There’s a reason many bristle (including this author) when members of the media like to use the “if the season ended today” in sports. Barring a cataclysmic event this fall and winter, all 32 teams in the NFL will play 16 regular-season contests. This past year was a perfect example. The Philadelphia Eagles opened 3-0 and were looking good. The Green Bay Packers suffered through a midseason four-game losing streak and sat with a 4-6 record after 10 outings. So guess which team made the playoffs? The Birds were grounded and finished 7-9 while the Pack was back atop the NFC North standings with a 10-6 record.

Now these longtime NFL franchises will get their 2017 preseasons off against each other at Lambeau Field.

Who should we expect to see?

Neither the Green Bay Packers nor Philadelphia Eagles have any questions when it comes to their starting signal-callers. The former is led by prolific passer Aaron Rodgers, who led the NFL this past season with 40 TD passes while being picked off just seven times. The Birds have promising Carson Wentz, who held his own last season despite being thrown into the fire late in the summer. We should see a bit of the latter as he gets more playing time. And it’s important that he continues to build rapport with free-agent additions such as wide receivers Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.

The Eagles also have some newcomers on the defensive line, most notably veteran Chris Long and inside presence Timmy Jernigan. While Long earned a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots this past season, Jernigan came in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens. He takes over for Bennie Logan (now with the Kansas City Chiefs) and will pair with dynamic defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.

What are the intriguing battles?

It’s hard to tell if it is really up for debate. The Philadelphia Eagles appeared to be very enamored with 2015 first-round pick Nelson Agholor as the slot receiver paired with newcomers Jeffery and Smith. Three-year pro Jordan Matthews could be the odd-man out here. But he’s also a much more proven commodity than Agholor (who was a disappointment his first 2 season) and there’s always the possibility that the team could get something for him on the trade market.

A club like the New York Jets could certainly use his services, especially with the recent news of Quincy Enunwa being lost for the season. In any case, the Eagles suddenly have their share of solid receivers. It’s funny how quickly things can change in this league.

Elsewhere, is there a battle brewing between the Birds’ backup quarterbacks in Nick Foles and ex-Oakland Raiders product Matt McGloin? Stay tuned.