Nobody takes the NFL preseason too seriously but it still can offer some interesting drama in the right places. Where can fans find them?
San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens
The first reunion of the Harbaugh brothers since their epic Super Bowl showdown back in January of 2013. The San Francisco 49ers would certainly love to put the Baltimore Ravens in the losing mindset, preseason or otherwise. They’ll also want to get the taste of their NFC championship loss out of their mouths as soon as possible. Meanwhile the Ravens need to see if their additions on offense can withstand the hard-hitting Niners defense even in minimal action.
Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos
Their real rematch won’t take place until the regular season but even if it’s for a series or two it will feel like a playoff atmosphere for the Denver Broncos when they get a chance to see the Seattle Seahawks come to town. Russell Wilson will have to contend with a host of new faces on that Denver defense including facing Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward in their secondary without favorite receiver Golden Tate. Peyton Manning will have a new toy to attack that vaunted Seahawks secondary with as well in Emmanuel Sanders. This game could offer a taste of what’s to come when the real bullets start flying.
Philadelphia Eagles at New England Patriots
Who doesn’t want to see this game? Chip Kelly, the offensive wizard of the Philadelphia Eagles going against the defensive mastermind Bill Belichick and his New England Patriots. The Eagles passing attack goes against a Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner bolstered Patriots secondary while New England waits to see if Vince Wilfork can have an impact against that dynamic Philly rushing attack led by LeSean McCoy. A lot of questions to be answered in this meeting, even if it’s just for one quarter of the NFL preseason.
Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins
This game is going to feature some interesting subplots. The Cleveland Browns are likely going to have a new quarterback under center in this game receiving play calls from offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, the same man who was dismissed at the end of last season by the Washington Redskins. On the flip side, new Redskins head coach Jay Gruden begins his serious work with Robert Griffin III against a team he saw twice a year during his time in Cincinnati. New offenses and quarterback watching will highlight this game.
Chicago Bears at Seattle Seahawks
The third week is widely considered the dress rehearsal before the regular season. That means teams take it seriously like a real game. So this is rather important for the Chicago Bears. Many consider them on the upswing to championship contender thanks to some savvy free agent moves to bolster their ailing defense. What better way to test their progress than against the defending champion Seattle Seahawks in their house? A win or loss won’t so much matter as whether the Bears can hold their own. If they do, it might tell a lot about the season to come. Yet who doesn’t want to see that epic matchup between Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery and Richard Sherman and Byron Maxwell?
Cincinnati Bengals at Arizona Cardinals
The last time Carson Palmer got a shot at his old Cincinnati Bengals team he was handcuffed by playing for a bad Oakland club at the time. Now he has a much better roster around him with the Arizona Cardinals, a team with high expectations. Putting together a strong performance would not only be sweet for Palmer, but also send a message that the Cardinals are playoff caliber and ready to make a run. Meanwhile, Andy Dalton will contend with a solid Cardinals defense in a year that is sure to test the patience of not only his coaches but the Bengal fans as well.
Carolina Panthers at Pittsburgh Steelers
Yes, I know it’s week 4 and that is by far the most meaningless game of the football season but every so often there is an intriguing scenario that pops up. The Carolina Panthers visiting the Pittsburgh Steelers presents an interesting one. Something that is clear about both these teams is they are expected to invest heavily in certain areas of their roster. Carolina should target the wide receiver position while Pittsburgh will be seeking cornerbacks. This game should be a great chance for both clubs to measure those young players against each other and should give fans an idea of what to expect beyond the NFL preseason.
Tags: Arizona Cardinals Baltimore Ravens Carolina Panthers Chicago Bears Cincinnati Bengals Cleveland Browns Denver Broncos New England Patriots NFL Preseason Philadelphia Eagles Pittsburgh Steelers San Francisco 49ers Seattle Seahawks Washington Redskins