1) Division leads are at stake.
The Bills sit atop the AFC East at 2-2 and the Lions sit atop the NFC North at 3-1. This game will decide who gets to stay on top of their division. Doesn't sound like they'll need much more motivation than that, because staying on top of a wide-open AFC East is certainly something to cheer about.
2)The game will be played for a bit of defensive pride.
It'll be the clash of two great defenses when the Bills and Lions meet at Ford Field with arguably the best d-lines in the league. Both defenses rank in the top 10 in over six different categories.
"We're up for the challenge," said CB Stephon Gilmore.
"As long as we get our hands on them and match our power with their power, I think we'll be successful," said OT Seantrel Henderson.
Who is the better defense? In our humble and very biased opinion, the Bills have the tougher defense, of course, but we'll let Sunday's play make the more objective decision.
3) It's the debut of Orton.
Behind that signature mustache is a quarterback who is confident that in his first game as a start for the Bills, he can lead the team to victory.
"I've felt comfortable for the last two or three weeks," said Kyle Orton on his knowledge of the Bills playbook. "The coaches have done a good job. (Quarterbacks coach) Todd Downing has done a great job with me over the four or five weeks that I've been here. I feel comfortable with everything."
Though they haven't yet caught passes from the veteran quarterback in a game, Bills receivers responded well to the shift in signal callers this week.
"He's more of a veteran guy and the way he talked and the way he handled business and the way he looks at plays and breaks down defenses is kind of different," Watkins said. "He's reading it quicker and the ball is coming out faster and those are some things that we have to adjust to."
Head coach Doug Marrone is pleased, and he said he expects Orton and his teammates to "play football well enough for us to win" on Sunday.
Bills fans will be anxiously awaiting the chance to see what Orton and the Bills offense can do.
4) Jim Schwartz headlines a few Bills coaches heading back in the Motor City.
The Bills defensive coordinator will return to Detroit and Ford Field to face a team he knew well as head coach for five years. But Schwartz downplayed the emotion and advantage of his return this Sunday.
"It's about the same as any week," said Schwartz. "I've been a visitor there before (as the Tennessee Titans defensive coordinator), so I know where the visitor's locker room is in addition to the home locker room.
"It is an important game for us. It's a road game and we're coming off of a two-game skid and we need to be able to get it back. Whether it's the Lions, whether it's any other team, everybody has connections in this league. Every coach has coached somewhere else. It doesn't play into the game."
Also entering familiar but now enemy territory are special teams coordinator Danny Crossman, who headed up the Lions special teams units for three seasons until 2012, and quarterbacks coach Todd Downing who worked with Lions QB Matt Stafford as the quarterbacks coach in Detroit from his rookie season in 2009 until last season.
5) There will be a strong Bills presence in the crowd.
Fans submitted photos wearing Bills gear on this Bills Friday!
It might be separated by another country, but Detroit is a stone's throw away from Ralph Wilson Stadium. It'll be loud inside the domed Ford Field, but with enough Bills fans making the trip, it should feel a little more like home than the usual away game.
6) A high school rivalry will come into play in shutting down Megatron.
Leodis McKelvin is just one of the Buffalo corners looking to shut down the seemingly-unstoppable Calvin Johnson, but for him, it's personal. When Johnson was making a name for himself at Sandy Creek High School in Tyrone, Georgia, McKelvin was doing the same downstate at Ware County High School in Waycross, Georgia. They competed in high school and will have a chance to play for the pride of Georgia again this week.
7) It's a meeting of two storied organizations.
Bills founding owner Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. and the late Lions owner William Clay Ford were close friends and colleagues, during their lifetimes developing rich histories in Detroit-area business and the National Football League. The two moguls passed away in March just 16 days apart, and Ford's funeral was one of Wilson's last public appearances. Their franchises are storied and interconnected in many ways, and when they share Ford Field on Sunday, it will serve as a reminder of their longtime owners' legacies.