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Hall of Fame Game preview: football is back

All-Pro Reels, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Latest Hall of Fame Game preview

By: Samuel Moores

The Las Vegas Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are in Canton, Ohio on Thursday night to play in the annual Hall of Fame game at the Tom Benson HOF Stadium. As always it serves as not only the start of the NFL pre-season but also a celebration of those inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

It’s the fourth time that the Raiders have played in the game, the last one being in 2006, as for the Jags, it’s their second time, the first since their inaugural season in 1995. Both teams were picked to play in the prestigious game because of their former players that are being inducted this year. 

Tony Boselli (JAX), Cliff Branch (LV) and Richard Seymour (NE, LV) headline this year’s class. Boselli becomes the first Jaguars player to enter the Hall of Fame, whilst the Raiders had 19 before 2022.

Five more names make up this year’s class of inductees, one that’s very heavy on defense, with Boselli being the only offensive player in the group. Former Saints and Panthers linebacker Sam Mills and ex-Packers safety LeRoy Butler join 49ers defensive lineman, Bryant Young in a strong defensive contingent. Dick Vermeil, the Rams Super Bowl XXXIV winning coach, and legendary official Art McNally make up the eight players receiving a gold jacket.

I for one cannot wait to see some live football, our first instalment in six months, even though it will be backups and practice squad candidates on the field. It’s the first game for both teams’ head coaches too, as Josh McDaniels and Doug Pederson both embark on their second spells in charge of a franchise. The latter’s time in Philadelphia was far more successful than the former’s in Denver. They’ll be hoping that their players get through the game without suffering any injuries.

If you like your bets, you may like to know that the Raiders are two-point favourites currently, as of Sunday. Expect it to be a low-scoring game too, the last five HOF games have had an average of just 31.2 total points, the line is set at 33.5 heading into the game. History suggests the under may be your best bet.

You can watch the game on NBC and Peacock in the US, and NFL Gamepass in Europe. Kickoff is at 8 ET, which is 1 AM GMT. Mike Tirico, Cris Collinsworth and Melissa Stark are on the call, whilst the full Football Night in America crew have a pre-game show from 7 ET.

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