Week 3 of the NFL preseason is roundly considered to be the most revealing. Teams often run through practice as if it's a game week during the regular season, and starters often remain in games until halftime or beyond. Whoever trots with the starting units after kickoff likely has a leg-up in any tight position battles that have yet to be decided.
Fans will want to keep a very watchful eye on their respective teams this week. Here's rundown of every game so you know what to look for.
Thursday, Aug. 22
New England Patriots vs. Detroit Lions (7:30 p.m. ET): The Patriots' receiving corps has been an interesting place in recent weeks, with undrafted rookie free agent Kenbrell Thompson seemingly taking on a big role as of late. The Lions still need wide receiver not named Calvin Johnson to step up. Thankfully, the team has figured out outside linebacker.
Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens (8 p.m.): The Ravens' reshuffled defense still has a few positions still up for grabs. Corey Graham and Jimmy Smith are duking things out for the right to start across the field from Lardarius Webb at Cornerback, and one of Josh Bynes and Arthur Brown has yet to emerge as a reliable starter at linebacker for the regular season opener.
Friday, Aug. 23
Seattle Seahawks vs. Green Bay Packers (8 p.m.): The Packers have a pair of interesting position battles on special teams, with Giorgio Tavecchio pushing Mason Crosby at kicker, and Micah Hyde and Jeremy Ross competing for top punt returner duties. The Seahawks still have some work to do in the trenches.
Chicago Bears vs. Oakland Raiders (10 p.m.): Both the Bears and the Raiders will be hoping to see big things from their offensive lines. The Bears' line had a solid Week 2 outing after a shaky Week 1. Week 3 could reveal where things truly stand and whether more changes are needed. The Raiders, meanwhile, are hoping desperately hoping Alex Barron will be serviceable after losing Jared Veldheer to injury.
Saturday, Aug. 24
Buffalo Bills vs. Washington Redskins (4:30 p.m.): The Bills' quarterback situation is still murky, between E.J. Manuel's knee surgery and Kevin Kolb's hardships during training camp. Saturday's game will hopefully be a good barometer. The Redskins may or may not have Kirk Cousins this weekend meaning they could be seeing A LOT of Rex Grossman, which could make it difficult to discern a reliable No. 2 wideout.
Cleveland Browns vs. Indianapolis Colts (7 p.m.): An injury to Jason Pinkston left the Browns scrambling for a left guard. With a trade for John Moffitt voided due to a failed physical, the Browns are once again hoping that Garrett Gilkey can be reliable. The Colts added depth at wide receiver this week, and are hoping to uncover a gem in either David Reed or Maurice Williams.
New York Jets vs. New York Giants (7 p.m.): The Giants' offensive line was dealt another serious blow Wednesday with the loss of David Diehl. They could try out several offensive line combinations Saturday to determine an ideal lineup. The Jets' quarterback battle remains entertaining as always.
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Pittsburgh Steelers (7:30 p.m.): With Le'Veon Bell now out with a Lisfranc injury, the Steelers will be hoping for Jonathan Dwyer to take ownership of the running back position. The Chiefs will be hoping to see the second youngest offensive line in the NFL show cohesion.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Miami Dolphins (7:30 p.m.): The Buccaneers brought in Rian Lindell to compete with David Dimke for the starting kicker job after placing Lawrence Tynes on injured reserve. The Dolphins are hoping to see definitive separation between running backs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Jacksonville Jaguars (7:30 p.m.): With the Eagles' quarterback battle settled, the team can turn its attention to finding a starter opposite Cary Williams at cornerback. The Jaguars have also figured out their quarterback situation, allowing them the opportunity to test out pass rushers.
Cincinnati Bengals vs. Dallas Cowboys (8 p.m.): The Cowboys have questions at offensive guard, where Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau have yet to prove much and could be pushed for playing time. If Hard Knocks is any indication, the fullback battle between Orson Charles and John Connor could be fun to watch.
St. Louis Rams vs. Denver Broncos (8 p.m.): The Broncos continue to try and get their defense on track amid injuries and a suspension of Von Miller, while the Rams recently named Daryl Richardson their starting running back and will look to see more from him in their third game.
Atlanta Falcons vs. Tennessee Titans (8 p.m.): The Falcons are happy to have tight end Tony Gonzalez back in training camp. Gonzalez missed the past three weeks of practice for personal reasons (as part of his agreement to come out of retirement), but he'll still play in Saturday's game against the Titans.
San Diego Chargers vs. Arizona Cardinals (10 p.m.): Arizona is revamping things on both sides of the ball, and even got special teams in the mix with a recent signing of kicker Dan Carpenter. The Chargers, on the other hand, continue to evaluate the running game as they try and find some assistance for an aging Philip Rivers.
Sunday, Aug. 25
New Orleans Saints vs. Houston Texans (4 p.m.): It's unlikely we'll see any of him, but Arian Foster recently came off the PUP list so the backs behind him will get one last chance to shine and establish a pecking order.
Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers (8 p.m.): The 49ers are among the best teams in the NFL, but they have yet to set their wide receiver and cornerback depth charts. Carlos Rogers, Tarell Brown, Nnamdi Asomugha and Perrish Cox will compete on Sunday, and new acquisition Jon Baldwin will try and impress his new team early.