Tonight, the 2018 NFL Season gets underway (kind of) with the Hall of Fame Game between the Bears and Ravens. The action begins at 8 PM ET on NBC, and there are a handful of reasons to tune in this year.
Football is back
Many die-hard football fans will probably watch the Hall of Fame Game from kickoff to 0:00 in the fourth quarter, and I’ll be one of them. It’s been nearly six months since an NFL game, and I’ll take every bit of action I can get from now until February. Also, for whatever people think of NBC’s broadcast duo of Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, it will be good to hear their voices again because it means football is finally back.
Lamar Jackson’s NFL debut
Of course, there are more reasons to watch other than it simply being the first game of the season, and the biggest reason is to see Lamar Jackson in an NFL uniform. The former Heisman winner is an electrifying quarterback that could easily make a couple ‘wow’ plays to really get the hype going in Baltimore. Plus, he might really shine with simplified coverages thrown at him in an exhibition. One way or another, Jackson will likely be the talk of the sports world by tomorrow morning.
Robert Griffin III returns
There’s also another dual-threat passer that will have a chance to impress tonight, as Robert Griffin III will return after spending the 2017 season out of football. I am still a believer in RGIII, and taking advantage of his opportunity this summer could get his career back on track. I expect the 2012 NFL Rookie of the Year to start and play well against the Chicago’s second unit.
A potential glimpse at Anthony Miller
The status of Anthony Miller is uncertain for the Hall of Fame Game, as the Bears might want to wait until next week to reveal their second-round pick with Mitchell Trubisky under center. However, if he does play, the rookie could be a mismatch for whoever the Ravens throw out in the secondary. It will be interesting to see if Miller is compared to Antonio Brown at all after the game, especially coming from a team that knows him well in the AFC North.
Late-round and undrafted rookies
This is the best H.O.F. Game I can remember when you consider Baltimore’s quarterbacks and the rookie talent that will make their debuts tonight. Both sides have several notable players that were selected in Round 5-7 or were undrafted, but for Chicago, I’ll mostly be watching running back Ryan Nall, wide receiver Javon Wims, and defensive tackle Bilal Nichols; and for the Ravens wideout Jordan Lasley, offensive tackle Greg Senat (if he plays), and safety DeShon Elliott are all guys to keep an eye on.