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NFL Preseason Schedule 2013: Complete Viewing Guide for Sunday's Action

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 23: The defense for the San Francisco 49ers lines up against the offense of the Minnesota Vikings during the third quarter on September 23, 2012 at Mall of America Field at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Vikings defeated the 49ers 24-13. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images
Maxwell OgdenCorrespondent IIIAugust 25, 2013

The third week of the 2013 NFL preseason is set to come to a close. With two Sunday games on the slate, four teams will get a quality look at what they'll be putting on the field in 2013 and enter the final week before the regular season commences.

Here's how you can watch it all happen.

Week 3 is viewed as the time in which teams exit the preseason mentality and begin to play every down at full speed. Starters play two, and sometimes three quarters, thus getting the repetition that helps build momentum for the regular season.

Four potential playoff teams will do battle to determine just how ready they are for the year to begin.

 

New Orleans Saints at Houston Texans

Date: Sunday, Aug. 25

Time: 4:00 p.m. ET

TV: FOX

 

In a clash between two undefeated preseason teams, the New Orleans Saints will travel to play the Houston Texans. This marks the sixth consecutive preseason meeting between the Saints and Texans dating back to 2008.

In 2012, New Orleans won 34-27.

It may be the preseason, but both teams have questions to answer as they attempt to contend for a Super Bowl title. From rookies expected to play a major role in 2013 to questions about their running game, we've heard it all.

Week 3 is the time where the starters come out and the speed of the game is close to that of the NFL, so prepared to have those questions answered to a certain extent.

Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas are competing for the role of every-down back in New Orleans, hoping to complement Darren Sproles' elite playmaking abilities. Arian Foster, a perennial MVP candidate, is unlikely to play, per Tania Ganguli of ESPN.

Foster led the NFL in carries in 2012, attempting 351 rushes for 1,424 yards and a league-high 15 touchdowns, but has seen a decline in yards per carry over the past three seasons.

Two rookies who everyone wanted to see are wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins of the Texans and safety Kenny Vaccaro of the Saints. Unfortunately, Brian T. Smith of The Houston Chronicle reports that Hopkins will miss the game as he continues his recovery from a concussion.

Even still, Drew Brees going up against J.J. Watt is enough to turn any head.

 

Minnesota Vikings at San Francisco 49ers

Date: Sunday, Aug. 25

Time: 8:00 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

 

For the second consecutive preseason, the Minnesota Vikings will play the San Francisco 49ers. Last year, the Niners won 17-6 and ended up reaching the Super Bowl.

Preseason or not, expect this meeting of postseason teams to be physical as they both attempt to gain early momentum.

We will see Jared Allen getting after Colin Kaepernick. That's the type of matchup that we've been waiting for, as Allen is one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL and Kaepernick has mountains of expectations.

Outside of Kaepernick, all eyes will be on San Francisco's world-class defense. The speed and power they possess is unquestioned, but the Niners are replacing both of their safeties and every game counts toward building chemistry.

That's exactly why all eyes will be on the rookies.

First-year safety Eric Reid was drafted to be the next in line at free safety, and a strong performance against Minnesota could clinch that. On the opposite end, Xavier Rhodes is competing for time at cornerback for the Vikings and Cordarrelle Patterson must prove he's an every-down receiver.

How better for these three rookies to prove themselves than to step up in this game?

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