NFL Preseason Schedule 2016: Dates and Ticket Info for Week 3 Slate

Michelle Bruton@@michelle_nflFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2016

CHARLOTTE, NC - AUGUST 28:  Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers against the New England Patriots during their preseason NFL game at Bank of America Stadium on August 28, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The NFL preseason has passed its halfway point, meaning we're two weeks closer to the start of actual, meaningful football. 

But as far as preseason games go, Week 3's slate is the one to pay close attention to. This is the week of preseason action when head coaches will give meaningful snaps to starters and veterans, not just rookies and free agents hoping to survive final cuts. 

Because teams must trim rosters down from the offseason roster limit of 90 players to 75 players by 4 p.m. ET on Thursday, August 30, Week 3 is the final opportunity for some players to prove they deserve spots on the 53-man roster or, at the very least, the practice squad. 

You can find all the information on dates and times for Week 3 of the NFL preseason below. Then, we'll break down three games you should watch this week. 

NFL Preseason Week 3
DateGameTime (ET)
Thursday, Aug. 25Atlanta at Miami8 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 25Dallas at Seattle10 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 26New England at Carolina7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 26Buffalo at Washington7:30 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 26Pittsburgh at New Orleans8 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 26Cleveland at Tampa Bay8 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 26Green Bay at San Francisco10 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27Kansas City at Chicago1 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27Philadelphia at Indianapolis7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27Detroit at Baltimore7 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27New York Giants at New York Jets7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27Tennessee at Oakland8 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 27Los Angeles Rams at Denver9 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 28San Diego at Minnesota1 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 28Arizona at Houston4 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 28Cincinnati at Jacksonville8 p.m.
NFL.com

Games to Watch in Week 3

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Green Bay at San Francisco 

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers could see his first and possibly only preseason start on Friday against the San Francisco 49ers. 

During the first two weeks of the preseason, the veteran quarterback was working with the scout team. 

However, as Ryan Wood of the Green Bay Press-Gazette reported from training camp on Monday, Rodgers is taking first-team reps this week ahead of the matchup against San Francisco. 

The 49ers have been a thorn in the Packers' side over the last few seasons, knocking Green Bay out of the playoffs in both 2014 and 2013.

But San Francisco is in the midst of rebuilding. In Week 2 against the Denver Broncos, newly signed veteran signal-caller Christian Ponder impressed with a 22-yard touchdown run and a 30-yard touchdown pass. 

Meanwhile, the question surrounding the Packers is whether veteran wideout Jordy Nelson will play after being activated off the PUP list last week. Nelson missed the entire 2015 season with a torn ACL. 

New England at Carolina

James Kenney/Associated Press

In a matchup that feels like a preview of a potential Super Bowl matchup, the cream of the AFC and the NFC will square off in a matchup in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday. 

While New England quarterback Tom Brady isn't barred from participating in preseason action as part of the terms of his four-game suspension, the cut he suffered on his right thumb from a pair of scissors last week could keep him out of the action. 

Brady was excused from practice on Monday, but it's unclear if that was related to the thumb injury. When pressed, Patriots coach Bill Belichick told reporters that he does not "comment on personal situations," as Michael Giardi of CSNNE shared. 

But you can expect to see Cam Newton, who went 8-of-12 for 162 yards and a touchdown in the Panthers' most recent exhibition against the Tennessee Titans. 

Newton is newly reunited with top wideout Kelvin Benjamin, whose return should jump-start the Panthers offense in 2016. 

Dallas at Seattle

This NFC showdown could be a potential preview of the conference championship game in early 2017 if things go well for the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks this season.

Backup Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott has been making headlines this preseason with his impressive showings, but Week 3 will be starter Tony Romo's chance to shine.

Romo returned to the field in Week 2 of the preseason, when the Cowboys took on the Miami Dolphins, after missing much of the 2015 season with a fractured clavicle and needing surgery in March. 

This season, Romo will also benefit from the team's addition of running back Ezekiel Elliott in the draft. The Cowboys were at their most deadly when the offense was powered by a triumvirate of talent in Romo, wide receiver Dez Bryant and running back DeMarco Murray.

Elliott is still nursing a hamstring injury, but ESPN's Adam Schefter reported on Monday that Elliott looks ready to make his preseason debut on Thursday:

Elliott may not have had much time this offseason to work in the offense, but he'll benefit from a fantastic offensive line that helped Alfred Morris gain 85 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries against the Dolphins. The team has set up him for success as much as it could; now, it's on Elliott to impress once he's healthy. 

Tickets for all preseason games are available at ScoreBig.

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