While it certainly won't compare to the real thing, there's still plenty to watch as week one of the NFL preseason kicks off on Thursday night. There will be 14 games played between Thursday and Friday, and although we won't see a ton of action from most team's starters, plenty of players farther down the roster will be fighting for their jobs, and in some cases their careers.
What should you keep your eyes on over the next two days? Let's take a look at some of the most intriguing match-ups of the week.
Washington at Tennessee, Thursday 8 PM EST
Washington has seemingly spent most of training camp thus far trying to gauge just how far Robert Griffin III has progressed in his recovery from his devastating knee injury, but there are plenty of questions on the defensive side of the ball as well. Perhaps most intriguing will be the play of the rookie Redskins in the secondary. David Amerson, Phillip Thomas, and Bacari Rambo will all be looking to prove they're worthy of getting on the field sooner than later for a team that will have expectations of making a deep playoff run.
St. Louis at Cleveland, Thursday 8 PM EST
Even though St. Louis figures to be unveiling a new offensive scheme in the regular season, it's likely that their game plan on Thursday will be very vanilla. What is certain, however is that there will be no more hotly contested position battle on Thursday than the one between the Rams running backs. With Daryl Richardson, Isaiah Pead, and Zac Stacy all possessing legitimate chances at earning the starting job, every preseason snap will be crucial for these three backs.
Seattle at San Diego, Thursday 10 PM EST
There aren't too many rookies who will have been thrust in to the spotlight this season more than Keenan Allen has. Drafted as a player with the expectations of that would have a complimentary role in the Chargers' 2013 offense, injuries to Danario Alexander and Vincent Brown have greatly changed the outlook on Allen's season. The rookie wide out now needs to prove over the next four weeks that he can be a key part of San Diego’s passing attack.
New York Jets at Detroit, Friday 7:30 EST
The Jets continue to provide the NFL with plenty of drama, and once again much of it revolves around quarterback Mark Sanchez. The oft-criticized Sanchez could very well be making the last start of his career as a Jet if you believe what many around the team are whispering. He'll need a strong showing if he wants to hold off rookie Geno Smith for another week.
New England at Philadelphia, Friday 7:30 EST
Like the Jets, the Eagles will also be attempting to begin to sort out what could be a very complicated quarterback situation. But not only with the quarterbacks be under scrutiny, but the players on the receiving end of their passes will be too. Now that Jeremy Maclin will be missing the entire season, the position group as a whole is a big question mark. Jason Avant, Damaris Johnson, and Russell Shepard will all be battling for a chance at serious playing time during the regular season.
Kansas City at New Orleans, Friday 8 PM EST
Kansas City has spent years looking for a game changing tight end since the departure of Tony Gonzalez. During the first two weeks of camp, rookie Travis Kelce is giving the Chiefs reason to think they just may have finally done so. Kelce has been the biggest bright spot of the summer in Kansas City, and many already think he's well on his way to winning the week one starting job outright. The next step for Kelce will be to make the same kind of plays he's made in camp in a real game situation.