Week 1 of the NFL preseason is exciting for fans as they'll be able to see their teams take the field for the first time since the conclusion of last season. With the limited access in training camps, some of the camp storylines from the past several weeks finally come to fruition on the field.
Starters don't play much in the preseason these days, although some teams will give their first-team offense and defense a series or two to get their feet wet. Just a few plays from the regulars can make Week 1 of the preseason exciting, yet it's the developments on the second team and the back end of the roster where the storylines emerge in August.
All 32 teams are in action this weekend, with something to watch in each game (whether that's a prominent rookie debut or a storyline from camp). Here's something to pay attention to in all 16 games:
(All times Eastern)
Houston Texans at New England Patriots (Thursday, Aug. 10, 7 p.m.)
Texans: C.J. Stroud will be getting the first-team reps in his NFL debut, and he'll play a couple of series as the starting quarterback. Stroud has been battling Davis Mills for the starting quarterback job, but DeMeco Ryans wanted to give him the first opportunity to prove he can perform in an NFL game. How Stroud does in live action against an opposing defense will be worth watching, especially with right tackle Tytus Howard out.
Patriots: Malik Cunningham has been everywhere for the Patriots in training camp. The former Louisville quarterback was signed as an undrafted free agent at wide receiver and has even taken some reps at quarterback -- along with being a gunner on special teams. Cunningham is an intriguing prospect that has a shot at making the roster.
Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks (Thursday, Aug. 10, 10 p.m.)
Vikings: Jaren Hall was a fifth-round pick by the team this offseason, competing with Nick Mullens for the backup job to Kirk Cousins. The Vikings are going to get a glimpse of how well Hall has processed information, as the 25-year-old rookie from BYU could be in line to succeed Cousins with a strong preseason. Minnesota has never entered a season which Cousins will be a free agent at season's end, making Hall's preseason a tryout of sorts if he can be the long-term answer at quarterback.
Seahawks: Undrafted rookie wide receiver Jake Bono has been getting reps with the first and second team in training camp after a couple of eye-opening catches, specifically on third downs in team scrimmages. Bono will have to crack the roster by outperforming a few players this preseason, but he's showing a poor combine wasn't the end of his NFL tale. He'll get some targets his way this week.
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New York Giants at Detroit Lions (Friday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m.)
Giants: Ben Bredeson is listed as the starting left guard on the unofficial depth chart, even though he's seen time at center in camp. John Michael Schmitz has been placed as the first-team center. Both Bredeson and Schmitz are the question marks on the offensive line, a key component toward New York going back to the playoffs. How they perform in the limited snaps they get will be worth watching.
Lions: How much tight end Sam LaPorta will play this week is up in the air (Lions have a joint practice with the Giants), yet the rookie second-round pick has emerged as one of the top offensive players in camp. How LaPorta performed against NFL defenses will be worth watching in an offense that already has several playmakers. Jared Goff likes his tight ends, so LaPorta will get targets when Goff plays.
Pittsburgh Steelers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Friday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m.)
Steelers: Kenny Pickett has looked more comfortable in the pocket through training camp, not going to the first read or immediately to the checkdown target. The big plays have been on display, which will be worth monitoring when Pickett throws in his limited action.
Buccaneers: There's a competition brewing between Baker Mayfield and Kyle Trask, as Trask has closed the gap on Mayfield this training camp. Mayfield has the edge right now, but how he performs in the preseason will be an indicator of how close this competition really is. Both quarterbacks are listed as QB1 right now, as Trask has closed the gap on Mayfield by not turning the football over. Both quarterbacks are worth keep a close eye on throughout the game.
Green Bay Packers at Cincinnati Bengals (Friday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m.)
Packers: Jayden Reed appears to be in line to become Green Bay's next slot receiver, already getting playing time with Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. His quickness will significantly benefit Jordan Love in his first year as a starter. Reed will also likely return punts, too, so he'll get an extended look this preseason.
Bengals: Trevor Siemian and Jake Browning aren't Joe Burrow, yet both quarterbacks are splitting the first-team reps while Burrow nurses his way back from a calf injury. The offense hasn't looked great in Burrow's absence, which is why both quarterbacks are worth an extended look. If both play badly, do the Bengals sign a veteran to get ready for a week or two in case Burrow is out that long?
Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins (Friday, Aug. 11, 7 p.m.)
Falcons: Desmond Ridder hasn't had a great camp (four interceptions), which makes Bijan Robinson's debut even more anticipated. Robinson behind the Falcons' stout offensive line will be a sight to behold, especially since Robinson has been making a highlight play every practice. Fans will get a taste on how the Falcons use Robinson in the preseason opener.
Dolphins: Second-round rookie cornerback Cam Smith has impressed in camp, and appears in line to start next to Xavien Howard while Jalen Ramsey recovers from a knee injury. Smith's tight coverage against receivers is a good sight for the Dolphins secondary, which has the potential to be the strength of the defense. Even though the Falcons receivers aren't the toughest group, this is a good first test.
Washington Commanders at Cleveland Browns (Friday, Aug. 11, 7:30 p.m.)
Commanders: Sam Howell is QB1 in Washington and the Commanders have him entrenched as the starter. His arm talent certainly shows in camp and the ability to handle pressure is a major plus. Howell makes his fair share of mistakes, so the game reps will be paramount -- especially this preseason.
Browns: Cleveland already had a preseason game under its belt, and Demetric Felton stood out at running back in the Hall of Fame Game. His speed may be enough to showcase he can be the RB2 to Nick Chubb. Felton does have familiarity under offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who worked in the same position under Chip Kelly with the Eagles (Kelly was Felton's coach at UCLA). The concepts are very familiar to Felton.
Denver Broncos at Arizona Cardinals (Friday, Aug. 11, 10 p.m.)
Broncos: Russell Wilson and the first-team offense will be playing in the preseason opener, which didn't happen last year. The Broncos have been working on third-down red zone situations, as they were 32nd and 14th in those respective categories last year. How the Broncos offense fares on third down is something to monitor -- along with what concepts Payton comes up yet.
Cardinals: While in a rebuilding phase, rookie wide receiver Michael Wilson has impressed in the early portion of camp. He'll go against Patrick Surtain Jr. this week, an excellent test for the 2023 third-round pick. Wilson has an opportunity to crack the starting lineup and is the WR3 at worst. He's made a couple impressive catches and showcased good route running through camp.
Tennessee Titans at Chicago Bears (Saturday, Aug. 12, 1 p.m.)
Titans: The team has Ryan Tannehill entering free agency after the season, so all stock will be in 2022 third-round pick Malik Willis and 2023 second-round pick Will Levis -- who will get plenty of reps in the opener. Willis is the second-team quarterback while Levis is on the third team, but there's more pressure on Willis to beat out Levis for that job right now. Tannehill's backup is a hot commodity in this organization.
Bears: Is Chase Claypool any better than what he showed last season? Claypool has been a camp standout and the Bears did trade a second-round pick for him. He's also in the final year of his rookie deal. Claypool has been a reliable third-down target for Justin Fields in camp and he's been healthy -- a huge plus for the offense.
Indianapolis Colts at Buffalo Bills (Saturday, Aug. 12, 1 p.m.)
Colts: Anthony Richardson will be the QB1 in Shane Steichen's offense for the opener. Steichen has developed a reputation of helping turn young quarterbacks into stars (see Justin Herbert and Jalen Hurts), with Richardson as his next project. Richardson has starred with the first-team offense and he'll get a trial by fire against one of the best defenses in the NFL in his debut.
Bills: Dalton Kincaid has been a highlight reel throughout camp, playing with the first team as a Swiss Army knife at tight end, slot receiver and as an H-back. The Bills are finding ways to get Kincaid on the field, which makes his preseason debut all the more intriguing. How the Bills use Kincaid will be worth the watch.
New York Jets at Carolina Panthers (Saturday, Aug. 12, 4 p.m.)
Jets: Everyone is excited to see Aaron Rodgers in his new uniform (he's not playing this week), but pass rusher Jermaine Johnson has had an excellent camp. Johnson has come back stronger and faster in his second year, which he showcased in 1-on-1 battles. Johnson could be the breakout candidate on the Jets in his second year, as the growth will be seen in live game reps.
