Thursday NFL Preseason Preview: 5 Reasons to Watch
This past weekend pro football returned to our lives. It wasn’t really football, though, as the annual NFL Hall of Fame game usually includes two semi-bad teams and we don’t see the starters for long from either side.
The Bills and Giants did their best, but the end result was a snoozer. Still, the NFL returned, and now we get a heavy dose of pro football on Thursday night. Six games sound off the true first week of the 2014 NFL preseason schedule, and with big hitters like the 49ers, Patriots, Broncos and Seahawks on the docket, NFL fans could be in for a bit of a treat.
Let’s break down the top 5 things we should be excited to watch tonight:
1. Super Bowl Rematch
This has to top the list, as the defending champion Seahawks march into Denver to take care of the Broncos. Peyton Manning and co. shouldn’t play at long, but marching down the field and scoring a touchdown should feel good. Either way, everyone will want to see arguably the two best teams go at it.
2. Michael Vick vs. Geno Smith
It’s not really a true quarterback competition, but what if Geno Smith comes out and face plants and the veteran Vick destroys? Smith gets the start and Vick will play against the Colts’ second team defense, so it’ll be interesting to see how it unfolds. Smith’s job is probably safe, but a good game from Vick could stir up some intrigue.
3. The Harbaugh Bowl, Part II
Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers take on brother John’s Ravens in a rematch of the Super Bowl meeting of two years ago. There’s nothing on the line this time, but anytime two brothers coach against each other it should be fun.
4. Jeremy Hills vs. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
The Cincinnati Bengals are looking to run more this year and a good chunk of that running could come from rookie running back Jeremy Hill. Bengals fans will clearly be excited to see starter Giovani Bernard run wild, too, but they’ll see more of Hill. Green-Ellis needs to be awesome to save his roster spot.
5. Trent Richardson’s Effectiveness
Trent Richardson has set some lofty regular season statistical goals for himself this year and it will be very interesting to see if he can reach them. Judging off of last year, it won’t be easy. Still, he’s a former top-five overall draft pick and has a shot to bounce back in 2014. That journey starts against a tough first-team Jets run defense. Good luck, Trent.
6. Check Out All the Rookies
Whoa, we threw you a curve ball there with a sixth thing to watch for. Aside from some cool storylines to monitor, the best part about preseason play is getting a good look at all the big name rookies. There are some minor position battles going on, but for a lot of first year guys, this is the most you’ll see them all year.
Specific names to watch for on Thursday night are Indy wide receiver Donte Moncrief, San Diego cornerback Jason Verrett, Denver wide receiver Cody Latimer and Seattle receiver Paul Richardson, among others.
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