Preseason football isn't quite regular season football, but the third preseason game is pretty close.
At every level of football, teams will go through some kind of dress rehearsal before their regular season begins. Whether it's high school exhibition games, team scrimmages in college, or preseason NFL games, there is usually at least one game in which we see what a team will look like in their upcoming season.
For the Cincinnati Bengals, it comes Sunday when they hit the road to face the Jacksonville Jaguars. This game will be the best glimpse of what the Bengals will look like in 2016 before their regular season opens on September 11 against the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.
Sunday’s game will be the most we've seen of Andy Dalton since Week 13 of the 2015 season, his last full game before suffering a season-ending thumb injury the following week. Dalton has looked sharp in training camp and the first two preseason games, but those were in limited snaps.
Now, we'll see Dalton and the rest of the starters for one half of acton, and maybe into the third quarter. We'll also get to see a stout Bengals defense face an explosive Jaguars offense. Blake Bortles looked prime for a breakout year after a promising second season at the helm of Jacksonville's offense.
It certainly helps when you've got an outstanding receiver duo in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, not to mention a pair of dangerous tight ends in Julius Thomas and Marcedes Lewis. This will be a great test for the Bengals defense, particularly in a secondary that's a bit banged up at the moment.
Here is everything you'll need to know for the Jags and the Bengals dueling on Sunday Night Football.
Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars
Date: Aug. 28
Location: EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida
National TV: NBC Sunday Night Football broadcast
Broadcasters: Mike Tirico (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter).
Local TV: The game will be aired in the Bengals home market on WLWT-TV (Channel 5) in Cincinnati, WDTN-TV (Channel 2) in Dayton and on WLEX-TV (Channel 18) in Lexington, Ky.
Radio: Coverage on the Bengals Radio Network will be on Cincinnati flagship stations WLW-AM (700, The Big One), WCKY-AM (ESPN 1530; all sports) and WEBN-FM (102.7).
Announcers: Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Dave Lapham (analyst).
Odds: Jaguars -1.5, per Odds Shark.
Online Stream/Livestream: NFL Game Pass