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Friday night preseason features some intriguing matchups

Jonathan Daniel

The 2014 preseason schedule has entered what is probably the most useful stretch of games. Week 3 is generally referred to as the dress rehearsal game. We won't get significant insight into the playbook of a given team, but we'll see the starters for as much as we can expect.

Here is a schedule of tonight's games.

Patriots vs. Panthers - 4:30 p.m.
Jets vs. Giants - 4:30 p.m.
Lions vs. Jaguars - 4:30 p.m.
Packers vs. Raiders - 5 p.m. CBS
Seahawks vs. Bears - 7 p.m. NFL Network

The Seahawks-Bears game is probably the best one of the evening, although Patriots-Panthers is a solid option as well. However, Seahawks-Bears is as close as we come to a potential playoff preview. The Bears stumbled late last season, losing four of their final six games. That cost them what was an eminently winnable NFC North. Their once stellar defense fell apart, and they have since invested heavily in it, including using their first three draft picks this year to improve.

This game won't tell us everything we need to know about the Bears heading into Week 2, but it will give us a little something to snack on.