To the extent that preseason games mean anything, Thursday night will be the biggest of the summer for the Green Bay Packers. They're hosting the defending AFC champion Indianapolis Colts to kick off preseason Week 3 in a game where starters on both sides could play into the third quarter.
Oh, and apparently the affair will be televised on ESPN as well. Mike Tirico, Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski will be there. (Just don't tell Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.)
As Jason Wilde of ESPNMilwaukee.com points out, the Packers are expected to rest a number of starters, including linebackers Clay Matthews and Brad Jones. Defensive end Cullen Jenkins, among others, might also sit. But if you ever want to draw any conclusions from what you see in the preseason, Thursday is your night.
We'll have a few more things to say about the game over the course of the day and plan to post some late-night observations. Until then, let's take our morning spin around the NFC North:
Wilde takes a look at the Packers' potential 53-man roster. There are some interesting decisions to make at offensive line, among other position groups.
The Packers know their defensive line can't absorb a season-ending injury, writes Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Kareem Copeland of the Green Bay Press-Gazette on Packers tight end Donald Lee: "The Packers tight end has been as professional as possible during a training camp in which he is not competing for a starting job at one of the deepest positions on the field."
The Detroit Lions are expecting safety Louis Delmas to make his preseason debut Saturday, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
Lions defensive end Jared DeVries has a knee injury that could end his season, according to Chris McCosky of the Detroit News.
Wednesday was the Lions' final day of training camp, notes Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.
The Chicago Bears are following through on plans to incorporate the tight end into their passing offense, writes Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald.
The Bears are looking for a big step from their defense this weekend, writes Michael C. Wright of ESPNChicago.com.
Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times examines the risk-reward of pass protection in Mike Martz's offense.
The Bears owe quarterback Todd Collins $100,000 even if he doesn't make the team, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune. So, he's making the team.
Minnesota Vikings defensive linemen Jared Allen and Jimmy Kennedy were missing from Wednesday's practices, notes Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN.com.
Vikings cornerback Antoine Winfield tells Bob Sansevere of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that "I don't think there is anyone" who tackles better in the NFL.
All three candidates for Minnesota governor agree the state should play a role in building the Vikings a new stadium, according to Baird Helgeson of the Star Tribune.