As the NFL Draft inches closer, the league gave fans a treat on Monday, April 10, releasing the preseason scheduled for every team and the dates of the eight nationally televised games. Times and dates of the other games are not set at this point.
Only one of the national games could end up being a big deal in our state: the Hall of Fame Game, which has the Dallas Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals kicking off the preseason on Thursday, Aug. 3, at 7 p.m. on NBC. The first full week of preseason games will be held from Aug. 10 to Aug. 14, with all 32 teams in action.
There will be plenty of fans who will want to see if Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott avoids a second-year slump. If he plays in the Hall of Fame Game, it won’t be for long, but fans will still want to see the young star.
This newly released schedule gives us a chance to look ahead at the matchups for both the Cowboys and the New Orleans Saints.
Dallas will be in Los Angeles against the Rams for the first full week of the preseason. This game will feature two young quarterbacks—Prescott, who was drafted in the fourth round in 2016, and Jared Goff, who was the first overall pick of the same draft.
New Orleans will travel to Cleveland in week one to face the Browns. If both teams use their current draft power, this game could feature four first-round picks, with both teams having two in the upcoming draft. It could also feature the number-one overall pick if the Browns don’t trade that spot before or during the draft.
Week two of the preseason, which takes place from Aug. 17 to Aug. 21, will see the Saints heading out to Los Angeles to play the Chargers, who are no longer in San Diego. New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees will face his former team but not in the same city where he played.
Dallas will head home in week two to host the Indianapolis Colts. For the second week in a row, the Cowboys will face a quarterback who was the first overall pick in the draft. This time, it is Andrew Luck, who was the top pick in 2012.
The third week of the NFL preseason is normally the week that the starters see the most playing time. These games will be held from Aug. 24 to Aug. 27 as teams try to get in a dress rehearsal before the season starts.
New Orleans will get its first home game of the preseason as the team hosts the Houston Texans. The Saints will try to keep a returning J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney away from Brees when the starters are on the field.
Dallas will at home for the second week in a row, as the team hosts the Oakland Raiders. Prescott against the Raiders’ Derek Carr is a tasty matchup if both teams treat this game like a regular season matchup.
The preseason will end with week four, which takes place from Aug. 31 to Sept. 1. The NFL likes to finish up the preseason before the first full Saturday of college football, which falls on Sept. 2 this year.
New Orleans will be at home for its final preseason game and for the second week in a row, as well. The Saints will host the Baltimore Ravens, but don’t expect Brees or Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco to play for very long if at all.
Dallas will finish the preseason on the road against their in-state rival, the Houston Texans. This game means more for backups than starters but is a big draw in the Lone Star State.
That will wrap of the preseason games as we wait for the NFL to release the regular-season schedule a week before the draft. Are there any preseason games that you are excited to see? If so, drop us a line on Twitter at @JFPSports and join in the conversation.