The NFL is back. Sort of. The Hall of Fame game, which this year features the Chicago Bears taking on the Baltimore Ravens, may not be much more than a glorified scrimmage, but it’s still nevertheless the official start to the preseason.
The 2018 NFL Hall of Fame Game between the Bears and Ravens will kickoff at 8 p.m. ET and will be broadcast nationally on NBC. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch a live stream of the game (or DVR it) on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming service:
NBC (live in most markets) is included in the main “Fubo Premier” channel package, which, if you’re looking for a streaming service for the upcoming season, also includes Fox, CBS and NFL Network. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the Bears vs. Ravens on your computer via the FuboTV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the FuboTV app.
If you can’t watch the game live, FuboTV also comes with 30 hours of Cloud DVR (with the ability to upgrade to 500 hours), as well as a “72-Hour Lookback” feature, which allows you to watch most games and events up to three days after they air even if you forgot to record them.
If you’re looking for the best live sports plus entertainment package, Hulu, in addition to its massive libary of on-demand movies and TV shows, also offers a bundle of 50-plus live TV channels, which includes NBC (live in most markets). You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
If you can’t watch live, “Hulu with Live TV” also comes with 50 hours of Cloud DVR storage (with the ability to upgrade to “Enhanced Cloud DVR,” which gives you 200 hours of DVR space and the ability to fast forward through commercials).
NBC (live in select markets) is included in the “Sling Blue” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the Sling website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
If you can’t watch live, you can get 50 hours of cloud DVR storage as an additional add-on.
Preseason games–especially this one, which takes place a week before the rest of the league plays their first exhibition contests–may not offer a real accurate picture of what the real games will ultimately look like, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have entertainment value.
For the Ravens, the Hall of Fame game will serve as the debut for first-round pick Lamar Jackson. Hot taeks about the 2016 Heisman winner moving to wide receiver ran rampant during draft season, but Jackson has made it clear all along that he’s a quarterback. On Thursday, we get our first in-game look at how he’s progressing.
“I’m a quarterback. That’s the first thing I want to show off,” Jackson said. “Just show the growth, from college to my new chapter of life.”
These games are often very vanilla in terms of play-calling, so we aren’t likely to see the unique ways in which the Ravens may use Jackson this season (using him in two-QB plays with Joe Flacco, for example), but we’ll get to see how he handles himself against NFL-quality defenders.
And Jackson isn’t the only source of intrigue under center for Baltimore. This game will also mark the return of former Rookie of the Year Robert Griffin III, who hasn’t played and NFL game in a year-and-a-half. Now 28, RGIII sat out the entire 2017 season before signing with the Ravens in April, and he has been drawing praise during camp.
“I think it has been great having Robert [Griffin III] here,” head coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s a pro — a very talented pro. He’s a first-round pick — a top pick in the draft, so he’s got talent. He is healthy for the first time in quite a few years and it’s been on display here.”
Perhaps that’s just coach speak, but it will still be compelling to see what RGIII looks like after the hiatus.
For the Bears, it’s the team’s first game under new head coach Matt Nagy. The former Chiefs offensive coordinator is a much more aggressive play-caller than John Fox, and while that may not show up on Thursday, you can often see the injection of energy in teams under new coaches, even during the preseason.
It’s been evident how excited Nagy’s players are inside the new offense.
“[Nagy’s offense] definitely exploits defenses,” Bears tight end Dion Sims said. “It shows matchups and mismatches. It puts [defenses] in a bind with us because we have so many weapons. It’s tough to defend a lot of guys and the concepts, as well. It’s just like backyard football.”
Ultimately Thursday night’s game will evolve–or perhaps devolve is more appropriate–into a battle of fourth- and fifth-stringers trying to make the squad, but who cares? Football’s back, and that’s all that matters.