Week 1 of the 2011 NFL preseason schedule kicks off on Thursday night with five games.
Broncos Vs. Cowboys: Game Time, TV Schedule, Position Battles And More
Denver Broncos vs. Dallas Cowboys
The Broncos and Cowboys will square off in Week 1 of the 2011 preseason schedule on Thursday night and the biggest story line coming into this game is the Broncos quarterback situation. QB Kyle Orton is still on the team and the Broncos are expected to tab him the starter, assuming he isn’t traded. QB Tim Tebow is behind him and will be competing for the job while QB Brady Quinn is in the mix for a backup job as well.
The Cowboys are trying to fix things after what went down last year. They were an 11-win team in 2009 and returned in 2010 getting off to a miserable start, which lead to the firing of Wade Phillips and hiring of Jason Garrett. They’re a good team — we know that. It’s just a matter of proving it.
The Cowboys are three-point favorites — as if you can predict preseason games — and the matchup will be played at Cowboys Stadium.
Check out Mile High Report and Blogging The Boys for live commentary during the game. Here’s some more information on the game Thursday night:
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 11; 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Cowboys Stadium, Dallas, Texas
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Jaguars Vs. Patriots: Game Time, TV Schedule, Position Battles And More
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots
The New England Patriots made a splash in free agency acquiring DT Albert Haynesworth and WR Chad Ochocinco. The Haynesworth trade, along with other defensive line acquisitions, has New England folks buzzing that the team is switching back to a 4-3 defense so that’s going to be the first thing to keep an eye on Thursday when the Patriots meet the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium for the first preseason game of the year.
The Jaguars are also facing quite a bit of change as they have a new quarterback of the future in the house. QB Blaine Gabbert is expected to start on Thursday night against New England with QB David Garrard nursing an injury. Gabbert has a tough test for his first NFL game, even if it is just preseason.
If you’re into gambling on preseason games, the Patriots are a 3.5 point favorite but that’s a difficult line to place because we don’t really know either team will react to this short offseason. Veterans that signed new contracts couldn’t practice until Aug. 4 so there’s a good chunk of players that will be working on less than one week of practice. Will they play on Thursday night? If so, how much? Those are a couple of the questions we need answered.
The Patriots and Jaguars kick things off on Thursday night. Check out Big Cat Country and Pats Pulpit for live commentary during the game. Here’s some additional information on the game:
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 11; 7:30 p.m. ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Massachusettes
New England: WBZ-TV
San Diego: CBS-47
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Patriots: 98.5 The Sports Hub
Raiders vs. Cardinals: Game Time, TV Schedule, Position Battles And More
Oakland Raiders vs. Arizona Cardinals
The Oakland Raiders and Arizona Cardinals open their 2011 preseason campaigns with a Thursday night contest at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland, California. The Raiders are coming off their first non-losing season in nearly a decade and will look to build on that under new head coach Hue Jackson. The Cardinals struggled to their first losing season since 2006, but have high hopes this season with the significant offseason trade for QB Kevin Kolb.
The Raiders had significant offseason turnover that could present a roadblock to building on last season’s 8-8 record. The most significant departure was that of Nnamdi Asomugha. The all-world corner had his contract voided due to an unexpected clause requiring a sack, interception, fumble recovery, or even a minimum tackle total. Due to the lack of throws in his direction, he did not reach these minimums and is now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
Aside from Nnamdi, the Raiders lost top tight end Zach Miller, guard Robert Gallery, linebacker Thomas Howard and wide receiver Johnnie Lee Higgins. They will look to find replacements throughout the roster, and it all begins with the first preseason game. Arguably the most interesting battle will be to see how high Denarius Moore can climb over the next month. He is currently third string on the depth chart but word on the street is that he is really impressing in camp. A strong preseason combined with the continued struggles of Darrius Heyward-Bey could net him some serious playing time in 2011.
The Arizona Cardinals had their share of turnover as they lost Steve Breaston and Tim Hightower, among others. However, their 2011 season and really the future of the franchise will be determined based on a single transaction. The Cardinals decision to trade cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Kevin Kolb was the kind of impact move that could set up the Cardinals to be division front-runners moving forward. Of course, if Kolb doesn’t work out they’ll find themselves back at square one.
Cardinals preseason games will primarily center around Kolb’s performances. While only so much can be gleaned from preseason action, that will not make much difference in the scrutiny surrounding Kolb. Every pass will be dissected as Cardinals fans hope and pray he is indeed the answer. The Cardinals have plenty of story lines to follow throughout their preseason depth chart in 2011, but Kevin Kolb is far and away the biggest.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 11; 10:00pm ET
Location: O.Co Coliseum, Oakland, California
Raiders: KICU TV36 (Tape Delay – Midnight ET)
Cardinals: KNXV ABC15
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Raiders: KITS 105.3 FM/KFRC 1550 AM
Cardinals: KTAR 620 AM
For more on the Raiders head over to Silver and Black Pride. For more on the Cardinals, check out Revenge of the Birds. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
Eagles vs. Ravens: Game Time, TV Schedule, Position Battles And More
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Baltimore Ravens
The Philadelphia Eagles host the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night in a preseason opener that marks the start of the season for a team some are calling a “Dream Team.” The Eagles were very active in free agency, with their biggest splash being the addition of all-world cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Eagles also added Ronnie Brown and Vince Young to act as backups to Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy and seem to be emerging as one of the favorites in the NFC.
