Aaron Rodgers, rookie QB and others ready to debut

    Aaron Rodgers will play his first game in a New York Jets uniform on August 3.  (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

The NFL released its full preseason slate on Wednesday as teams continue to ramp up offseason activity ahead of the 2023 season in three months.

All but two teams will play three pre-season games this season. Here are the most intriguing storylines and matchups to look forward to as the collective world of the NFL whets its appetite for another season of football.

Prime time matches

The NFL preseason will feature five nationally televised games, including three over a four-day span over the past week.

Aaron Rodgers will make his New York Jets debut to kick off the preseason at the annual Hall of Fame game in Canton, Ohio against the Cleveland Browns on Thursday, August 3 at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. The Washington Commanders will face the Baltimore Ravens on ESPN on Monday, August 21.

Week 3 of the preseason will feature the teams of all three first-round rookies – Anthony Richardson’s Indianapolis Colts will face the Philadelphia Eagles on August 24 on Amazon Prime Video, Bryce Young’s Carolina Panthers will face the Detroit Lions on August 25 on CBS and CJ Stroud’s Houston Texans will face the New Orleans Saints on August 27 on Fox.

First Looks From Beginners

While the rookies’ prime-time debut won’t happen until the last week of the preseason, their first NFL starts will be a few weeks earlier.

Young plays the Jets, Stroud faces the New England Patriots (and former Texans head coach Bill O’Brien), and Richardson faces the Bills between Aug. 10-12. Tennessee Titans second-round quarterback Will Levis could also play against the Chicago Bears in Week 1 on August 12.

Bryce Young will make his NFL preseason debut.  (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Bryce Young will make his NFL preseason debut. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The post-Rodgers world of the Green Bay Packers officially begins on August 11 against the Cincinnati Bengals. It’s unclear how hard the Packers will play Love given his new QB1 status, but perhaps Green Bay will want to flaunt Love after Rodgers got their first Jets started eight days early in Ohio.

Love’s rise is a long time coming, but Packers wide receiver Romeo Doubs recently said he doesn’t see much difference between his new quarterback and Rodgers. Debate that all you want.

Old faces, new places

Besides Rodgers in New York, there are a few big names who could make their first appearances in new threads in Week 1.

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. could face the Philadelphia Eagles if he fully recovers from a torn ACL in the 2022 Super Bowl. Beckham Jr. sat out last season before signing with the Ravens during the offseason.

Miami Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey, who was traded from the Los Angeles Rams, could play against the Atlanta Falcons. Calvin Ridley could return to the NFL after a one-year suspension with the Jacksonville Jaguars against the Dallas Cowboys. Baker Mayfield, the suspected starting quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, could face the Pittsburgh Steelers.

While Derek Carr will likely make his first start for the New Orleans Saints, Jimmy Garoppolo may not make his for the Las Vegas Raiders if his foot isn’t fully healed from offseason surgery.

Sean Payton will coach his first game with the Denver Broncos against the Arizona Cardinals and Jonathan Gannon on August 11.

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