For quite a few people, it's hard to get excited for preseason despite your love of the pigskin. The chance of injuries to your favorite players, from both a team purpose and a fantasy football purpose, has many cringing with each snap. But this is a necessary risk if you want those said players in top form come the start of the season so my advice to you people that feel this way is this; just relax and make the most of it, it's football!
With week 2 of the NFL preseason upon us, there is a ton to get excited over. Teams that have struggled in recent years, teams like the Detroit Lions and the Cleveland Browns, are coming off of encouraging week 1 performances by key starters and are looking to see if that was a fluke or a step in the right direction. There are a number of rookies making waves out there as well as players such as Mark Ingram of the New Orleans Saints and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers have impressed to this point.
So, in wrapping this into a tidy neat bow, preseason football does have its draws.
This weekends games start Thursday night with two good ones kicking it off. The first one features the New England Patriots looking to light it up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Both these teams are playoff caliber so this could be a really interesting game. But while this is an exciting matchup, its the second game that will rivet fans across the nation as the Battle of Pennsylvania pits the defending AFC Champions, the Pittsburgh Steelers against the most talked about team so far this season, the Philadelphia Eagles.
For the Steelers, the game will be about knocking some of the dust off the tires and getting out of the night without any catastrophic injuries, but for the Eagles, it'll be about working in all the new pieces and getting them comfortable on the field in their new uniforms. The Eagles are easily the most hyped team sports have seen this side of Miami and the pressure on them is enormous. You almost have to believe it's SuperBowl or bust for them, the expectations are that high!
No team or season is made in a single game, outside of the playoffs, but tonight's matchup is easily the Eagles toughest of the preseason and should provide a good test for the effectiveness of some of what they want to do.
And while it won't be four quarters of intense action, we'll be at least assured of one quarter that will resemble some real football, and since two months ago the sport was in limbo, I'll take that limited display.
The New England-Tampa Bay game kicks off at 7:30 pm while the Steelers-Eagles matchup begins at 8 pm.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS