2018 NFL preseason schedule for all 32 teams – ESPN (blog)


The NFL on Wednesday announced the complete preseason schedule for 2018, featuring the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears in the Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio, on Thursday, Aug. 2.

Check out the schedule for each team below. Dates aren’t yet set, but here is the range when each game will be played:

  • Week 1: Aug. 9-13

  • Week 2: Aug. 16-20

  • Week 3: Aug. 23-27

  • Week 4: Aug. 30-31

AFC East | AFC North| AFC South | AFC West
NFC East | NFC North | NFC South | NFC West


AFC EAST

Week 1: vs. Carolina Panthers

Week 2: at Cleveland Browns

Week 3: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week 4: at Chicago Bears

Analysis: The Bills’ preseason schedule features Browns quarterback Tyrod Taylor facing his former team in Cleveland, assuming Taylor plays in the second preseason game. The most important game, the third against Cincinnati, will be nationally televised on Fox. Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton, whose last-second touchdown pass in the regular-season finale last season propelled Buffalo into the playoffs, will receive a warm welcome at New Era Field. That game will also feature former Bengals and current Bills quarterback AJ McCarron and center Russell Bodine playing against their former team. Former Bills and current Bengals offensive tackle Cordy Glenn and linebackeran Preston Brown will also return to Buffalo. For the first time since 2001, the Bills will not conclude their preseason with the nearby Detroit Lions, instead traveling to Chicago. — Mike Rodak

Week 1: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 2: at Carolina Panthers

Week 3: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 4: at Atlanta Falcons

Analysis: The Dolphins’ most important preseason game, their third against Baltimore, will be a rematch of Miami’s worst loss last season — a 40-0 defeat at M&T Bank Stadium. It should be a good test for Miami’s retooled roster and for quarterback Ryan Tannehill, whose participation in the preseason after ACL surgery last year will be a point of focus. — Jeff Legwold

Week 1: vs. Washington Redskins

Week 2: vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Week 3: at Carolina Panthers

Week 4: at New York Giants

Analysis: Bill Belichick enjoys the opportunity to increase the competition level in training camp by holding joint practices, and the possibility of doing it with the Eagles in Week 2 is intriguing because of the recent history between the teams in Super Bowl LII. In 2014, Belichick’s Patriots and Jay Gruden’s Redskins held joint practices and perhaps they’d consider doing it again. This will be the 14th year in a row the Patriots and Giants meet in the preseason finale. — Mike Reiss

Week 1: vs. Atlanta Falcons

Week 2: at Washington Redskins

Week 3: vs. New York Giants

Week 4: at Philadelphia Eagles

Analysis: The Jets play four NFC teams and will have their first nationally televised preseason game since 2012 — Aug. 16 at Washington on ESPN. The big storyline, as usual, will be the quarterback situation. Assuming the Jets draft a quarterback with the No. 3 overall pick, this schedule will allow them to unveil their QB of the future before the home fans. It’ll be against a fast and aggressive Atlanta defense, but at least he’ll have the support of the home crowd. — Rich Cimini


AFC NORTH

Hall of Fame Game: vs. Chicago Bears (in Canton, Ohio)

Week 1: vs. Los Angeles Rams

Week 2: at Indianapolis Colts

Week 3: Miami Dolphins

Week 4: vs. Washington Redskins

Analysis: The typically meaningless preseason finale could get some added drama if new Ravens backup quarterback Robert Griffin III gets extended playing time against his former team. Griffin has yet to play the Redskins since they released him last offseason. The big challenge for Baltimore will be protecting Joe Flacco in the third preseason game, when the Ravens must block pass-rushers Cameron Wake and Robert Quinn. — Jamison Hensley

Week 1: vs. Chicago Bears

Week 2: at Dallas Cowboys

Week 3: at Buffalo Bills

Week 4: vs Indianapolis Colts

Analysis: The Bengals will get a chance to see the one that got away if their former quarterback, AJ McCarron, suits up as the Bills’ Game 3 starter. The Bengals attempted to keep McCarron on as a restricted free agent but lost a grievance, allowing him to sign with Buffalo, where he might get a chance to start. There’s a reason this game is nationally televised, as the Bengals and Bills have developed a chummy relationship since the Bengals’ win against the Ravens in Week 17 sent the Bills to the playoffs, prompting fan donations and a gift of Buffalo wings to Cincinnati. That’s not to mention the players the teams have swapped this offseason (in addition to McCarron, Bills LT Cordy Glenn, Bills LB Preston Brown and Bengals C Russell Bodine all switched sides). — Katherine Terrell

