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Buffalo Bills vs. Carolina Panthers: Pregame, first-team live blog

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FINALLY! After a long off-season, football is back!

Are you ready for some (preseason) football??

After snapping their 17-year playoff drought in dramatic fashion in 2017, the Buffalo Bills kick off the 2018 preseason schedule at 7 p.m. ET tonight at New Era Field against the Carolina Panthers.

While head coach Sean McDermott hasn’t declared whether AJ McCarron or Nathan Peterman would get the nod at starting quarterback — they were listed as co-starters at quarterback on the unofficial depth chart released by the team earlier this week — a natural assumption is that either McCarron or Peterman will be the starter for the preseason opener.

Whoever ends up starting, they, along with most of the other starters, will most likely only suit up for a series or two. (Tyrod Taylor played a quarter with the starters last season in McDermott’s first year.)

How many snaps will LeSean McCoy, the bread and butter of Buffalo’s offense, see vs. the Panthers (or will he sit out to rest up for the grind of the regular season)? What will the Bills’ remade offensive line look like?

Among the other questions that could be answered in the preseason opener: How exciting will the offense look under new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll? Who will emerge behind Kelvin Benjamin, Zay Jones, and Corey Coleman on the wide receiver depth chart? Will Shaq Lawson “step up” to the preseason challenge issued by McDermott?

Among the new faces, free agent signees Star Lotulelei, Trent Murphy, and Vontae Davis should make their Buffalo debuts tonight, as should rookies like Josh Allen, Tremaine Edmunds, Harrison Phillips, and Taron Johnson.

While fans are excited to see their team back on the field, whatever happens Thursday night requires the proper perspective. Don’t get too carried away with how your favorite player looks on the field. Since this marks the first preseason game for both teams, naturally there will be poor play (and probably more penalties) committed on both sides as these teams shake off the rust.

Go ahead and post your observations around the starters below, and be sure to check back later for a new open thread when the reserves enter the game.