Football is back and NFL fans should buckle up for a wild ride. With the Pro Football Hall of Fame game in the books as the Giants defeated the Bills, the other 30 NFL clubs our adding the finishing touches on preparation for their preseason openers. It all starts tonight and flows into this weekend with the remaining 30 teams preparing for their reality check, as the excitement builds towards the regular season.
“It definitely feels like game week to us,” says Coach Pete Carroll, whose team will face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos this week in a Super Bowl XLVIII rematch, well kind of. “It’s coming quick, Thursday night. It’s going to be fun.” It’s here!
The Minnesota Vikings have a new head coach in Mike Zimmer, one of the best running backs in the NFL in Adrian Peterson and a major personnel decision to make at the quarterback position. Will it be rookie Teddy Bridgewater or veteran Matt Cassel at the helm for the season opener?
“This is about us getting better and evaluating against other guys,” says coach Zimmer, who will make his debut as Minnesota Vikings head coach on Friday night against the Oakland Raiders. “I want us to go out and play solid fundamental football.”
The NFL has several nationally televised games slated for this weekend, starting tonight with the 49ers traveling to the Ravens, another Harbaugh Bowl set to kick off at 7:30 pm EST. The second game of a double header follows with the Cowboys vs. Chargers at 10:30 pm EST, both can be seen on NFL Network.
The Cowboys are limping into the preseason with massive amounts of injuries to key players. Defensive bell cow LB Sean Lee on injured reserve (knee), Anthony Spencer on (PUP) and a depleted secondary, should be an interesting match-up Jerry Jones Cowboys tonight.
Indianapolis at NY Jets 7:00 PM MetLife Stadium
New England at Washington 7:30 PM FedEx Field
San Francisco at Baltimore 7:30 PM M&T Bank Stadium
Cincinnati at Kansas City 8:00 PM Arrowhead Stadium
Seattle at Denver 9:00 PM Field at Mile High
Dallas at San Diego 10:00 PM Qualcomm Stadium
While the veteran players won’t get a lot of playing time, head coaches will work to play those players battling for a roster spot in as much situational football (red zone, 3rd down, goal line, 2 point conversion) as possible, in week one of the pre-season. For rookie Head Coach Jay Gruden this experience will be much different, wearing the big hat for the first time.
Tonight starts the question and answer decisions for NFL teams this preseason, helping form predictions for the upcoming football season.