Week 1: at New York Giants

Week 2: vs. Buffalo Bills

Week 3: vs. Philadelphia Eagles (FOX, Aug. 23)

Week 4: at Detroit Lions

Analysis: The Browns will get a gauge on how much they’ve improved from a winless season when they host the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles in the third preseason game. That game should provide a small barometer of where the Browns are because both teams should play their starters for at least a half. In Week 2, Tyrod Taylor will face the Bills, the team that let him go after last season. Taylor started 43 game for the Bills the past three seasons. The opener will also feature the top two picks in the draft (assuming no trades change the order). — Pat McManamon

Week 1: at Philadelphia Eagles

Week 2: at Green Bay Packers

Week 3: vs. Tennessee Titans

Week 4: vs. Carolina Panthers

Analysis: The Steelers need to fortify their linebacker and secondary depth, so facing the Super Bowl champs in Week 1 will be a good test for the middle of the defense. Many offensive starters might not play until Tennessee, which gave up four touchdowns to Ben Roethlisberger in Week 11 last season. New safety Morgan Burnett will return to Green Bay, where he started 104 games since 2010. — Jeremy Fowler


AFC SOUTH

Week 1: at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 2: vs. San Francisco 49ers

Week 3: at Los Angeles Rams

Week 4: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Analysis: If the Texans’ offense is looking for a good test to get ready for the season, they’ll get it in Week 3 against the Rams and their improved secondary. Deshaun Watson is expected to be ready to get back on the field sometime this spring, so the unit should be nearing regular-season form by this game. — Sarah Barshop

Week 1: at Seattle Seahawks

Week 2: vs. Baltimore Ravens

Week 3: vs. San Francisco 49ers

Week 4: at Cincinnati Bengals

Analysis: The preseason will be centered on quarterback Andrew Luck‘s return — if that remains the case — from his right shoulder injury. If healthy, every snap Luck takes in preseason games will be important because he hasn’t played against an opponent since the last week of the 2016 regular season. He has to work on finding his rhythm and confidence again while playing in a new offense under coach Frank Reich. He also has get used to being hit by an opponent again. — Mike Wells

Week 1: vs. New Orleans Saints

Week 2: at Minnesota Vikings

Week 3: vs. Atlanta Falcons

Week 4: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Analysis: There’s a feeling around the franchise that the offense should be more consistent and explosive in the second full season under coordinator Nathaniel Hackett after the additions of G Andrew Norwell, WR Donte Moncrief, and TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins and the continued growth of QB Blake Bortles and RB Leonard Fournette. That will be tested throughout the first three weeks of the preseason because the Saints, Vikings and Falcons all finished in the top 10 in scoring last season and the Vikings and Falcons both had top-10 run defenses. — Mike DiRocco

Week 1: at Green Bay Packers

Week 2: vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 3: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 4: vs. Minnesota Vikings

Analysis: Our first glimpse of Marcus Mariota under the new Titans’ offensive scheme and Mike Vrabel as a head coach will come in a showcase against Aaron Rodgers’ Packers. The highlight of the preseason schedule, however, comes a week later against the Bucs. It will be the first time that Jameis Winston and Mariota, the top two picks of the 2015 NFL draft, have faced off since Week 1 of their rookie seasons. Mariota outdueled Winston that day throwing four touchdowns with a perfect passer rating in a 42-14 win. Both quarterbacks are at a crossroads going into their fourth season. The Titans also get a great test for their confident secondary in a regular-season dress rehearsal against a Steelers team that embarrassed them on national TV last November. — Cameron Wolfe


AFC WEST

Week 1: vs. Minnesota Vikings

Week 2: vs. Chicago Bears

Week 3: at Washington Redskins

Week 4: at Arizona Cardinals

Analysis: It will be just the second time over the past 22 years the Broncos will open their preseason schedule with a home game. And while newly minted quarterback Case Keenum probably will get only a cameo in the game, it will be against his former team. The Broncos’ defense figures to get an extended look at their former starting quarterback in Trevor Siemian, who was traded to the Vikings last month. — Jeff Legwold

Week 1: vs. Houston Texans

Week 2: at Atlanta Falcons

Week 3: at Chicago Bears

Week 4: vs. Green Bay Packers

Analysis: The featured game is against former offensive coordinator Matt Nagy, the new head coach of the Bears. That Week 3 game should also match the first two quarterbacks drafted last season in Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes II and Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky. — Adam Teicher

Week 1: at Arizona Cardinals

Week 2: vs. Seattle Seahawks

Week 3: vs. New Orleans Saints

Week 4: at San Francisco 49ers

Analysis: The Chargers will host the Saints for a second straight season in preseason play, a nationally televised game on Aug. 25. That opens up the possibility of the Chargers and Saints competing in joint practices again. The Bolts finish preseason play against the 49ers for the 15th time in 16 years. The Chargers finished 1-3 in exhibition play in Anthony Lynn’s first season as a head coach last year and are 133-120-4 as a franchise. — Eric D. Williams

Week 1: vs. Detroit Lions

Week 2: at Los Angeles Rams

Week 3: vs. Green Bay Packers

Week 4: at Seattle Seahawks

Analysis: Jon Gruden’s second tenure as Raiders coach, 20 years after he began his first run in Oakland, will feature an intriguing mix of opponents in the preseason. The Week 2 game at the Rams in the Los Angeles Coliseum, which the Raiders called home from 1982-1994, will stir passions in the Southland. So, too, will the all-important Week 3 matchup against new Raiders WR Jordy Nelson‘s old club. Truly, though, Gruden will use the preseason to see if his rebuilt roster full of veteran “Gruden Grinders” — Oakland has signed 19 free agents since March 14 — will jibe with his philosophy and have places on the team. — Paul Gutierrez


NFC EAST

Week 1: at San Francisco 49ers

Week 2: vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Week 3: vs. Arizona Cardinals

Week 4: at Houston Texans

Analysis: Given how the Cowboys have approached the preseason under Jason Garrett, the only game of consequence will be against the Cardinals since the starters should play into the second half. The Cardinals have added Sam Bradford as their quarterback but could take one in the first round of the draft. They also added Justin Pugh and Andre Smith to help their line with running back David Johnson returning to health. Arizona has a new coach in Steve Wilks, who was the Carolina Panthers defensive coordinator. He has one of the best pass-rushers in football in Chandler Jones and likes to attack, so that should be a good matchup for the Cowboys’ offense. — Todd Archer

Week 1: vs. Cleveland Browns

Week 2: at Detroit Lions

Week 3: at New York Jets

Week 4: vs. New England Patriots

Analysis: The Giants are in discussions about potential joint practices. It would make the most sense for those to involve either the Lions or Browns. It’s possible Week 1: preseason opening matchup with the Browns will pit two of this year’s draft’s top quarterbacks against each another. Also not to be forgotten, Odell Beckham Jr. was injured last preseason on a hit that some considered questionable against the Browns. — Jordan Raanan

Week 1: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 2: at New England Patriots

Week 3: at Cleveland Browns

Week 4: vs. New York Jets

Analysis: It can hardly be called a rematch, but the fact that the Eagles will play the Patriots after defeating them in Super Bowl LII this past February adds a little juice to the preseason schedule. There’s a good chance Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will get the start as Carson Wentz continues to work back from a torn ACL and LCL. That should bring some very fond memories to the surface for Eagles fans. — Tim McManus

Week 1: at New England Patriots

Week 2: vs. New York Jets

Week 3: vs. Denver Broncos

Week 4: at Baltimore Ravens

Analysis: Newly-signed Ravens quarterback Robert Griffin III gets a chance to face his former team — and might need a strong showing to make the roster — though it won’t be at his old stadium. The Redskins will face two defenses that played well in 2017: Denver and Baltimore. But they might have to wait until the regular season to see if their defense has improved. New England sometimes doesn’t play its starters in the opener, and the Jets, Broncos and Ravens did not have good offenses last season. They’ll face former Redskins Spencer Long and Terrelle Pryor in Week 2 when new QB Alex Smith makes his home debut. — John Keim


NFC NORTH

Hall of Fame Game: vs. Baltimore Ravens (Canton, Ohio), Aug 2.

