The above video is from a 2009 game when Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was "mic'd up" against the Cleveland Browns. Enjoy.

The Detroit Lions open their preseason schedule Friday against the Cleveland Browns at Ford Field in Detroit.

Now, we all know about the preseason; it doesn't mean much. Remember the Lions' 4-0 preseason prior to posting a 0-16 record? It means nothing. But, for NFL fans, it's a good way to see how players look after an offseason that seems to go on forever.

Who to watch...

The superstars probably won't play much. However, there are a few worth watching on both teams. The obvious Lions to watch are quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson. Stafford threw for 5,038 yards and 41 touchdowns this past season. Johnson caught 16 touchdowns and raked in a league-leading 1,681 yards.

On defense, Ndamukong Suh and Cliff AVril are players to glue your eyes to.

The Browns will start Brandon Weeden, a 28-year-old rookie out of Oklahoma State. He got a late start in his football career due to baseball. He was drafted in 2002, but ultimately chose the pigskin over the baseball. He has an above-average arm and is a real pro-style quarterback. He's definitely worth being followed by NFL fans -- no matter their allegiance. His journey to the league and his age, if anything, make for quite an interesting tale.

Cleveland's top pick of the 2012 draft, former Alabama star Trent Richardson, will likely be out Friday due to a knee injury. He hasn't been scratched yet, but the Browns could side with caution and keep their franchise running back to-be off the field.

The scoop...

The Lions posted a 10-6 record in 2011 and made the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Many NFL experts have tabbed the Lions as an up-and-coming team with an exciting offense and budding defense. Those experts are right.

Detroit has a quarterback-receiver combination in Stafford and Johnson that could end up being one of the most dazzling the league has to offer.

The Browns posted a 4-12 record in 2011 and trail Detroit 2-1 since 2001. Cleveland is going through a transition with new ownership. Cleveland fans have been through a lot the past handful of years, but the excitement surrounding Richardson and Weeden have given them at least a little to look forward to.

Cleveland also added -- via the 2012 draft -- former California star tackle Mitchell Schwartz, who is expected to complement Joe Thomas on the offensive line.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are the favorites to win the AFC North, while the Green Bay Packers are expected to win the NFC North. However, the Lions could sneak in and challenge Green Bay. Don't rule out a wild finish between the Steelers and Browns in the AFC North, either.

Friday's preseason game, with or without standout starters, should be a glimpse at two teams on the upswing.

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