The NFL is back! Or at least the preseason version of it is.
The league will kick off its 100th season on Thursday with the Hall of Fame Game between the Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons. The exhibition matchup will serve as the introduction to all of the festivities in Canton, Ohio, as the Pro Football Hall of Fame will hold its annual induction ceremony on Saturday.
Here’s everything you need to know for Thursday’s game between the Broncos and Falcons.
Kickoff time: 8 p.m. ET
Date: Thursday, Aug. 1
Location: Canton, Ohio
TV channel: NBC
Things to Watch
Little to No Action for Starters
In the Hall of Fame game there is rarely any playing time for the starters and this year wont be any different. Starters won’t see any significant playing time until the third preseason game and both these teams have 5, so it could be a while before we see any hard hitting snaps from the starters.
Drew Lock’s Preseason Debut
Joe Flacco’s Denver debut will have to wait, as the 34-year-old won’t play Thursday. But the Broncos’ quarterback outlook still bears watching with second-round pick Drew Lock set to serve as the backup to Kevin Hogan. Lock has had his ups and downs in training camp so far. He will be playing with the 2nd/3rd string offense so keep that in mind when evaluating his performance. What we are really looking for is Drew Lock on time with his receivers, can he read a defense, and his throwing mechanics.
Falcons Running Backs
Devonta Freeman is not expected to take a snap in Thursday night’s preseason game versus the Broncos which will give us all an extended look at the rest of the running backs on the roster. The two running backs in particular you want to watch for is Ito Smith and Qadree Ollison. Smith is the immediate backup to Freeman, but word from beat reporters out of Falcons training camp say that Ollison will get goal line work, which could cut into Freeman’s production and overall fantasy value.