As fans, we tend to forget just how important preseason games are to the players on the field.
One preseason game can be the difference between making the team and starting a successful NFL career, or getting cut and sent home to look for other work.
Fortunately, us fans don't have to deal with that reality, so preseason football gets a bit boring at times for some of us.
The second set of preseason games is full of action, as we get to see some of the best matchups before the regular season. Here you can find the three games that you simply cannot miss.
The New York Giants sent the New York Jets into a tailspin last season by beating Rex Ryan's boys on Christmas Eve in a battle for New York.
Tom Coughlin's squad won the Super Bowl over the New England Patriots, but it is the Jets who have grabbed all the offseason headlines thanks to the perceived quarterback battle between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow, among other things.
The Jets are to the Giants what the Mets are to the Yankees—the little brother. They never have much on-field success, but they always get their fans too hyped up for the upcoming season, resulting in a colossal letdown for all parties involved.
Either way, it will be nice if Tebow gets some reps against the Giants' first-team defense and that ferocious defensive line.
This will be Andrew Luck's first real test of the regular season, as the No. 1 overall pick leads the Indianapolis Colts into Heinz Field against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Luck's career couldn't have gotten off to a better start last week, when he threw a check-down pass to Donald Brown that went for a 63-yard touchdown. He followed up that catch-and-run by hitting Austin Collie for a 23-yard score in the second corner to put the Colts up by two touchdowns.
The only knock on Luck is that his team played the St. Louis Rams last week. This game against the Steelers will allow him to prove to the NFL that he can indeed compete against top-tier teams, as both sides will surely give their starters some extra time on the field.
In a week of football without a lot of high-profile matchups, this is one of the games that you have to tune in to.
Cam Newton, savior of the Carolina Panthers franchise and AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, probably won't get too many snaps in this one. He will definitely be out there for a little bit, though, and is going to have a fun time with the Miami Dolphins defense.
On the other side of the field is Ryan Tannehill. Just like Newton last year, he comes into his second preseason game not knowing whether he will begin the season as a starter. Hopefully, for Tannehill, his career will pan out like Newton's, and he will get the nod before Week 1.
Expectations are lofty, but Tannehill has the skills to live up to them. He'll get the chance to do so against a Panthers defense that is improved, but still not great.
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