Ah, the NFL preseason—a time when non-playoff teams stage quarterback battles, rookies and fringe veterans attempt to make a mark and earn a spot on the roster, a few stars always seem to go down with injury and fans pay obscene ticket prices to watch meaningless games.
It's a strange time of year.
But that doesn't mean it isn't worth watching. Let's be honest—we're all football junkies, and the preseason fix helps alleviate our offseason shakes. We love the roster battles, the small nuggets of insight we use to build our fantasy football draft strategy and the simple pleasure of watching football again.
So, with that in mind, I've highlighted three games you should make an effort to watch before the real football begins. It may just be the preseason, but there are still plenty of reasons to check these games out.
Seattle Seahawks at Green Bay Packers, August 23
It may only be the preseason, but c'mon—aren't you excited to see a rematch of the Fail Mary game?
Last year's terrible decision during the brutal replacement referee debacle ultimately cost the Packers a bye week in the playoffs, as the team finished 11-5, a half-game behind the San Francisco 49ers (11-4-1). And if you don't think a few Packers will be looking forward to laying the wood on wide receiver Golden Tate, you've got another thing coming.
Throw in the fact that these two teams are legitimate Super Bowl contenders—and the game will be televised nationally on CBS—and you have a preseason game that for a quarter or two may have the feel of a midseason clash.
Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers, August 25
Generally speaking, the third week of the preseason slate is most worth watching. Teams play their starters the longest, sometimes up to a half. Much of the early-camp rust has cleared, and the season is just around the corner.
So with the juicy matchup between the Vikings and 49ers on August 25—televised nationally on ESPN, to boot—you'll have at least a half of quality football to enjoy.
Adrian Peterson will likely get his preseason debut against the nasty 49ers defense. Colin Kaepernick scrambling about and making plays. Two playoff teams each with aspirations to reach the Super Bowl this season. New additions like Greg Jennings on the Vikings and Anquan Boldin on the Niners.
This one should be fun, folks, so don't miss it. Well, at least don't miss the first half.
Philadelphia Eagles at New York Jets, August 29
There are just so many storylines worth monitoring.
Have you seen Chip Kelly's uber-fast option offense yet? Who will win the Eagles starting quarterback job, Michael Vick or Nick Foles?
And don't even get me started on the Jets. Will Mark Sanchez or Geno Smith ultimately win the quarterback gig? Will Rex Ryan at some point spontaneously combust? Will the New York media be the reason? Can a once-proud defense return to prominence?
Oh, and let's not forget about Sanchez's gnarly new look.
For two teams very unlikely to reach the playoffs, this preseason game seems plenty intriguing.
Remaining Preseason Schedule
|Sunday, August 18||TIME (ET)||TV|
|Indianapolis at NY Giants||7 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Monday, August 19||TIME (ET)||TV|
|Pittsburgh at Washington||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thursday, August 22||TIME (ET)||TV|
|New England at Detroit||7:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Carolina at Baltimore||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|Friday, August 23||TIME (ET)||TV|
|Seattle at Green Bay||8 p.m.||CBS|
|Chicago at Oakland||10 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Saturday, August 24||TIME (ET)||TV|
|Philadelphia at Jacksonville||7:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Buffalo at Washington||4:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Cleveland at Indianapolis||7 p.m.||Check local listings|
|NY Jets at NY Giants||7 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Kansas City at Pittsburgh||7 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Tampa Bay at Miami||7:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Cincinnati at Dallas||8 p.m.||Check local listings|
|St. Louis at Denver||8 p.m.||CBS|
|Atlanta at Tennessee||8 p.m.||Check local listings|
|San Diego at Arizona||10 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Sunday, August 25||TIME (ET)||TV|
|New Orleans at Houston||4 p.m.||FOX|
|Minnesota at San Francisco||8 p.m.||NBC|
|Thursday, August 29||TIME (ET)||TV|
|Philadelphia at NY Jets||7 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Detroit at Buffalo||7 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Indianapolis at Cincinnati||7 p.m.||Check local listings|
|New Orleans at Miami||7:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Jacksonville at Atlanta||7:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|NY Giants at New England||7:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Washington at Tampa Bay||7:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Pittsburgh at Carolina||7:30 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Cleveland at Chicago||8 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Houston at Dallas||8 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Green Bay at Kansas City||8 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Baltimore at St. Louis||8 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Tennessee at Minnesota||8 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Arizona at Denver||9 p.m.||Check local listings|
|San Francisco at San Diego||10 p.m.||Check local listings|
|Oakland at Seattle||10 p.m.||Check local listings|