Week 1: at Cincinnati Bengals

Week 2: at Denver Broncos

Week 3: vs. Kansas City Chiefs

Week 4: vs. Buffalo Bills

Analysis: Second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky has an extra week of preseason action to immerse himself in the playbook of new Bears head coach Matt Nagy. The offense — a similar scheme to what Andy Reid runs in Kansas City — is a radical departure from the system Trubisky ran last year as a rookie. The Bears’ entire offense will benefit from having a fifth preseason game in the summer. — Jeff Dickerson

Week 1: at Oakland Raiders

Week 2: vs New York Giants

Week 3: at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Week 4: vs Cleveland Browns

Analysis: The Tampa Bay offense with Jameis Winston and Mike Evans should be a decent test for a new-look Lions defense in Week 3 of the preseason — particularly with the scheme change implemented by new coach Matt Patricia and defensive coordinator Paul Pasqualoni. The biggest surprise on the schedule is not seeing the Bills on it. It’s the first time since 2001 that the Lions and Bills haven’t met in the preseason finale. Instead, the Browns return to the preseason schedule for the first time since 2014 — the last time the Lions had a new head coach, Jim Caldwell. — Michael Rothstein

Week 1: vs Tennessee Titans

Week 2: vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

Week 3: at Oakland Raiders

Week 4: at Kansas City Chiefs

Analysis: The Packers should find out at least two things this summer: whether DeShone Kizer is any better than Brett Hundley, and what Jordy Nelson still has left in the tank. Kizer, acquired in a trade from the Browns last month, should get extensive work early in the preseason and against a couple of pretty solid defenses in the Titans and Steelers. Hundley posted his highest passer rating (134.3) of the season last year against the Steelers, and Kizer should be familiar with them coming from the AFC North so it should be a good measuring stick for the newest backup QB. Nelson, who was released by the Packers last month and signed with the Raiders, could see a lot of playing time against his old team given that most coaches play their starters extensively in the third preseason game. This also could be the only game where Aaron Rodgers gets any significant playing time. It’s an all-AFC preseason schedule, and the Packers won’t face any of their preseason foes in the regular season since they play the AFC East this year. — Rob Demovsky

Week 1: at Denver

Week 2: vs. Jacksonville

Week 3: vs. Seattle

Week 4: at Tennessee

Analysis: The Case Keenum revenge game might not last more than a couple of series given the Vikings play in Denver the first week of the preseason, but Minnesota might get a chance to face all three of its former quarterbacks in 2018 between the Broncos, Cardinals (Sam Bradford) and Jets (Teddy Bridgewater). The Vikings’ D-line is in the conversation with Jacksonville — their Week 2 opponent — as one of the elite units in the NFL and will get to test the strength of its rotation throughout the preseason. — Courtney Cronin


NFC SOUTH

Week 1: vs. New York Jets

Week 2: at Kansas City Chiefs

Week 3: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 4: at Miami Dolphins

Analysis: The Falcons get their first chance to see how much they’ve advanced in Year 2 under offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian with the preseason schedule. Of all the games, the third exhibition is typically the one where the starters get the most game action, so it will be interesting to see how the offense has progressed by then — particularly in the red zone — against one of the league’s top defenses last season. Jacksonville was second in the NFL in red zone defense in 2017, allowing opponents to convert less than 40 percent of those opportunities. The Falcons converted 50 percent in the red zone last season, which was in the bottom half of the league. The Falcons will also work in their new players, including guard Brandon Fusco, special-teamer Justin Bethel, blocking tight end Logan Paulsen, and the rookie first-round draft pick, which seems likely to be a defensive tackle. — Vaughn McClure

Week 1: at Buffalo Bills

Week 2: vs. New England Patriots

Week 3: vs. vs. Miami Dolphins

Week 4: at Pittsburgh Steelers

Analysis: The Panthers will be without outside linebacker Thomas Davis for the first four games of the regular season as he serves a suspension for testing positive for PEDs, so they’ll use the preseason to get Shaq Thompson acclimated to Davis’ role. They’ll also use it to get backups (Ben Jacobs, Jared Norris, Richie Brown) or a draft pick to replace Thompson. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly also might be limited as he rehabs from shoulder surgery, so David Mayo should get plenty of time with this schedule. Facing the AFC champion Patriots in Week 3 should be a good test for the defense. Facing Buffalo in the first week should be a good test for Cam Newton‘s new group of receivers. — David Newton

