The NFL is back! Sure, it may be just the annual Hall of Fame contest, but diehard football fans are just excited to see a game with real hitting action once again. The stats and score may not become front page NFL news for this contest, but the return of live pigskin action is a sign that another season is almost upon us.

Meaningless but has significance for Bears and Ravens

While we won’t see the best the Chicago Bears and Baltimore Ravens have to offer on Thursday night, this game does have a major significance for both teams. These two proud franchises have not fared well the past few seasons and both are looking to bounce back in 2018 and make a postseason run.

In fact, you can say that this contest is very important for the coaching staff of both squads as they try to decipher which rookies and young players for each side can help resurrect some serious playoff droughts. According to SB Nation, the Chicago Bears have not made a postseason appearance since 2010, while the Baltimore Ravens last playoff game was in 2014.

Yes, the final score to this game may be soon forgotten, but for youngsters who want a shot at making the team and coaches who don’t want to feel like they have to continuously look over their shoulder, this game has a bit of meaning.

Urlacher, Lewis HOF bound

Brian Urlacher and Ray Lewis were two of the best players to ever suit up and play defense in the NFL, and tonight they will be center stage.

Urlacher was the Bears' main man in the middle for over a decade as he was a key member of rebuilding the reputation of the Bears, boasting one of the best defenses in the NFL.

For Baltimore, you couldn’t think about defense without mentioning Ray Lewis. The flamboyant linebacker was the team leader for 17 seasons and one of the most feared players in the game.

How to watch live, game odds

Are you ready for some football? If you are a football fanatic like so many sports fans are here in the US and around the globe, you probably want to catch a bit of tonight’s Bears vs. Ravens game. Thanks to NBC Sports, fans will have several ways to do just that.

On the television side of things, NBC will air tonight’s HOF classic nationally starting at 8 PM ET.

If you happen to be on the go, you can still catch all of the action streaming live online through any handheld device or PC by downloading the NBC Sports live app.

Vegas oddsmakers have installed Baltimore as a 2-point favorite in tonight's Bears vs Ravens matchup with the over/under point total set at 33.