If Week 3 of the preseason is a dress rehearsal for when the actually games count, Week 4 is the sack race where there are no winners but everyone still gets a participation trophy. Put another way: Coaches are looking to fill out the final spots on their 53-man rosters while keeping their starters healthy and on the sidelines. Other than that, there a few similarities between the football you’ll see on Thursday night and when the regular-season begins.
But hey, this is the NFL, an outfit that’s made the draft — where middle-aged men read names off a card — into must-see television. We’re pretty sure we can find some dramatic storylines about the final week of preseason football.
With that in mind, here’s how you can watch.
Week 4 through streaming and TV
Streaming Note: All Week 4 games that aren’t scheduled to be nationally televised will be streamed online through NFL GamePass. The service is available to anyone for $99.99. You can also sign up for a free seven-day trial if you really want to watch every Week 4 preseason game, but don’t want to pay. If you do pay though, the service also gives you the ability to watch every regular season game on the Monday after its played.
TV Note: All preseason games will be shown on local TV, so be sure to check your local listings.
Wednesday, Aug. 31
Redskins at Buccaneers, 8 p.m. ET, NFL Network: This game was moved to Wednesday due to possible severe weather from Tropical Depression Nine. The storm was expected to hit Florida on Thursday. This might end up being the most exciting thing to happen in this matchup — and both coaches are OK with that.
Thursday, Sept. 1
Patriots at Giants, 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Tom Brady will miss the first month of the season because of Deflategate, but there’s a chance he might play on Thursday. If it happens — and, shocker, Bill Belichick won’t say — it would be the first time since 2011 the future Hall of Famer saw action in the final preseason game.
Jaguars at Falcons, 7 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: The Jaguars are coming off an awful performance against the Bengals (Luke Joeckel has already lost his job to a former seventh-round pick just back from an ACL injury), and the Falcons are looking to find an adequate replacement for injured first-round safety Keanu Neal, who could miss the first two games of the regular season.
Jets at Eagles, 7 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Good news: The Jets defense should be very, very good. Bad news: There’s some discussion that they may keep four quarterbacks. The Eagles, meanwhile, seem content to roll with Sam Bradford, and are in no hurry to rush No. 2 pick Carson Wentz onto the field.
Titans and Dolphins, 7 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Titans wideout Kendall Wright probably won’t play after injuring his hamstring, and the Dolphins put 2013 third-overall pick Dion Jordan on the reserve/non-football injury list to get down to 75 players ahead of Thursday’s game.
Colts at Bengals, 7:30 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: There’s no fear of Andrew Luck getting sacked because he almost certainly won’t see the field. Unfortunately, the Colts’ offensive line will still be a huge question mark when the regular season opens next weekend.
Steelers at Panthers, 7:30 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Here’s to hoping no one yells at Andy Lee should he choose not to make a tackle. After all, the Steelers lost kicker Shaun Suisham last preseason when he blew out his knee trying to bring down a kick returner.
Bills at Lions, 7:30 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Both teams have plenty of questions as they prepare for real football. Can Rex Ryan fix a Bills defense that he broke? Can Matthew Stafford survive in a Megatron-less world?
Rams at Vikings, 8 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: This might be Jared Goff’s last chance at playing time for a while. Not so much because Case Keenum has been lights out, but because Goff has struggled. That’s OK — he’s only a rookie — but he is the franchise’s future. Which brings us to the Vikings, who lost Teddy Bridgewater on Tuesday. Can 36-year-old Shaun Hill pick up the slack?
Texans at Cowboys, 8 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Sounds weird to say, but the Texans’ quarterback situation appears to be in much better shape than the Cowboys. Of course, if Dak Prescott continues play like a grizzled vet, that could change — and with it, the fear that Dallas can’t make the playoffs without Tony Romo.
Packers at Chiefs, 8 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Here’s to hoping Andy Reid wears a Hawaiian shirt and runs through a brick wall.
Ravens at Saints, 8 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: For coach John Harbaugh, the preseason can’t end soon enough. Meanwhile, the Saints need to figure out how to tackle before the games count in the standings.
Bears at Browns, 8 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Here are two teams that seem to be going in opposite directions. Of course, the Browns have been known to crush their fans’ dreams at various points throughout the season, and maybe this season won’t be any different. That said, if anyone can save Robert Griffin III from himself, it’s Hue Jackson. For the Bears, Jay Cutler had one of his best seasons with Adam Gase, but the offensive coordinator is now the head coach in Miami.
Broncos at Cardinals, 9:30 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Could this be Mark Sanchez’s last game for the Broncos, the team that traded for him this offseason in the hopes that he could beat out a 2015 seventh-round pick? (Related: He couldn’t.)
Seahawks at Raiders, 7 p.m. ET, NFL Network: Coach Pete Carroll thinks Seahawks rookie quarterback Trevone Boykin is a lot like a young Russell Wilson. This might be your last chance to check him out.
49ers at Chargers, 10 p.m. ET, NFL GamePass: Colin Kaepernick last started a regular-season game on Nov. 1, 2015. He’ll start the preseason finale, though it might be the last time we see him in a 49ers uniform.
Source: CBS Sports / NFL preseason Week 4: How to watch on TV and live stream