Although the games don't count, NFL fans are excited to see their teams back in action for the 2016 preseason.
Not everyone loves this time of year, especially the veterans who don't need the extra grind on their bodies. However, the exhibitions games are beneficial for young players who need extra reps as well as the men who are trying to earn the final few spots on rosters.
Of course, fans are just happy to see any sort of football after going six months without it.
There is still another month until the regular season begins, but here is a look at what you need to know as the preseason gets started.
|Full NFL Preseason Schedule|
|Date||Matchup||Time (ET)||National TV|
|Hall of Fame Game|
|8/7||Packers vs. Colts||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|8/11||Buccaneers vs. Eagles||7 p.m.|
|8/11||Redskins vs. Falcons||7 p.m.|
|8/11||Panthers vs. Ravens||7:30 p.m.|
|8/11||Jaguars vs. Jets||7:30 p.m.|
|8/11||Saints vs. Patriots||7:30 p.m.|
|8/11||Broncos vs. Bears||8 p.m.|
|8/12||Dolphins vs. Giants||7 p.m.|
|8/12||Lions vs. Steelers||7 p.m.|
|8/12||Vikings vs. Bengals||7:30 p.m.|
|8/12||Browns vs. Packers||8 p.m.|
|8/12||Raiders vs. Cardinals||10 p.m.|
|8/13||Seahawks vs. Chiefs||4:30 p.m.|
|8/13||Colts vs. Bills||7 p.m.|
|8/13||Cowboys vs. Rams||8 p.m.||ESPN|
|8/13||Chargers vs. Titans||8 p.m.|
|8/14||Texas vs. 49ers||7 p.m.|
|8/18||Eagles vs. Steelers||7 p.m.|
|8/18||Bengals vs. Lions||7:30 p.m.|
|8/18||Bears vs. Patriots||8 p.m.|
|8/18||Falcons vs. Browns||8 p.m.|
|8/18||Raiders vs. Packers||8 p.m.|
|8/18||Vikings vs. Seahawks||10 p.m.|
|8/19||Jets vs. Redskins||7:30 p.m.|
|8/19||Dolphins vs. Cowboys||8 p.m.|
|8/19||Cardinals vs. Chargers||9 p.m.|
|8/20||Panthers vs. Titans||3 p.m.|
|8/20||Giants vs. Bills||4 p.m.|
|8/20||Ravens vs. Colts||7 p.m.|
|8/20||Buccaneers vs. Jaguars||7:30 p.m.|
|8/20||Saints vs. Texans||8 p.m.|
|8/20||49ers vs. Broncos||9 p.m.|
|8/20||Chiefs vs. Rams||9 p.m.|
|8/25||Falcons vs. Dolphins||8 p.m.||NBC|
|8/25||Cowboys vs. Seahawks||10 p.m.|
|8/26||Patriots vs. Panthers||7:30 p.m.|
|8/26||Bills vs. Redskins||7:30 p.m.|
|8/26||Browns vs. Buccaneers||8 p.m.||CBS|
|8/26||Steelers vs. Saints||8 p.m.|
|8/26||Packers vs. 49ers||10 p.m.|
|8/27||Chiefs vs. Bears||1 p.m.|
|8/27||Lions vs. Ravens||7 p.m.|
|8/27||Eagles vs. Colts||7 p.m.|
|8/27||Giants vs. Jets||7:30 p.m.|
|8/27||Titans vs. Raiders||8 p.m.||CBS|
|8/27||Rams vs. Broncos||9 p.m.|
|8/28||Chargers vs. Vikings||1 p.m.||Fox|
|8/28||Cardinals vs. Texans||4 p.m.||Fox|
|8/28||Bengals vs. Jaguars||8 p.m.||NBC|
|9/1||Jaguars vs. Falcons||7 p.m.|
|9/1||Patriots vs. Giants||7 p.m.|
|9/1||Jets vs. Eagles||7 p.m.|
|9/1||Titans vs. Dolphins||7 p.m.|
|9/1||Colts vs. Bengals||7:30 p.m.|
|9/1||Steelers vs. Panthers||7:30 p.m.|
|9/1||Redskins vs. Buccaneers||7:30 p.m.|
|9/1||Bills vs. Lions||7:30 p.m.|
|9/1||Rams vs. Vikings||8 p.m.|
|9/1||Texans vs. Cowboys||8 p.m.|
|9/1||Packers vs. Chiefs||8 p.m.|
|9/1||Ravens vs. Saints||8 p.m.|
|9/1||Bears vs. Browns||8 p.m.|
|9/1||Broncos vs. Cardinals||9:30 p.m.|
|9/1||49ers vs. Chargers||10 p.m.|
|9/1||Seahawks vs. Raiders||10 p.m.|
Top Games to Watch
Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts
When: Sunday at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
The Hall of Fame Game means one thing: The NFL is back.
