KICKING OFF: A look at Thursday's 15 preseason games

August 31, 2016

Here's a look at Thursday's NFL preseason games (all times EDT):


San Francisco at San Diego, 10 p.m.

All eyes will be on Colin Kaepernick, who has vowed to continue his protest and sit during the national anthem. He gets his final shot to earn back San Francisco's starting quarterback job. Kaepernick looked rusty last week in his first game action since November.


San Diego's first-round draftee, DE Joey Bosa, finally signed, but is expected to sit out.

Bosa missed 31 days and three preseason games during the nasty contract spat.


Los Angeles at Minnesota, 8 p.m.

Although running back Todd Gurley won't be allowed near the field, coach Jeff Fisher still intends to evaluate several competitions for roster spots, particularly along the offensive line and in the secondary.

Vikings quarterback Shaun Hill, a 15-year veteran who will take over following the season-ending knee injury to Teddy Bridgewater, probably won't play against his former team.


Denver at Arizona, 9:30 p.m.

Newly elevated starting QB Trevor Siemian isn't going to play. Rookie Paxton Lynch, who acknowledges he's had trouble digesting large chunks of the playbook, is scheduled to play the entire game with Mark Sanchez available in a pinch.

Matt Barkley is expected to play the entire game because coach Bruce Arians has no other option if he plans to sit QBs Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. All-Pro S Tyrann Mathieu (knee surgery) and WR John Brown (concussion) are cleared to play but probably won't.


Seattle at Oakland, 10 p.m.

The Raiders have few remaining questions this preseason although coach Jack Del Rio said he would like to get another look at rookie middle linebacker Cory James before deciding whether James or second-year player Ben Heeney will start the season.

Expect to see Seahawks No. 1 RB Thomas Rawls for a few plays. It would be Rawls' first game action since breaking his ankle last December against Baltimore.


Indianapolis at Cincinnati, 7:30 p.m.

The Colts are trying to avoid getting anyone else hurt. Four offensive linemen are out: Joe Reitz, Hugh Thornton, Joe Haeg and Jack Mewhort.

One of the most competitive spots for the Bengals is punt returner. Alex Erickson, an undrafted rookie who started his career at Wisconsin as a walk-on, has an 80-yard touchdown return. Second-round pick Tyler Boyd also had a pair of returns, including a 24-yarder.


New England at New York Giants, 7 p.m.

Tom Brady's final opportunity to play before his four-game ''Deflategate'' suspension kicks in, and he said he would like to be on the field. Not likely.

The Giants brought back veteran tackle Will Beatty, but he has not practiced and isn't likely to play.


Jacksonville at Atlanta, 7 p.m.

Jaguars second-round draft pick Myles Jack moved from middle to outside linebacker this week and will play extensively against Atlanta. Jacksonville also expects to get a lengthy look at QB Brandon Allen and rookie DT Sheldon Day, who missed the first three preseason games (back injury).

Matt Ryan will play against Jacksonville after throwing an interception and completing only 12 of 22 passes last week. Kicker Matt Bryant returns after missing two games with tightness in his leg.


Baltimore at New Orleans, 8 p.m.

Saints coach Sean Payton has said it's important to win preseason games to cultivate a competitive edge. His team has lost all three so far - and looked anemic doing so. So Payton said starters will play through the first quarter.

There's a chance TE Dennis Pitta and WR Breshad Perriman will see action for the first time this preseason. Pitta is trying to rebound from missing 2015 (hip injury); Perriman, the team's top draft pick in 2015, has yet to play in a game because of injuries.


Tennessee at Miami, 7 p.m.

Mike Mularkey plans to play his Titans starters for one series, regardless if that series is a three-and-out or lasts double-digit plays. He should get his first real look at his starting cornerbacks with the return of Perrish Cox (ankle). The other starter, Jason McCourty, missed every game after Mularkey took over as interim head coach last season.

Miami first-round draft pick Laremy Tunsil will play left guard. Rookie receivers Leonte Carroo and Jakeem Grant and rookie running back Kenyan Drake are expected to see significant action.


New York Jets at Philadelphia, 7 p.m.

Carson Wentz (ribs) isn't ready to return, so the No. 2 overall pick will miss his third straight game. Linebacker Mychal Kendricks is the only starter expected to see action - he hasn't played much this preseason - and veteran linebacker Stephen Tulloch, signed last week, also is supposed to play.

Both second-year QB Bryce Petty and rookie Christian Hackenberg will play. New York has not yet determined if both Petty, a fourth-rounder last year, and Hackenberg, a second-rounder this year, will each play a half.


Pittsburgh at Carolina, 7:30 p.m.

Pittsburgh first-round pick Artie Burns will finally make his debut. The cornerback has been hampered by a quadriceps injury.

The Steelers will get a full dose of Joe Webb at quarterback with Cam Newton resting and backup Derek Anderson still sore from the beating he took from New England last Friday night.


Buffalo at Detroit, 7:30 p.m.

The Lions will start the season without veteran TEs Brandon Pettigrew and Tim Wright, and possibly another, Eric Ebron, because of injuries. That opens opportunities for undrafted rookies Cole Wick and Adam Fuehne.

Competition for Buffalo's final few receiver spots is down to Walt Powell, Greg Salas, Jarrett Boykin and Dezmin Lewis after Greg Little was cut.


Chicago at Cleveland, 8 p.m.

Browns coach Hue Jackson will play his starters. Cleveland has issues on both sides of the ball, but particularly on defense. The Browns gave up 259 yards passing in the first half last week as communication breakdowns in the secondary resulted in easy throws for Jameis Winston.

The Bears still must decide on backups to WRs Alshon Jeffery and Kevin White. Veterans Eddie Royal and Marc Mariani are in the mix along with Josh Bellamy, Cameron Meredith and Daniel Braverman.


Houston at Dallas, 8 p.m.

After Tony Romo's back injury last week, the Cowboys will take no chances with his replacement, rookie Dak Prescott. Jameill Showers likely will get the whole game.

Houston coach Bill O'Brien says Tom Savage will be QB Brock Osweiler's backup and start Thursday's game. But he'll also play third-stringer Brandon Weeden, a former Cowboy.


Green Bay at Kansas City, 8 p.m.

Get out your roster sheets. Green Bay is not expected to play any starters, or even backup QB Brett Hundley, hobbled by an ankle injury. Kansas City will start third-string quarterback Tyler Bray.

The Packers will be debuting a new punter, Jacob Schum, claimed off waivers from the Buccaneers. Veteran Tim Masthay was released.


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