheard when asked how it felt to chase No.2 around during practices. “I can remember in the scrimmage having him out there on the edge a couple times. After about six plays, I was done. I was done chasing him. I had nothing left in the tank. That’s where he thrives. He’s an outside-the-pocket guy. He’s going to run around and create plays.”
With so much attention around this matchup, it’s certainly worth noting that NFL oddsmakers at ESPN.com have the visitors as the team to beat. The latest NFL point spreads have the Cleveland Browns [-2] favored by a safety, the Detroit Lions with a +2-point cushion, and the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 40½ points.
NFL fans around the world will be glued to their TVs and computers this evening hoping to get a glimpse of Manziel’s NFL potential. TV viewers can tune to NFL Network (DirecTV 212) beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET to see if the hype is real, in addition, online users can click on the link provided above to watch the NFL Online live stream at the aforementioned TV start time.