Panthers: This answer is obvious answer: Bryce Young will be the player anyone will be monitoring once they tune into the game. The No. 1 overall pick is QB1 in Carolina, and he'll get the reps needed to prepare for Week 1. Seeing Young in the joint practices and a live game against an opposing defense is his first test in a hyped rookie campaign.
Jacksonville Jaguars at Dallas Cowboys (Saturday, Aug. 12, 5 p.m.)
Jaguars: Calvin Ridley has been a standout in camp, looking every bit like the WR1 the Jaguars have touted him as since they acquired him. With the starters playing in the opener, Ridley will play his first game in a Jaguars uniform --- getting an opportunity to showcase his pass-catching abilities for his new team.
Cowboys: Deuce Vaughn is going to get an extended look this preseason, as the Cowboys still don't know who their RB2 is going to be. Rico Dowdle and Malik Davis are also in the mix with Ronald Jones serving a suspension, but the Cowboys' rookie sixth-rounder has impressed in camp.
Philadelphia Eagles at Baltimore Ravens (Saturday, Aug. 12, 7 p.m.)
Eagles: The linebacker conundrum is the storyline of camp, especially with Nakobe Dean (the one guaranteed starter) nursing an ankle injury. Whether Dean is back by the weekend is uncertain, but it will be intriguing who starts for the Eagles in the opener. Philadelphia doesn't play its starters much in the preseason, so this will be a tough indicator of where the depth chart stands. Zach Cunningham and Myles Jack are also expected to make their debuts.
Ravens: Kyle Hamilton has been one of the best players on the field for the duration of camp, as he's set to start alongside Marcus Williams at safety. The Ravens want Hamilton to be a playmaker this year, and he'll get tested against the league's best tight ends. While Hamilton likely won't see Dallas Goedert this weekend, watching him make plays on the football will be vital in Year 2.
Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (Saturday, Aug. 12, 9 p.m.)
Chargers: John Hightower has been one of the highlights of training camp, as Kellen Moore has used his breakaway speed to make plays downfield. Hightower has an opportunity to make the roster, thanks to a strong camp, but the preseason games will be the test for him to earn a spot. A strong Week 1 of the preseason will go a long way.
Rams: Every year Tutu Atwell appears to have a strong camp, yet Sean McVay never seems to have a defined role for him. Will that change in 2023 with the lack of proven commodities at the position? Matthew Stafford called Atwell the "master of the offense" as he vies for the WR3 job. Let's see how well Atwell does this preseason.
Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints (Sunday, Aug. 13, 1 p.m.)
Chiefs: Justyn Ross hasn't played in a game in 21 months, yet Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes have spoke positively about the 2021 undrafted free agent wide receiver out of Clemson. There are spots to be had in Kansas City with JuJu Smith-Schuster departing and Kadarius Toney injured -- there are spots open behind Rashee Rice, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Skyy Moore. This preseason opener is Ross' first chance to impress.
Saints: Payton Turner has appeared to earn the starting edge rusher job opposite of Cam Jordan, but questions remain if Turner can be productive in live games. The 2021 first-round pick has played just 13 games in his two seasons, so this is his chance to prove he can be productive in Joe Woods' defense. The Saints need someone to get to the quarterback besides Jordan, and Turner gets the first shot.
San Francisco 49ers at Las Vegas Raiders (Sunday, Aug. 13, 4 p.m.)
49ers: With Brock Purdy unlikely to play in the preseason opener, all eyes are on Trey Lance to make another impression on the coaching staff. The 49ers invested a lot of draft picks into Lance, giving him every chance to be the starting quarterback of this team. Regardless how Lance plays this preseason, he needs all the snaps he can get. The 49ers haven't given up on him yet.
Raiders: There's a cornerback battle going on in Vegas, and fourth-round rookie Jakorian Bennett is playing his way into a starting role. Bennett has the speed to make up for rookie mistakes and has put his cover skills on display. With Nate Hobbs moving back into the slot, there's an opportunity for Bennett to start. He'll get an extended look this preseason.