Can you taste it yet?
Real games are right around the corner in the NFL, and that's especially the case this week, which marks the final slate of preseason action before the Sept. 6 regular-season kickoff between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles. But that doesn't mean the last of the exhibition games are completely meaningless. If anything, they're among the most meaningful when it comes to bottom-of-the-roster battles -- the last-chance opportunities for players to prove their worth ahead of weekend cut downs.
Here, we've got you covered with a glimpse at each and every matchup on tap in Week 4 of the preseason:
How to watch
Note: Nationally televised games will be designated with an asterisk (*).
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Preseason Week 4 games
Thursday, Aug. 30
*Browns at Lions, 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Is this game going to beat next week's Browns "Hard Knocks," when we presumably get more Mychal Kendricks scenes? Probably not. But it gives Cleveland one last, long look at Baker Mayfield in live action. For Detroit, it's probably best to keep an eye on the running backs, where Ameer Abdullah is on the fringe of the roster.
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Dolphins at Falcons, 7 p.m. ET: If you're a Falcons fan, this one will be all about trying to see how many backup Falcons you actually know since Dan Quinn isn't planning on risking injury to any of his starters, as is quickly becoming the preseason norm. In Miami, Brock Osweiler and David Fales will get a final shot at showing they're worth keeping as Ryan Tannehill's backup.
Jets at Eagles, 7 p.m. ET: Christian Hackenberg revenge game! We'll see how much the ex-Jet actually plays, but the real questions for the Eagles are at the bottom of the RB and WR depth charts. For New York, Teddy Bridgewater should get another sizable role. Even if he's destined to back up Sam Darnold, he's got another big chance to showcase starting material.
Patriots at Giants, 7 p.m. ET: A Super Bowl rematch. This one is, like many games on this schedule, all about the depth battles. Can Jonathan Stewart regain trust from Dave Gettleman? Can Jason McCourty survive to play alongside his brother in the New England secondary? One thing's for sure: We won't be seeing any of the big guns -- like Tom Brady -- on Thursday.
Colts at Bengals, 7 p.m. ET: As NFL.com's Austin Knoblauch pointed out, Cincinnati hasn't been shy about jettisoning veterans as of late, with George Iloka the latest to go. That means, as the Bengals enter what could be a purely transitional season with an emphasis on younger talent, anyone who's slacking could be fair game for the chopping block as a potential surprise cut victim.
Redskins at Ravens, 7:30 p.m. ET: Robert Griffin III will downplay this matchup, but we all know he's eager to go up against the team that, well, just didn't work out for him. It's also a genuine wonder whether he'll make Baltimore's 53-man roster. The 'Skins, meanwhile, will probably want another look at Adrian Peterson, even though his preseason debut was full of promise.
Jaguars at Buccaneers, 7:30 p.m. ET: Who will step up at wide receiver for Jacksonville now that Marqise Lee is done for the year? Preseason is probably exactly where Tampa Bay wants to be, ironing out position groups all over the roster as the Bucs look toward real games that will start without Jameis Winston and then continue with tough NFC South matchups.
Panthers at Steelers, 7:30 p.m. ET: This is prime-time material in the regular season. Here, it might be all about the Steelers' backup quarterback spot. Landry Jones is locked in as Ben Roethlisberger's backup, and Mason Rudolph isn't going anywhere, so ideally, Pittsburgh could showcase Joshua Dobbs against Carolina and its banged-up secondary in order to facilitate a trade.
Rams at Saints, 8 p.m. ET: Might we see any surprise cuts from Los Angeles' deep cornerback group? Is the running back situation behind Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara settled? These are the questions surrounding a matchup of likely NFC playoff contenders. Tune in during the regular season, and the star power between these two sides will be far more evident.
Bills at Bears, 8 p.m. ET: We're getting very close to the regular season, and still, it's anyone's guess as to who will be starting for the Bills on opening day. AJ McCarron is back in action after his injury scare, Josh Allen has had roller-coaster highs and lows, and Nathan Peterman refuses to fade into irrelevance. All three should see time against Chicago's defense.
Vikings at Titans, 8 p.m. ET: Week 4 in the preseason isn't going to change opinions of an entire unit, but Tennessee's defense could use a solid performance to instill some confidence in their front four. Minnesota, meanwhile, will rest up for Kirk Cousins' big debut in September, while Iloka will try to prove he really does belong at the back end of the Vikings' talented defense.
Cowboys at Texans, 8 p.m. ET: When one of the biggest stories here is whether Shane Lechler is in danger of losing the punting job, well, you know it's preseason. In all reality, Dallas will probably like a less sloppy performance just to avoid an 0-4 slate, and that would mean an improved performance from Cooper Rush.
Packers at Chiefs, 8:30 p.m. ET: This should've been the deciding game in Green Bay's battle for the backup QB spot, but the Pack determined the winner early by dealing Brett Hundley to Seattle this week. In Kansas City, there's bound to be a lot of focus on the secondary, where Eric Berry is trying to stay healthy and the corner group could use both depth and consistency.
*Broncos at Cardinals, 10 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Are you ready for the Chad Kelly show? The young signal-caller has a legitimate shot of sending Paxton Lynch packing after this game. On the other side, Arizona may or may not give Josh Rosen another look, with Mike Glennon up for a potential start as Sam Bradford prepares himself for Opening Day.
Chargers at 49ers, 10 p.m. ET: Who doesn't love a good preseason kicker battle? That's what Los Angeles is hosting through Week 4, with Caleb Sturgis and former Buccaneers bust Roberto Aguayo going at it. San Francisco is set to ride with C.J. Beathard, who started in 2017 before Jimmy Garoppolo's arrival, for their final action of the preseason.
Raiders at Seahawks, 10 p.m. ET: Our last look at Jon Gruden as head coach before he makes his real head coaching debut (again) in Oakland. In Seattle, all eyes are on Brandon Marshall and whether he's done enough to make the team. Thursday will be his final shot at earning a reserve role as a potential red-zone target for Russell Wilson and the remade Seahawks.