It’s a bit of a dead period in the NFL right now after the Super Bowl and before free agency begins. So any news is welcome from the Shield. We have some: the teams for the first preseason game have been announced.
The NFL always kicks off its preseason with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio. It usually invites teams to play in that game who have ties to those being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that weekend. That will be again be the case this summer as the Dallas Cowboys will face the Arizona Cardinals at the new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton. Former Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner, who played for the Cardinals from 2005-2009, is part of the 2017 Hall class as is Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones.
There is one major change, however: the game will be held Thursday, Aug. 3. It had been played on Sunday nights. You may remember that last year’s Hall of Fame Game between the Packers and Colts was canceled because of a paint problem on the field. It was a total embarrassment for the NFL, even if most starters barely play if at all.
The Cowboys, who are the +490 favorites on 5Dimes NFL odds to win the NFC title this coming season, are 2-3 in the Hall of Fame Game all-time. They last played in 2010 and beat Cincinnati 16-7. It’s the fifth HOF Game for the Cardinals franchise when including its St. Louis days. Arizona last played the game in 2012 and lost 17-10 to New Orleans.
Playing in the Hall of Fame Game means the Cardinals and Cowboys can start their training camps a bit earlier than the other 30 teams. It also requires another meaningless exhibition and most players hate it. Count Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald, a lock for Canton someday, among those not thrilled. He tweeted: “Worst news ever! 5 pre season games & an extra week of training camp. Smh...”
It worked out in a way for the Cardinals as they have to vacate their University of Phoenix Stadium that week because of a Metallica concert scheduled for Aug. 4. They hold their training camp there. The Cards are +1200 on NFL picks to win this season’s NFC title.
There’s no line out for this game yet at SBR Forum’s top sportsbooks (take the 'under'!), but I’m sure it won’t be too long. Arizona and Dallas haven’t played in the regular season since 2014, and the Cowboys have lost the past four meetings that have counted vs. the Cards. Dallas will visit Arizona during the 2017 regular season.
No other preseason games have been released yet.Bet On 2017 NFL Futures Now At SBR Forum's Top Sportsbooks