NFL Preseason Schedule 2016: Dates, Ticket Info, Live Streams for Top Matchups

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 5, 2016

Jul 26, 2016; De Pere, WI, USA; Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) participate in a drill during training camp at Ray Nitschke Field. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports
Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

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
DateMatchupTime (ET)National TV
Hall of Fame Game
8/7Packers vs. Colts8 p.m.ESPN
Week 1
8/11Buccaneers vs. Eagles7 p.m.
8/11Redskins vs. Falcons7 p.m.
8/11Panthers vs. Ravens7:30 p.m.
8/11Jaguars vs. Jets7:30 p.m.
8/11Saints vs. Patriots7:30 p.m.
8/11Broncos vs. Bears8 p.m.
8/12Dolphins vs. Giants7 p.m.
8/12Lions vs. Steelers7 p.m.
8/12Vikings vs. Bengals7:30 p.m.
8/12Browns vs. Packers8 p.m.
8/12Raiders vs. Cardinals10 p.m.
8/13Seahawks vs. Chiefs4:30 p.m.
8/13Colts vs. Bills7 p.m.
8/13Cowboys vs. Rams8 p.m.ESPN
8/13Chargers vs. Titans8 p.m.
8/14Texas vs. 49ers7 p.m.
Week 2
8/18Eagles vs. Steelers7 p.m.
8/18Bengals vs. Lions7:30 p.m.
8/18Bears vs. Patriots8 p.m.
8/18Falcons vs. Browns8 p.m.
8/18Raiders vs. Packers8 p.m.
8/18Vikings vs. Seahawks10 p.m.
8/19Jets vs. Redskins7:30 p.m.
8/19Dolphins vs. Cowboys8 p.m.
8/19Cardinals vs. Chargers9 p.m.
8/20Panthers vs. Titans3 p.m.
8/20Giants vs. Bills4 p.m.
8/20Ravens vs. Colts7 p.m.
8/20Buccaneers vs. Jaguars7:30 p.m.
8/20Saints vs. Texans8 p.m.
8/2049ers vs. Broncos9 p.m.
8/20Chiefs vs. Rams9 p.m.
Week 3
8/25Falcons vs. Dolphins8 p.m.NBC
8/25Cowboys vs. Seahawks10 p.m.
8/26Patriots vs. Panthers7:30 p.m.
8/26Bills vs. Redskins7:30 p.m.
8/26Browns vs. Buccaneers8 p.m.CBS
8/26Steelers vs. Saints8 p.m.
8/26Packers vs. 49ers10 p.m.
8/27Chiefs vs. Bears1 p.m.
8/27Lions vs. Ravens7 p.m.
8/27Eagles vs. Colts7 p.m.
8/27Giants vs. Jets7:30 p.m.
8/27Titans vs. Raiders8 p.m.CBS
8/27Rams vs. Broncos9 p.m.
8/28Chargers vs. Vikings1 p.m.Fox
8/28Cardinals vs. Texans4 p.m.Fox
8/28Bengals vs. Jaguars8 p.m.NBC
Week 4
9/1Jaguars vs. Falcons7 p.m.
9/1Patriots vs. Giants7 p.m.
9/1Jets vs. Eagles7 p.m.
9/1Titans vs. Dolphins7 p.m.
9/1Colts vs. Bengals7:30 p.m.
9/1Steelers vs. Panthers7:30 p.m.
9/1Redskins vs. Buccaneers7:30 p.m.
9/1Bills vs. Lions7:30 p.m.
9/1Rams vs. Vikings8 p.m.
9/1Texans vs. Cowboys8 p.m.
9/1Packers vs. Chiefs8 p.m.
9/1Ravens vs. Saints8 p.m.
9/1Bears vs. Browns8 p.m.
9/1Broncos vs. Cardinals9:30 p.m.
9/149ers vs. Chargers10 p.m.
9/1Seahawks vs. Raiders10 p.m.
Source: NFL.com

Top Games to Watch

Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts

Jul 28, 2016; Anderson, IN, USA; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck (12) drops back to pass during the Indianapolis Colts NFL training camp at Anderson University. Mandatory Credit: Mykal McEldowney/Indy Star via USA TODAY NETWORK

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

Ryan Kang/Associated Press

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:

NFL Media @NFLMedia

"The competitor in my wants to play, but it's not my job to make that decision. That's what the coaches are paid for." -Goff

Still, he added this interesting nugget on his career:

NFL Media @NFLMedia

"I've never not started." -Goff ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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

Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

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:

Doug Kyed @DougKyed

We'll see how he fares in training camp and preseason, but Jimmy G definitely looked ready to start during OTAs and minicamp.

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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