Make no bones about it, Week 3 of the preseason is by far the most important for NFL starters.
Cemented veterans can establish a rhythm that will carry over to the regular season. For instance, on-the-cusp teams like the Atlanta Falcons will use the time to get Matt Ryan in sync with his bounty of weapons.
Fringe contributors can find themselves permanently in the mix or permanently seated on the bench based on their performance.
The reasoning is that the third game of the preseason is where the starting lineup plays the most to make their final preparations for meaningful games. You want to prove you belong on the field, then you need to show up against those that will be there on Week 1.
As always, the most important goal for a preseason game is to make it through unscathed. But for the following players, there is more to be obtained.