NFL preseason 2018: Dates, times, schedule, storylines, how to watch every Week 2 game
From a Super Bowl rematch to a Jaguars-Vikings showdown, here's everything you need to know
Football is back, and now we're ready for more.
The NFL's 2018 preseason schedule kicked off Aug. 2 and hit full stride a few days later. And with September rolling closer along with the regular season, it's only a matter of time until the real games begin. Until then, we've got another full week of action on the docket. Between Super Bowl rematches and prime-time intra-conference showdowns, Week 2 of the 2018 preseason figures to be just as noteworthy as the first.
Here, we've got you covered with a glimpse at each and every matchup on tap:
How to watch
Note: Nationally televised games will be designated with an asterisk (*).
Preseason Week 2 games
Thursday, Aug. 16
Eagles at Patriots, 7:30 p.m. ET: Rematch! The Super Bowl LII foes will meet again, this time in Foxborough. As per usual, the preseason lineups won't be nearly as sexy as they were in February, but the Eagles are at least planning to get Nick Foles some snaps after he sat out the opener. Let's see how Philly's new nickel cornerback(s) handle the Pats' shifty receivers, too.
Steelers at Packers, 8 p.m. ET: A rematch of the 2010 Super Bowl, this has a good deal of juice if only because of the teams' history. Ben Roethlisberger wasn't likely to play anyway, but he'll definitely be sidelined now that he's overcoming a head injury. Still, Green Bay's backup quarterback spot is still something to watch with DeShone Kizer in the fold.
*Jets at Redskins, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN: The biggest story here might be whether Terrelle Pryor and D.J. Swearinger bring their training camp beef to the field. In all seriousness, all eyes will actually be on Alex Smith, who figures to make his Washington debut, and the QBs on the other sideline -- mostly Sam Darnold and Teddy Bridgewater, who are both looking good.
Friday, Aug. 17
Chiefs at Falcons, 7 p.m. ET: Preseason wins don't mean anything, but if you're a Falcons fan, you're probably using this matchup as a slight barometer on how prepared Atlanta really is. Because things were pretty sloppy in the opener vs. New York. In Kansas City, meanwhile, the focus probably remains on how Andy Reid's re-centralized offense can thrive behind Patrick Mahomes.
Giants at Lions, 7 p.m. ET: Saquon Barkley stole the show in the Giants' 2018 debut, and he'll be the man to watch (if he's healthy) against Detroit, which would've given up a 60-yard Marshawn Lynch touchdown in Week 1 if not for a Raiders penalty. The Lions as a whole are a question mark, but their own rookie runner, Kerryon Johnson, is worth a peek as well.
*Bills at Browns, 7:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network: The stars of "Hard Knocks," the Browns get Friday night's national spotlight against a team that's also in desperate search of revival in Buffalo. Record- and history-wise, this is a pretty uninspiring matchup, but it's also an example of what preseason's all about: Getting guys like Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield as many live snaps as possible.
Dolphins at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET: Adam Gase apparently has the Dolphins team he's always wanted (and that's even clearer now that he's axed a player who scuffled with Kenyan Drake at camp), but time will tell if the team is truly any good. The Panthers are still working to get the rhythm down with their wide receivers and cornerbacks -- a familiar story if you're from Carolina.
Cardinals at Saints, 8 p.m. ET: Sam Bradford and Larry Fitzgerald made their first connection in the Cardinals' preseason opener, and it was indicative of exactly the kind of offense Arizona figures to run with Sammy B -- short and sweet. This matchup is sneakily good, if only because it has the potential to preview a not-so-crazy NFC playoff possibility.
Saturday, Aug. 18
*Jaguars at Vikings, 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Jalen Ramsey just got done calling out half the QBs in the NFL, and Kirk Cousins was one of the few he respected. Cousins looked sharp in his Minnesota debut, too, so it'll be nice to go up against Jacksonville's secondary for a superior test. This game is also a rematch of one of the NFL's most recent trips to London.
*Raiders at Rams, 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Jon Gruden gets a prime afternoon slot for his West Coast showdown in Los Angeles, and this game plays host to two teams with absent but extraordinary defensive talents -- Khalil Mack for the Raiders and Aaron Donald for the Rams. In real life, expectations for both these clubs are probably even higher than they should be.
*Bengals at Cowboys, 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network: The battle of the bad boys. Cincinnati still needs to see more from John Ross out wide, and there's an argument to be made that the Bengals' No. 2 QB job, which currently belongs to Matt Barkley, could be up for grabs. Dallas, meanwhile, would probably love to get rookie Michael Gallup even more involved after his big preseason debut.
Buccaneers at Titans, 8 p.m. ET: It's hard to get excited about a Titans-Buccaneers game in 2018, and that's a problem considering these two teams went back to back with QBs at the top of the 2015 draft. Tennessee is better positioned for a run this year, but this game might mean for the Bucs, who will be without their man, Jameis Winston, to open the regular season.
49ers at Texans, 8 p.m. ET: All eyes are always on the quarterbacks, but this should be a prime test for each side's receiving corps and defensive backfield. DeAndre Hopkins and Jimmie Ward got testy at camp during joint practices, and the Richard Sherman-led Niners secondary could use a good challenge entering 2018. Ditto for other Texans WRs.
Bears at Broncos, 9:05 p.m. ET: After his team was routed by the Vikings in the preseason opener, Case Keenum will be looking for better results against a team in Chicago that might be a year away from serious contention. Interesting side story: Denver will likely play new linebacker A.J. Johnson, who was just acquitted of criminal charges in July and hasn't played in three years.
*Seahawks at Chargers, 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Gus Bradley will have a shot at his former team during this nighttime affair, and his passion -- defense -- should be on full display. On the flip side of the ball, Philip Rivers is set to make his preseason debut, so Seattle's first-team "D," an overhauled unit from a year ago, should get at least a little challenge early on.
Monday, Aug. 20
*Ravens at Colts, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN: The finale of Week 2, this Monday night clash will give Andrew Luck another opportunity to get on -- and stay on -- the field. It's also another obvious opportunity for the Ravens to see what they have behind Joe Flacco. Robert Griffin III and rookie Lamar Jackson should be in line for more work against Indianapolis' revamped defense.
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