We took a close look at Thursday’s NFL preseason slate earlier this week, largely to assist any of our readers that planned on conducting any NFL betting or playing in any daily fantasy football preseason leagues. With tonight’s action upon us, we thought we’d now simply ignite the excitement in every pro football fan by pointing out the numerous reasons to simply watch the games – regardless of personal attachment or bias.
Yes, watching meaningless NFL games can still be fun even if you’re not betting on them or playing fantasy football. And we can prove it! Well, at least in our opinion we’ve got some interesting things that should garner your attention during Thursday’s slate.
Whether you just like football, your favorite team is playing or you’re studying for your upcoming fantasy league draft, there’s plenty to draw you in tonight. Let’s take a look at the top-10 reasons for you to tune into Thursday’s NFL preseason action:
Jimmy G Starts
Easily the top story-line going into Thursday’s NFL preseason games is Jimmy Garoppolo preparing to start the first four games of the 2016 season for the New England Patriots. Tom Brady won’t play in this game, either, so we’ll get a huge dose of Garoppolo, as the Pats try to figure out what they’ve got under center in real game situations.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 11, 2016
Garoppolo’s playing time could actually go either way, as a strong start could have the Patriots get him out on a high note. That being said, he’s likely to play about a quarter, and possibly even the entire first half. Garoppolo has a brutal week one matchup with the Arizona Cardinals, so he’ll need all the practice he can get to be ready. Unfortunately, he’ll be without his top two weapons tonight, as both Rob Gronkowski and Julian Edelman will sit this one out.
Carson Wentz Debut
Wentz’s NFL debut probably ranks second on the list of must-see elements for Thursday’s preseason slate. Sam Bradford and Chase Daniel will play the first and second quarters to start the night, but all eyes will be on the #2 overall pick of the 2016 NFL Draft when Wentz plays the entire second half against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 9, 2016
It’s true that Wentz will be working against scrub defenders for his first NFL snaps, but that could actually tell us a lot about his development. If he balls out, fans will be screaming for him to climb up the depth chart, but if he struggles the Eagles could be validated for bringing him along slowly. Overall, the hope is Wentz comes out and moves the offense and maybe even entertains with an exciting run or deep pass.
Paxton Lynch Debut
Wentz isn’t the only rookie quarterback under the bright lights tonight, as Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch will also be playing a ton. Mark Sanchez figures to start the game against the Chicago Bears, but it will be all Lynch after the break, as the rook is slated to take the field for the entire second half.
Broncos will start Mark Sanchez in preseason opener with Trevor Siemian scheduled to play 2nd quarter and Paxton Lynch 2nd half.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) August 9, 2016
It’s tough to know what Denver has in Lynch just yet, but we should get a pretty good idea of what he brings to the table as he faces Chicago’s spare defenders for the final two quarters tonight.
Quarterback battles in general could be worth watching throughout the preseason, and that could be the case for teams that aren’t even actively holding a competition. Denver seems to be, so all eyes will be on Mark Sanchez and Trevor Siemian tonight, while a good performance by Paxton Lynch could even potentially get his name thrown in the hat.
The Eagles aren’t expected to be entertaining a quarterback competition either, but the play of Sam Bradford, Chase Daniel and the aforementioned Wentz could certainly change that tonight, depending on what goes down.
Elsewhere, the Jets still need to figure out which quarterback they’re cutting loose ahead of the 2016 NFL season. With Ryan Fitzpatrick locked in as the team’s starter, it’s an open competition between Geno Smith, Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg.
Mike Glennon Showcase
While some guys are playing for a specific role or to make a final roster, Mike Glennon may be playing to get traded. Mike Glennon has constantly been a hot name in trade rumors pretty much ever since he was drafted and the Bucs have no plans of starting him ever with Jameis Winston in town.
The team is also said to be high on third string passer Ryan Griffin, so if Glennon plays well and can drum up trade interest, he could quickly find himself on the move.
Return of KB
Kelvin Benjamin was dangerous as a rookie and was looking to break out in 2015, but ended up having his second NFL season derailed by a torn ACL. He returns this week and although we shouldn’t see much of him, Panthers fans will get excited to see their star wide receiver back in uniform.
Austin Seferian-Jenkins was once a highly touted tight end prospect and certainly flashed upside in 2015, but has quickly fallen out of Tampa Bay’s good graces due to a poor attitude and shaky work ethic. The early word has been the Bucs favor Cameron Brate’s dedication and consistency, and they may be trying to light a fire under the talented third-year tight end.
It’s anyone’s guess if it will work, but ASJ has the size and athleticism to be special. It will be interesting to see how much the Bucs play him tonight and if he responds with a strong performance.
Kevin White’s Debut
Kevin White joins a growing list of highly anticipated NFL debuts, and he’s truly one of the better ones to look out for. A first round draft choice a year ago, White missed his entire rookie season due to a leg injury and will finally hit the field for the Bears tonight.
White probably won’t play much, but he’s supremely explosive and it will be interesting to see if he can put up a big play or two before exiting tonight.
Dante Fowler Hits the Field
Fowler is another big name that will make his pro debut, as he also missed his entire rookie season last year due to injury. Jacksonville can’t wait to see what the explosive Fowler can bring to their defense on the edge, and seeing how he fares in his debut could go a long way in deciding where he fits in their system.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) August 6, 2016
We probably can’t expect to see Fowler stay in the game too long, but if he registers a sack or a big play, you can bet Jaguars fans will go nuts.
Football is Back!
Oh, you needed more? Sorry, the generic (yet best) reason of pro football being back on TV caps out top-10 list, and why shouldn’t it? These games mean nothing and we can’t expect to see much of the biggest names, but we do get to see hard-hitting football and hopefully some exciting plays.
While the NFL preseason doesn’t touch the regular season, Thursday symbolizes the unofficial start of the new season. We’ll see star players, guys fighting for a specific role and others merely battling to make the final roster. It’s an exciting time of the sports year and we wouldn’t miss it for anything.
Enjoy the games tonight and if you’re betting or playing preseason DFS, good luck!