This first preseason game will allow the Eagles to figure out what some of their young guys can do. Starters generally do not play a whole lot in the first preseason game, often playing no more than a quarter. The Eagles preliminary depth chart has rookie Danny Watkins slotted in as the starter at right guard. Although Vick and the other starters likely won’t see a lot of playing time, Watkins is one starter who may stick in the game a bit longer. Eagles fans are excited about the young offensive lineman and will be keeping a close eye on him Thursday night.
As could be the case for many Eagles opponents this season, the Baltimore Ravens will be in the Philly shadow in this opener. The Ravens saw several long-time veterans leave this offseason including Todd Heap, Le’Ron McClain, and Dawan Landry, among others. The Ravens were not all that active in free agency, but they did make one splash in signing Vonta Leach as a legit replacement for McClain. Leach was one of the keys to Arian Foster’s breakout season in 2010 and should be a solid man in front of Ray Rice.
The Ravens are set with Joe Flacco at starting quarterback, but they will likely be paying close attention to the performances of Hunter Cantwell and Tyrod Taylor. Marc Bulger’s decision to retire leaves the Ravens without an experienced backup to Flacco. They might add a veteran that doesn’t survive roster cuts elsewhere, but in the meantime they need to see what Cantwell and Taylor bring to the table. Cantwell has a year in the NFL but no serious on-field experience while Taylor will have to overcome the stigma of being more of an athlete than a quarterback.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 11; 7:30pm ET
Location: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Eagles: WPVI 6abc
Ravens: WBAL-TV | CSN | WJLA-TV | WHTM-TV
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Eagles: 94 WYSP | Sports Radio 610 WIP-AM
Ravens: 98 Rock | WBAL-1090 AM
For more on the Eagles head over to Bleeding Green Nation. For more on the Ravens, check out Baltimore Beatdown. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
Chargers vs. Seahawks: Game Time, TV Schedule, Position Battles And More
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Diego Chargers
The Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers square off Thursday evening in a preseason opener at San Diego. The Seahawks are a team that struggled to a 7-9 record but stumbled into the playoffs while the Chargers once again got hot late but just missed a playoff spot at 9-7.
The Seahawks made a lot of changes in the offseason, with the most notable being the departure of longtime quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. His departure resulted in the Seahawks signing Tarvaris Jackson who enters the preseason as the number one quarterback on the depth chart. Jackson had some ups and downs in Minnesota and will look to justify Pete Carroll’s excitement.
The Seahawks are working to put Jackson in a position to succeed as they also added wide receiver Sidney Rice, tight end Zach Miller and guard Robert Gallery. Throw in rookie right tackle James Carpenter and that’s almost half the offense changed over. This preseason will be key to how they gel together and particularly how they use John Carlson alongside Miller at tight end.
The San Diego Chargers spent the one week free agency period focused on signing their own players. Their biggst departures were WR Legedu Naanee, RB Darren Sproles, OLB Antwan Applewhite and Brandon Siler. However, they were able make some modest additions at wide receiver, OLB and ILB. The Chargers added added Rams wide receiver Laurent Robinson and 49ers outside linebacker Travis LaBoy, both of whom should be able to step right in and potentially upgrade WR and OLB positions. They also signed inside linebacker Takeo Spikes who is coming off one of his best years in recent memory.
The Chargers are not looking to rock the boat as they have many of the key parts in place to remain competitive in the AFC West. The question will be whether it’s enough to compete with a Chiefs squad that added a couple key parts. The Chargers will be using the preseason to tune back up for the start of the regular season.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, August 11; 8:00pm ET
Location: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Chargers: Rock 105.3 FM, XTRA 1360 AM
Seahawks: 710 AM ESPN/ 97.3 KIRO
For more on the Chargers head over to Bolts from the Blue. For more on the Seahawks, check out Field Gulls. Follow the rest of preseason week one at SB Nation NFL.
NFL Preseason Schedule Starts Thursday Night
The 2011 NFL preseason schedule finally starts on Thursday night with five games. The first game kicks of at 7:30 p.m. (ET) and the last one kicks off at 10:00 p.m. (ET) so for the first time in six months we have a night full of football.
Baltimore Ravens vs. Philadelphia Eagles: The first team units may only play a series or two but could this be a better matchup for the first preseason game? The Ravens are a perennial contender and the Eagles made the biggest splashes in free agency acquiring, among many players, CB Nnamdi Asomugha. Great first game to watch.
Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New England Patriots: Another good game for a couple of reasons. First, we can get out first look at QB Blaine Gabbert, who will start for the Jaguars Thursday night. Second, we can get our first look at WR Chad Ochocinco in a Patriots uniform, if he plays. We’re not sure if DT Albert Haynesworth will be playing.
Seattle Seahawks vs. San Diego Chargers:The Seahawks added TE Zach Miller and WR Sidney Rice in free agency so if they play they’ll be the ones to watch. The Chargers, as usual, kept a lot of their own guys and didn’t make significant moves in free agency. With QB Philip Rivers, we know they’re going to be good.
Denver Broncos at Dallas Cowboys: The Broncos, under John Elway, are trying to make a come back. Their quarterback situation — Kyle Orton vs. Tim Tebow vs. Brady Quinn — has been one of the biggest story lines of training camp so it’ll be interesting to see who comes out of that battle (it’ll likely be Orton). The Cowboys meanwhile will draw a huge TV rating as they always do.
Arizona Cardinals at Oakland Raiders: The battle out west. The Cardinals acquired QB Kevin Kolb from the Eagles this offseason so folks want to see if they’re now a legit team with him at quarterback. The Raiders were on the rise last year but lost their best offensive player (TE Zach Miller) and best defensive player (CB Nnamdi Asomugha) in free agency. That’s not a good combination.