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NFL Preseason Commences

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks begin their preseasons with a rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII.

The Broncos and Seahawks begin their preseasons with a rematch of Super Bowl XLVIII.

The 2014 NFL season draws a step closer Thursday as the preseason schedule officially gets underway.

The New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills 17-13 in the Hall of Fame Game on Sunday, the league’s official curtain-raiser, but for the NFL’s other 30 sides, the road to Super Bowl XLIX starts now.

The Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks – Super Bowl participants this past February – have played a cat and mouse game at the top of the NFL futures list this offseason.

Right now, the Broncos (13/2) are a narrow favorite over the Seahawks (7/1) to lift the Lombardi Trophy on February 1, 2015, according to online sportsbook Bovada.

It seems fitting then that the two sides will meet at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on Thursday, one of six games on the docket to kick-start three nights of footballing action.

While the preseason rarely offers up strong competition and physical play, this will at least be a chance to see how the two conference champions might shape up when things get underway for real in a month’s time.

The Broncos-Seahawks game isn’t the only Super Bowl rematch on Thursday’s schedule.

On the east coast, the Baltimore Ravens will host the San Francisco 49ers in a rematch of Super Bowl XLIII.

Both sides will be looking to improve this season. The Ravens were consistently inconsistent and missed the playoffs, while the Niners were unable to get the better of division rivals Seattle in the NFC Championship Game.

The Niners are ranked fourth by Bovada, while the Ravens are outside of the top 10, and considered third best in the NFC North.

Thursday also features a matchup between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. Both sides advanced to the playoffs a season ago, each coming unstuck in the wild card round.

Other intriguing matchups during the first week of preseason action include the Philadelphia Eagles making a trip to the Windy City to face the Chicago Bears on Saturday; a matchup of teams with uncertain futures as the New York Giants hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday; and the Cleveland Browns visiting the Detroit Lions on Sunday, a game that could see the ubiquitous Johnny Manziel take a few snaps.

You can find a full list of Week 1 preseason games below.

Right now, Peyton Manning is the bookmakers' choice for MVP.

Right now, Peyton Manning is the bookmakers’ choice for MVP.

As bettors it’s important to remember that these games mean nothing, which makes picking a winner more of a crapshoot than an advanced science.

However, there will be plenty of action to be had in terms on in-game betting, while watching the sides try to find their way may help you spot potential weaknesses (or strengths) as we head towards the regular season.

The preseason will also give you an opportunity to assess your fantasy football prospects, or even identify a dark horse for the MVP award.

Right now, Bovada has Peyton Manning (3/1) as the MVP favorite, ahead of Aaron Rodgers (6/1) and Drew Brees (8/1). But will the likes of Jay Cutler (20/1) or Matt Ryan (33/1) do enough in this opening week of preseason to convince you to lay some cash down? Will they even play? Who knows?

So, hit the fridge for some snacks and refreshments and get settled in for the first round of the NFL’s preseason dance. Then start counting the days until the regular season kicks off.

NFL Preseason – Week 1 Schedule


Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins

San Francisco 49ers at Baltimore Ravens

Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs

Seattle Seahawks at Denver Broncos

Dallas Cowboys at San Diego Chargers


Miami Dolphins at Atlanta Falcons

Buffalo Bills at Carolina Panthers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Jacksonville Jaguars

Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings

Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears

New Orleans Saints at St. Louis Rams


Cleveland Browns at Detroit Lions

Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants

Green Bay Packers at Tennessee Titans

Houston Texans at Arizona Cardinals

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