The Hall of Fame Game is rarely good.
Starters almost never play, and if they do, it’s only for a handful of plays. Coaches run offenses that would be vanilla by Pop Warner football standards. The only real goal of the evening is to not get hurt.
And none of that matters because it’s live football for the first time in six months, and it feels so good to have it back.
Hall of Fame Game: Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Las Vegas Raiders (-2)
It is not a coincidence that both the Jaguars and Raiders have former players being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this weekend. The teams for this game are chosen with the knowledge of that year’s Hall of Fame class, and when possible, a notable inductee will match up with a team playing in the game.
The Raiders have former wide receiver Cliff Branch going into the Hall this weekend, the 18th player in team history to be enshrined. The Jaguars have Tony Boselli, their first-ever member of the Hall of Fame.
Raiders fans are notoriously good travelers, not to mention a much larger fan base than what you see in Jacksonville. There is expected to be a large sea of silver and black at the game, which may be one reason the Raiders are the favorite here.
They are, of course, also coming off a playoff appearance, as compared to the Jaguars, who had the worst record in the NFL.
Jacksonville Jaguars News
We do know with certainty that quarterback Trevor Lawrence will not play on Thursday night. New Jags head coach Doug Pederson made the announcement earlier in the week and added;
“Trevor’s been getting a lot of great looks here in practice and we feel he’s in a good spot.”
Jake Luton will get the start.
A bit more surprising was the news that second-year running back Travis Etienne, who missed his entire rookie season, will also miss the game. He was out of practice on Tuesday because of illness, and he will remain out the rest of the week.
Las Vegas Raiders News
New Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels hasn’t been specific on who will and won’t suit up on Thursday, but we can expect most of their top starters to be in street clothes. The team has suffered a number of injuries along the defensive line, including new EDGE rusher Chandler Jones, and they don’t want to risk anymore.
For McDaniels, however, this Hall of Fame Game is special. McDaniels grew up in Canton, Ohio, and as a high school quarterback, he played in Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, where he was coached by his dad.
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