The NFL releases its schedule ... for the preseason

NFL fans start to get itchy this time of year for any games to be added to the calendar. Even the ones in August that don’t count.

At least Wednesday’s release of the preseason schedule gives us something. The NFL announced its 65-game preseason schedule, including the Hall of Fame game, on Wednesday afternoon. It can be found here on the league’s site.

When will the regular-season schedule be released?

The exact date hasn’t been announced yet. But the release of the preseason schedule pretty much just reminds us that it’s about this time every year the regular-season schedule gets released, to great fanfare. It’s probably too late this week for the regular-season schedule to be released, since the NFL hasn’t even announced what day that will happen. It won’t want to do it on draft week (April 26-28), and take away from those headlines. So the best guess is that the regular-season schedule gets released sometime in the middle of next week.

The schedule makers have a lot of team requests to take into account, which is why the NFL doesn’t announce the release date far ahead of time. But it almost always happens in April, so it should be coming soon.

When can I see football again?

The annual Hall of Fame game is Aug. 2 between the Baltimore Ravens and Chicago Bears. Those two teams will participate because Ray Lewis and Brian Urlacher, legendary linebackers for the respective teams, are being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame that week. The Hall of Fame game was set a couple months ago, and it will be the first live NFL action since the Super Bowl ended. The first full week of preseason games starts Aug. 9.

Which preseason games will be on national TV?

It says something about the NFL’s popularity that some of its preseason tune-up games will be in prime time, on major networks. Here’s the schedule of nationally televised preseason games, from NFL.com (all times Eastern):

Thursday, Aug. 2: Chicago Bears vs. Baltimore Ravens (NBC, 8 p.m.)

Thursday, Aug. 16: New York Jets vs. Washington Redskins (ESPN, 8 p.m.)

Monday, Aug. 20: Baltimore Ravens vs. Indianapolis Colts (ESPN, 8 p.m.)

Thursday, Aug. 23: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cleveland Browns (Fox, 8 p.m.)

Friday, Aug. 24: Detroit Lions vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (CBS, 8 p.m.)

Saturday, Aug. 25: New Orleans Saints vs. Los Angeles Chargers (CBS, 8 p.m.)

Sunday, Aug. 26: Cincinnati Bengals vs. Buffalo Bills (Fox, 4 p.m.)

Sunday, Aug. 26: Arizona Cardinals vs. Dallas Cowboys (NBC, 8 p.m.)

Are any games worth circling on the calendar?

A few games stand out, including a Week 4 matchup between the Washington Redskins and Baltimore Ravens. Former Redskins star Robert Griffin III recently signed with the Ravens, after spending last year out of football. If Griffin is still on the Ravens roster by the end of the preseason, he could get a lot of playing time that week against his former team.

There is also an interesting matchup between the Cleveland Browns and New York Giants in Week 1 of the preseason. That could feature the NFL preseason debuts of the first two picks of the draft. The Browns have the first (and fourth) picks of the draft and the Giants are slated to draft second. It’s possible both of those picks will be quarterbacks, which would make for an interesting evening at MetLife Stadium. The New York Jets also might draft a quarterback third overall, and his preseason debut could also happen that week at MetLife Stadium, against the Falcons.

There will be head coaches in their first games with their new teams, and none of those debuts will be as anticipated as Jon Gruden’s first preseason game with the Oakland Raiders, which will come at home against the Detroit Lions.

And here’s the full schedule

HALL OF FAME GAME – AUG. 2

Chicago vs. Baltimore (NBC)

WEEK 1 – AUG. 9-13

LA Chargers at Arizona

LA Rams at Baltimore

Carolina at Buffalo

Chicago at Cincinnati

Minnesota at Denver

Tennessee at Green Bay

New Orleans at Jacksonville

Houston at Kansas City

Tampa Bay at Miami

Washington at New England

Cleveland at NY Giants

Atlanta at NY Jets

Detroit at Oakland

Pittsburgh at Philadelphia

Dallas at San Francisco

Indianapolis at Seattle

WEEK 2 – AUG. 16-20

Kansas City at Atlanta

Miami at Carolina

Buffalo at Cleveland

Cincinnati at Dallas

Chicago at Denver

NY Giants at Detroit

Pittsburgh at Green Bay

San Francisco at Houston

Baltimore at Indianapolis (ESPN, 8/20)

Seattle at LA Chargers

Oakland at LA Rams

Jacksonville at Minnesota

Philadelphia at New England

Arizona at New Orleans

Tampa Bay at Tennessee

NY Jets at Washington (ESPN, 8/16)

WEEK 3 – AUGUST 23-26

Cincinnati at Buffalo (Fox, 8/26)

New England at Carolina

Kansas City at Chicago

Philadelphia at Cleveland (Fox, 8/23)

Arizona at Dallas (NBC, 8/26)

San Francisco at Indianapolis

Atlanta at Jacksonville

New Orleans at LA Chargers (CBS, 8/25)

Houston at LA Rams

Baltimore at Miami

Seattle at Minnesota

NY Giants at NY Jets

Green Bay at Oakland

Tennessee at Pittsburgh

Detroit at Tampa Bay (CBS, 8/24)

Denver at Washington 

WEEK 4 – AUG. 30-31

Denver at Arizona

Miami at Atlanta

Washington at Baltimore

Buffalo at Chicago

Indianapolis at Cincinnati

Cleveland at Detroit

Dallas at Houston

Green Bay at Kansas City

LA Rams at New Orleans

New England at NY Giants

NY Jets at Philadelphia

Carolina at Pittsburgh

LA Chargers at San Francisco

Oakland at Seattle

Jacksonville at Tampa Bay

Minnesota at Tennessee

Defensive end Myles Garrett (95) and the Browns will kick off the preseason at the Giants. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdown.corner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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