Here's the best thing I'll say about NFL preseason games: They're not completely worthless.
I can't in good conscience hype up any of them, but I do think we can glean at least some pertinent information. So with that in mind, let's sketch out preseason Week 1 in the NFC North, all of which will take place Saturday night.
Opponent: San Diego Chargers
Location: Qualcomm Stadium
Time: 9 p.m. ET
My focus point: Cohesion of an offensive line that began taking shape this week. Do we see obvious missed assignments and clogged running lanes? Or does the line protect quarterback Jay Cutler and provide room for running backs Matt Forte and Chester Taylor?
Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers
Location: Heinz Field
Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
Personnel notes: Running back Kevin Smith (knee), tight end Brandon Pettigrew (knee), safety Louis Delmas (groin), place-kicker Jason Hanson (knee), linebacker DeAndre Levy (back) and defensive end Jared DeVries (leg) are among those who have been ruled out.
My focus point: Will quarterback Matthew Stafford take his sharp practices into a game situation?
Opponent: Cleveland Browns
Location: Lambeau Field
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Personnel notes: Starters will get about 20 plays of action. Prominent scratches could include linebacker Nick Barnett, safety Will Blackmon (knee), linebacker Clay Matthews (hamstring) and guard/center Jason Spitz.
Opponent: St. Louis Rams
Location: Edward Jones Dome
Time: 8 p.m. ET
Personnel notes: Starters will play a couple series at best. Prominent scratches could include receivers Sidney Rice (hip) and Percy Harvin (migraines), center John Sullivan (calf), tailback Adrian Peterson(hamstring), cornerback Cedric Griffin (knee) and linebacker E.J. Henderson (leg).