It's true that the game's biggest stars will get limited playing time, as they'll likely go out after one or two series, but an added bonus for this matchup is the opportunity for fans to cheer for their teams as well as the induction of some of the biggest stars over the past 20 years.
Brett Favre is arguably the biggest name in the 2016 Hall of Fame class, and while he had a rough breakup with the Packers, everyone knows the accomplishments he had while in Green Bay. A lot more Cheeseheads will cheer him on during his speech than Minnesota Vikings or New York Jets fans.
Meanwhile, the Colts will see Tony Dungy and Marvin Harrison earn their places in Canton; both men were instrumental in the team's last Super Bowl win in 2007.
As for the game, it will just be nice to see some players hit one another again.
Dallas Cowboys vs. Los Angeles Rams
When: Saturday, Aug. 13, at 8 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Tickets: Available at ScoreBig.com
The veterans don't often make extended appearances in the first week of the preseason, but it will be interesting to see what the rookies can do in their first appearances at the NFL level.
With that in mind, a lot of eyes will be on this matchup as No. 1 overall pick Jared Goff makes his debut for the brand-new Los Angeles Rams. The former Cal star is battling Case Keenum for the starting quarterback spot, although he knows it isn't always in his control, per NFL Media:
Still, he added this interesting nugget on his career:
If he is going to earn the starting job in Week 1, he'll need to have a strong performance in the preseason, beginning with this game.
On the other side of the ball will be another Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate in Ezekiel Elliott. The versatile running back from Ohio State was the No. 4 overall pick in the draft and will have a chance to run behind one of the best offensive lines in the NFL.
David Helman of the official Cowboys website reported a hamstring tweak for the rookie, but hopefully Elliott will return to the field before too long.
While there are plenty of other stars worth watching, such as Dallas' Dez Bryant and L.A.'s Aaron Donald, the focus will be on the rookies if they are in the lineup.
New England Patriots vs. Carolina Panthers
When: Friday, Aug. 26, at 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: NFL Game Pass (subscription required)
Tickets: Available at ScoreBig.com
Week 3 of the preseason is usually considered the most important. Teams treat it as a dress rehearsal for the regular season, with starters on both sides of the ball often playing three full quarters before resting up for Week 1.
If this is the case for the New England Patriots, we should expect a lot of Jimmy Garoppolo. The third-year quarterback has barely played to this point in his career, but he will now have to fill in for Tom Brady as he serves his four-week suspension.
As Doug Kyed of NESN explained, the early returns have been good:
Still, this will probably be the first major test of the young quarterback's career. He will have to play the majority of the game against one of the toughest defenses in football in the Carolina Panthers. It's one thing to show promise, but it's another to produce against quality NFL opponents.
Meanwhile, Carolina will try to flex its muscle as one of the top contenders for the Super Bowl. Even if Brady doesn't play, a strong showing by the Panthers would send a message to the rest of the league.
Of all the legitimate battles in the preseason, this might be the most intriguing.
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