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When does the NFL preseason start? How many preseason games are there?

This will be the first year of the NFL’s three-game preseason and 17-game regular season format. The action gets underway on Thursday 5 August with the Hall of Fame Game.

When does the NFL preseason start? How many preseason games are there?
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After last year’s preseason was canceled due to the pandemic, fans are primed for the return of the curtain-raising series of exhibition games ahead of the 2021 NFL season, where Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will look to become the first team to defend the Super Bowl title since 2005.

The preseason starts with the NFL Hall of Fame Game on Thursday 5 August between the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers (8pm ET), bringing an end to NFL fans’ six-month wait for football action. The game will be played at the Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio, where two exciting rookie prospects, linebacker Micah Parsons (Cowboys) and running back Najee Harris (Steelers) will make their NFL debuts.

See also:

New preseason format sees 49 games played

Both the Steelers and Cowboys will play four preseason games while the rest of the league will play three. This will be the first year of the NFL’s three-game preseason and 17-game regular season format. There will be a total of 49 games played during the preseason.

After the Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, there will be a week-long lull until the action starts to come thick and fast with Patriots vs Washington and Eagles vs Steelers on Thursday, August 12. The preseason action concludes on August 29 before the regular season opener between the Cowboys and Buccaneers on Thursday, 9 September at 8:20 p.m. ET.

Where to watch the preseason games

NBC, Fox, CBS, ESPN and NFL Network will air a select number of preseason games. The NFL Network will also broadcast some games live and will re-show all 49 preseason games ahead of the start of the regular season. NFL Game Pass will show every preseason game live, as well as replays of every game.

Full screen

NFL preseason schedule

All times in ET


Pittsburgh vs. Dallas, 8:00


Thursday, Aug. 12

Washington at New England, 7:30

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia, 7:30

Friday, Aug. 13

Tennessee at Atlanta, 7:00

Buffalo at Detroit, 7:00

Dallas at Arizona, 10:00

Saturday, Aug. 14

Miami at Chicago, 1:00

Denver at Minnesota, 4:00

New Orleans at Baltimore, 7:00

Cleveland at Jacksonville, 7:00

New York Jets at New York Giants, 7:30

Cincinnati at Tampa Bay, 7:30

Houston at Green Bay, 8:00

Kansas City at San Francisco, 8:30

Seattle at Las Vegas, 9:00

Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams, 10:00

Sunday, Aug. 15

Carolina at Indianapolis, 1:00

WEEK 2: 

Thursday, August 19

New England at Philadelphia, 7:30

Friday, August 20

Kansas City at Arizona (ESPN), 8:00

Cincinnati at Washington, 8:00

Saturday, Aug. 21

Buffalo at Chicago, 1:00

New York Jets at Green Bay, 4:25

Baltimore at Carolina, 7:00

Atlanta at Miami, 7:00

Detroit at Pittsburgh, 7:30

Tennessee at Tampa Bay, 7:30

Houston at Dallas, 8:00

Indianapolis at Minnesota, 8:00

Las Vegas at Los Angeles Rams, 10:00

Denver at Seattle, 10:00

Sunday, Aug. 22

New York Giants at Cleveland, 1:00

San Francisco at Los Angeles Chargers, 7:30

Monday, Aug. 23

Jacksonville at New Orleans (ESPN), 8:00


Friday, Aug. 27

Indianapolis at Detroit, 7:00

Pittsburgh at Carolina, 7:30

Philadelphia at New York Jets, 7:30

Minnesota at Kansas City, 8:00

Saturday, Aug. 28

Green Bay at Buffalo, 1:00

Baltimore at Washington, 6:00

Chicago at Tennessee, 7:00

Tampa Bay at Houston, 8:00

Arizona at New Orleans, 8:00

Los Angeles Rams at Denver, 9:05

Los Angeles Chargers at Seattle, 10:00

Sunday, Aug. 29

Jacksonville at Dallas, 1:00

Miami at Cincinnati (CBS), 4:00

Las Vegas at San Francisco, 4:00

New England at New York Giants, 6:00

Cleveland at Atlanta (NBC), 8:00


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