NFL Preseason Schedule 2021: Which Games Are on TV This Week? How to Watch, Livestream

Following a one-year hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic, the NFL preseason makes its return this week with all 32 franchises in action between Thursday and Monday.

The NFL preseason will look slightly different this year as the league has eliminated one week of games to expand the regular season to 17 games per team.

That means every team bar the Dallas Cowboys and the Pittsburgh Steelers, who featured in the Hall of Fame Game last week, will play three games each.

Rookie quarterback Mac Jones could make his first start in New England Patriots colors when the six-time Super Bowl champions host the Washington Football Team on Thursday, while Jared Goff could make his debut for the Detroit Lions on Friday against the Buffalo Bills.

Quarterbacks will again be the center of attention on Friday, when Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals host the Cowboys, which could see Dak Prescott return to the field for the first time since suffering a season-ending leg injury in Week 5 against the New York Giants.

On Saturday, meanwhile, rookie quarterback Justin Fields could make his Chicago Bears debut against the Miami Dolphins, while Trevor Lawrence, the No. 1 overall pick of this year's NFL Draft, and the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Cleveland Browns.

Here's everything you need to know ahead of Week 1 of the NFL preseason.

Jalen Hurts and Ben Roethlisberger
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (L) looks to throw a pass during training camp at the NovaCare Complex on August 5 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in action during training camp at Heinz Field on July 28 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Mitchell Leff/Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

When does NFL preseason start?

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Dallas Cowboys got the ball rolling last week with the Hall of Fame game, but the NFL preseason officially gets underway on Thursday, August 12.

The New England Patriots host the Washington Football Team at 7:30 p.m. ET, with the Steelers back in action at the same time when they take on the Eagles in Philadelphia.

Three more games are on the slate for Friday, while Saturday sees the bulk of the action with 10 games on the schedule, before the Indianapolis Colts and Carolina Panthers wrap up Week 1 on Sunday.

Except for the Steelers and the Cowboys, the other 30 franchises will only play three preseason games this year, one fewer than in previous years.

That is due to the fact the NFL has cut down on its preseason schedule to add a 17th regular season game to each of the 32 teams' schedules for the first time this year.

Week 2 of the NFL preseason runs between Thursday, August 19 and Monday, August 23, while Week 3 begins on Friday, August 27 and ends on Sunday, August 29.

How to watch NFL preseason on TV and online

Eight games are live on NFL Network during the first week of preseason and the network will also re-air broadcasts of every other matchup. ESPN will broadcast two games in Week 2, while CBS and NBC will carry one game each in Week 3.

Games will be available to livestream via NFL Network online and via the NFL Network app on connected devices, while the games on ESPN, CBS and ESPN will be available on streaming services such as fuboTV and Sling TV which carry the channels.

NFL preseason Week 1 TV schedule

All times ET

Thursday, August 12

  • Washington Football Team at New England Patriots—7:30 p.m., NFL Network
  • Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles—7:30 p.m.

Friday, August 13

  • Tennessee Titans at Atlanta Falcons—7 p.m.
  • Buffalo Bills at Detroit Lions—7 p.m., NFL Network
  • Dallas Cowboys at Arizona Cardinals—10 p.m., NFL Network

Saturday, August 14

  • Miami Dolphins at Chicago Bears—1 p.m., NFL Network
  • Denver Broncos at Minnesota Vikings—4 p.m., NFL Network
  • Cleveland Browns at Jacksonville Jaguars—7 p.m., NFL Network
  • New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens—7 p.m.
  • New York Jets at New York Giants—7:30 p.m.
  • Cincinnati Bengals at Tampa Bay Buccaneers—7:30 p.m.
  • Houston Texans at Green Bay Packers—8 p.m.
  • Kansas City Chiefs at San Francisco 49ers—8:30 p.m.
  • Seattle Seahawks at Las Vegas Raiders—9 p.m.
  • Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams—10 p.m., NFL Network

Sunday, August 15

  • Carolina Panthers at Indianapolis Colts—1 p.m., NFL Network