Ready or not, here comes football.
The start of the 2018 NFL regular season is just two weeks away, so this week's slate of preseason action is as much an appetizer for the real games as it is one of the biggest chances for bubble players to solidify spots on teams' 53-man rosters. Most clubs view the third week of the preseason as the "dress rehearsal" before the start of September, and while countless starters will remain sidelined or limited so as to avoid injury, there's no denying that Week 3 offers perhaps the best preview of what's to come.
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 (*).
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Preseason Week 3 games
Thursday, Aug. 23
*Eagles at Browns, 8 p.m. ET, FOX: The stars of "Hard Knocks" will host the defending champions in what figures to be our longest look at reigning Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles this preseason. The Eagles will still look a lot different than they will in the Sept. 6 opener, but this should be a nice test for Hue Jackson's bunch, particularly rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield.
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Friday, Aug. 24
Patriots at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET: Carolina is already pretty banged up at some key positions, so we'll see how long the Panthers starters go in this one. But the same can be said for Patriots QB Tom Brady. The ageless all-star played an entire half in Week 2 vs. the Eagles, so can we really expect him to go beyond that this time around? If so, it'd be a surprise.
Giants at Jets, 7:30 p.m. ET: This has the potential to be one of the week's best games, if only because even more eyes are on Jets backup/trade chip Teddy Bridgewater. If Teddy lights it up again, what will New York do? Keep standing pat? Sam Darnold has also shown promise, so this game isn't so much about the G-Men as it is figuring out the Jets' quarterback room.
Broncos at Redskins, 7:30 p.m. ET: Here we should get our first look at Adrian Peterson in uniform for Washington, which is now sporting some big names out of the early 2010s. More importantly, this should give Denver an extended look at Case Keenum as the starter after some hit-or-miss moments in the first two games. The Broncos are also continuing to feel out backup Chad Kelly.
Seahawks at Vikings, 8 p.m. ET: Minnesota looked sharp under Kirk Cousins in Week 1 and then stumbled a bit in Week 2, so this should be a nice opportunity for the ex-Redskins signal-caller to establish a rhythm before the regular season. Seattle will also have a chance to solidify its opinion of a running back spot in transition, not to mention test its ability to hold up vs. the Vikings "D."
*Lions at Buccaneers, 8 p.m. ET, CBS: Both of these teams will need contributions from young running backs in 2018 if they want to make some noise, so this game will give those backs a larger opportunity to find space and get comfortable. Kerryon Johnson has shown some burst in Detroit, whereas Ronald Jones has gotten little going in Tampa, which -- remember -- also has QB issues.
*Packers at Raiders, 10:30 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Aaron Rodgers will get some work as he approaches his return to the regular season, but the big story, even if it's not normally headlining stuff, is probably Jordy Nelson going up against his old friends from Green Bay. The Pack thought he was done, but Derek Carr and Co. will count on him to make plays this season.
Saturday, Aug. 25
*Chiefs at Bears, 1 p.m. ET, NFL Network: New Bears coach Matt Nagy comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree, and in the regular season, this would be a fascinating matchup simply for the offensive strategy. Both teams are banking big on young quarterbacks this year, and it'll be fun, if not also a bit frustrating, to see Mitchell Trubisky and Patrick Mahomes go head to head.
Texans at Rams, 4 p.m. ET: For Houston, the focus is going to be on Deshaun Watson until the regular season. Los Angeles is set to see Ndamukong Suh on the field for his first extended action with the team, so that could be telling depending on how things go with Aaron Donald still absent. Both sides are bracing for playoff runs in 2018, so staying healthy is obviously key.
*Titans at Steelers, 4 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Pittsburgh got a good look at yet another promising Steelers wideout in James Washington in Week 2, but the team also had problems tackling in a sloppy blowout loss. Against Tennessee, a gritty opponent with a defensive-minded coach, let's see how they keep utilizing James Conner, who's been doing just fine in place of Le'Veon Bell.
49ers at Colts, 4:30 p.m. ET: Unsurprisingly, the focus here is also on the QBs. There's plenty of pressure on both sides, too. Jimmy Garoppolo is being paid like an All-Pro for a Niners team that may or may not be Wild Card material, whereas Andrew Luck is just trying to stay in a groove as he recovers from a seemingly endless rehab. This should be good practice for both of them.
Falcons at Jaguars, 7 p.m. ET: Is this a potential Super Bowl preview? Atlanta is just about ready to go for the regular season despite a sloppy preseason debut, but we all know the skeptics are going to be out in full force if Blake Bortles doesn't look good for the Jags. If Bortles isn't remotely comfortable vs. Atlanta, you can bank on even more Bridgewater speculation for Week 4.
Ravens at Dolphins, 7 p.m. ET: So much for Lamar Jackson unseating Joe Flacco, right? The latter has been solid thus far, and he'll secure an already secure job with a good showing vs. Miami, which is trying to retain confidence in its own veteran QB. Ryan Tannehill should get a decent amount of work in this one, which could go a long way toward prepping him for September.
*Saints at Chargers, 8 p.m. ET, CBS: You've got the inevitable Drew Brees-Chargers connection here, but that's better material in the regular season. Instead, this one should be a good test of two up-and-coming defenses. The Saints have lots of flashy pieces, and the Chargers do, too, although L.A. has been hit with a barrage of injuries as of late, so depth will be a big factor.
Sunday, Aug. 26
*Bengals at Bills, 4 p.m. ET, FOX: If ever there were a time for Josh Allen to put the nail in the coffin of the Bills' QB competition, it's this week. AJ McCarron is effectively out of the picture, at least for the short term, because of injury, and Nathan Peterman isn't too inspiring to begin with. Allen has at least flashed his athleticism this preseason, and he could probably win the job vs. Cincy.
*Cardinals at Cowboys, 8 p.m. ET, NBC: Dak Prescott has been just fine without Ezekiel Elliott this preseason but, then again, it's only preseason. Still, Week 3's contest vs. Arizona, which has an underrated defense, should be a nice challenge for him entering a crucial Year Three. All eyes will also be on Arizona's QB spot, with Sam Bradford steady and Josh Rosen ramping things up.