Friday night will feature six preseason games for everybody who’s in the mood for football.
Jets vs. Bengals,7:30 ET
I won’t bother breaking this down much, because ESPN and its family of networks will talk about it for the next week. But if you haven’t heard, Tim Tebow will play for the Jets. Rookies to watch include Quinton Coples and Stephen Hill of the Jets and Dre Kirkpatrick and Mohamed Sanu for the Bengals.
Browns vs. Lions,7:30 ET
The Browns are trying to rebuild their identity after undergoing a change in ownership and drafting Brandon Weeden and Trent Richardson this spring. However, they still have many pieces to fill as they take on the Lions, who are on the cusp of breaking into the upper echelon of the league. Although Madden 13 cover boy Calvin Johnson will barely see the field, look for rookie receiver Ryan Broyles to receive significant playing time.
Giants vs. Jaguars,7:30 ET
The defending Super Bowl champions partake in their first game since their triumph in February over the Patriots. I am excited to see the G-Men’s first two draft picks in action; David Wilson and Rueben Randle are polished players from powerhouse collegiate programs and can contribute from day one. Tom Coughlin faces his former team, who will be eager to unleash fifth overall pick Justin Blackmon, an explosive wide receiver who has arguably been the most dominant college receiver since Megatron himself, Calvin Johnson.
Buccaneers vs. Dolphins,7:30 ET
This game features two of the worst teams in the NFL but each have their own intriguing storyline. New Bucs coach Greg Schiano (formerly ofRutgers) has been attempting to re-tool a uncharacteristically terrible defense with the selection of Alabama safety Mark Barron, who has an immensely high ceiling. Fellow Floridian rival Miamih ave a colorful cast of characters like Chad Ochocinco and Ryan Tannehill (his wife included) but will most likely struggle this season. Not particularly a marquee matchup.
Cardinals vs. Chiefs, 8 ET
The Cardinals have a quarterback conundrum between Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, and drafting Ryan Lindley this spring doesn’t help matters. First-round pick Michael Floyd has an outstanding mentor in Larry Fitzgerald and is certainly worth watching this season. The Chiefs begin this campaign hoping to restore the health of their key contributors such as Matt Cassel, Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry. New acquisition Peyton Hillis and first-round draft choice Dontari Poe will make Kansas City a better team this fall.
Vikings vs. 49ers, 9 ET
The Vikings must rebound quickly after a horrible season that rewarded them with the best offensive tackle in the NFL Draft, Matt Kalil. Second year pro Christian Ponder still has a bit of learning to do at quarterback, so his instructional course begins now. The Niners on the other hand have an incredibly talented team; remember, this is a team that was two fluke special teams turnovers away from reaching the Super Bowl. (Is Kyle Williams even on their roster still? I don’t care nearly enough.) However, I am intrigued at the prospect of second-round pick LaMichael James of Oregon. Will he simply be a third-down back or an all-purpose monster in the mold of Darren Sproles?
What game will you be most excited to watch? Pumped that your favorite team is playing tonight? Leave your thoughts below!