These games matter.
The preseason is a weird time for NFL fans. So often, they are conditioned to believe that it is a non-event. However, after months of no actual football to watch, they're also hungry for any action on the field. For season ticket holders, it's worse because they are forced to purchase preseason tickets on top of their regular-season allotment. Then, the team trots out its fifth-stringers and doesn't even try to win the game!
Well, winning doesn't matter.
That's the weird contradiction of the preseason. The outcomes don't matter, but the games do. Ask players like Denver Broncos wide receiver Wes Welker or Houston Texans running back Arian Foster if the early games matter. Both will tell anyone who listens that the preseason is the only reason they're even on a football team.
However, too often, fans and media overreact to a poor showing in a preseason game without looking at the context. Remember, the 2008 Detroit Lions won every single exhibition game right before going 0-16 in the regular season.