NFL Preseason 2013: Highlighting Best Matchups in Week 2 and Beyond

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistAugust 16, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - AUGUST 08:  Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos in action during their preseason NFL game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park on August 8, 2013 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The 2013 NFL preseason has been one of the most memorable to date in what is typically a pretty dull period as teams attempt to sift through upwards of 90 players and mold together a final roster by preseason's end. 

That search has been happening while the backups play, but the starters have been giving us plenty to get excited about as well. 

For example, here's Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson embarrassing a rookie:


If that does not tickle your fancy, how about Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy breaking a grown man's ankles?

If that didn't do it, nothing will, but as you can see, the preseason is plenty entertaining.

A week and change of the preseason is already in the books, but here are a few upcoming matchups you need to be keeping an eye on in the coming weeks.


Week 2: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington Redskins 

Were this the regular season, this would be a can't-miss game as both Washington and Pittsburgh figure to have good chances at making the postseason. 

Despite the fact that it's the preseason, this is still a game to watch. No, Robert Griffin III is not going to be playing, but his backup Kirk Cousins continues to play at a high level and is worth the price of admission. 

Last week Cousins attempted seven passes, completed six for 52 yards, a score and a quarterback rating of 137.2. His favorite target was tight end Fred Davis, fresh off an Achilles tear. 

For the Steelers, rookie Le'Veon Bell is the main player to watch. Pittsburgh needs him to step up at running back and be productive, but so far he's had bad luck with injuries. As NFL Network's Ian Rapoport points out, Bell suffered a minor injury in practice leading up to the game against Washington:

Bell sounds fine and is a name to watch, as is rookie linebacker Jarvis Jones, who figures to play an important role next year as a pass-rusher. With no speed quarterback to chase down like RGIII, Jones should see plenty of action. 


Week 3: St. Louis Rams vs. Denver Broncos 

Many will point to the impending showdown between the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers in Week 3 as a serious matchup to watch, but a more telling encounter will be happening out west between the Rams and Broncos. 

Behind the arm of Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos figure to be a Super Bowl contender, especially with the addition of former New England receiver Wes Welker and rookie running back Montee Ball

St. Louis quietly has a case for being one of the better teams in the NFL after going 4-1-1 in the ultra-competitive NFC West a year ago and having added the best receiver in the draft in Tavon Austin

Not only that, Manning and his elite crop of receivers including Eric Decker and Demaryius Thomas have a serious test in the form of an elite secondary that head coach Jeff Fisher has put together in St. Louis. 

The combo at corner of Cortland Finnegan and Janoris Jenkins slowly emerged as one of the better duos last year and should only get better as Jenkins develops.

Add in the stellar play of rookie T.J. McDonald so far and you have a showdown of epic proportions in the week of the preseason that traditionally sees starters playing the most action they'll see before the season. 


Week 4: Cleveland Browns vs. Chicago Bears 

Time for a darkhorse pick. There isn't a better matchup to watch than when the Browns visit the Bears if you want to see some of the stars of the future on full display. 

In Cleveland, with a new offense under Norv Turner, tight end Jordan Cameron is the next big thing. Week 2 of preseason action saw him catch three passes for 42 yards and two touchdowns in limited action. 

Cameron was great, but Brandon Weeden once again stole the show as he heads into his second year. He'll have a serious test against a secondary that includes elite players like Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman. 

Oh, speaking of future stars, you get to watch a guy named Trent Richardson.

On the flip side there is one special player to truly focus on for Chicago. Now that Bears legend Brian Urlacher has moved on, someone has to step up and take his place. 

That man appears to be rookie Jon Bostic. Through two preseason games he has tallied only four total tackles, but also has an interception return for a touchdown and one very, very nasty hit against a defender:

Bostic is the future in Chicago and his team is taking on another on-the-rise squad in the final week of the preseason. 

Don't miss it. 


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