Week 1: at Jacksonville Jaguars

Week 2: vs. Arizona Cardinals

Week 3: at Los Angeles Chargers

Week 4: vs. Los Angeles Rams

Analysis: The Saints will certainly get a chance to evaluate newly-signed Cameron Meredith and their entire receiving corps against some of the NFL’s best cornerbacks this summer. There will be some must-see viewing whenever Drew Brees and Pro Bowl receiver Michael Thomas match up against corners like Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, Arizona’s Patrick Peterson and the Chargers’ Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett and Trevor Williams — especially if the Saints decide to hold some joint practices this summer like they usually do. The Saints’ loaded offensive line will also get some great work against duos like Calais Campbell and Yannick Ngakoue; Chandler Jones and Markus Golden; and Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. — Mike Triplett

Week 1: at Miami Dolphins

Week 2: at Tennessee Titans

Week 3: vs. Detroit Lions

Week 4: vs. Jacksonville Jaguars

Analysis: The Bucs will not only play the Titans in Week 2, but will have joint practices with them. That means Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota, who were selected first and second overall in the 2015 NFL draft, will be working on adjacent practice fields. Considering Mariota already has taken his team to the playoffs and Winston is coming off a shoulder injury in 2017, this should really up the ante, especially for a guy Bucs GM Jason Licht referred to as the “ultimate competitor.” The Bucs’ Week 3 game against the Lions will also be nationally televised on CBS. — Jenna Laine


NFC WEST

Week 1: vs. L.A. Chargers

Week 2: at New Orleans Saints

Week 3: at Dallas Cowboys

Week 4: vs. Denver Broncos

Analysis: The Cardinals’ third preseason game at Dallas on Aug. 26 in prime time will carry extra weight if quarterback Sam Bradford is behind center. Not only would it likely be Bradford’s most time running the Cardinals’ offense, it’ll be on national TV, potentially giving the world a look at how far Bradford has come since his knee scope in November. While a lot of eyes would be on Bradford should he play, an equal number of eyes will be watching running back David Johnson as he returns from a fractured wrist. Last season, Arizona’s previous coaching regime protected Johnson during the preseason, so it raises the question: What will new head coach Steve Wilks do with Johnson? — Josh Weinfuss

Week 1: at Baltimore Ravens

Week 2: vs. Oakland Raiders

Week 3: vs. Houston Texans

Week 4: at New Orleans Saints

Analysis: The Raiders will be returning to Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, a place they called home from 1982 to 1994, and they’ll do so with new coach Jon Gruden, a key mentor for Rams coach Sean McVay. This matchup — a precursor to one that will also take place during the regular season — will come in the preseason’s second week, so plenty of starters will suit up. — Alden Gonzalez

Week 1: vs. Dallas Cowboys

Week 2: at Houston Texans

Week 3: at Indianapolis Colts

Week 4: vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Analysis: The 49ers and cornerback Richard Sherman are expecting his return from a ruptured Achilles to come at the start of training camp. That doesn’t mean he’ll be ready to play in games right away, though. Keep an eye on the third preseason game as it will be the first chance for an extended look at Sherman as a Niner. — Nick Wagoner

Week 1: vs. Indianapolis Colts

Week 2: at Los Angeles Chargers

Week 3: at Minnesota Vikings

Week 4: vs. Oakland Raiders

Analysis: If there is such thing as an intriguing preseason matchup, Seahawks vs. Vikings in Week 3 would qualify. The reigning NFC North champs are the best of Seattle’s four opponents and they’ll host the Seahawks. It’ll be something of a progress report for Seattle’s offensive line under new position coach Mike Solari against one of the league’s better defensive fronts, which added former Seahawk Sheldon Richardson in free agency. On the other side of the ball, Seattle’s new-look secondary sans Richard Sherman (and perhaps Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas as well) should see plenty of Kirk Cousins. — Brady Henderson

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