It is going to be a whole lot of backups in the game, a lot of Blaine Gabbert and Trevor Knight, and not good football.
But it is real football.
1. Which rookies are expected to have the most impact in 2017 for Dallas?
First-round pick Taco Charlton is expected to get playing time on the defensive line, mostly at end, but he probably won't be a starter. The Cowboys use a heavy rotation of players on the defensive line, so he should see plenty of action. He could have an impact.
Defensive back Chidobe Awuzie could see a lot of action in nickel and dime packages, since he has the bulk to drop down and play some coverage linebacker in those schemes. He's also an adept blitz guy and has shown a knack for the ball in training camp. Fans are excited about his prospects.
Receiver Ryan Switzer will probably be the return guy on punts and he was dynamic in that role in college, he could also see time in the slot, so his impact could be felt in 2017, although he is out with a hamstring right now.
2. How much, if any, will the starters play?
I doubt you'll see the starters play much at all in this game.
The Cowboys haven't announced their exact plans yet, but it's almost certain guys like Dak Prescott, Ezekiel Elliott, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten won't play.
Neither should the offensive line. On defense, the Cowboys turned over a lot of guys in the secondary, so they will want to rotate a lot of their guys through there, that should be an interesting position to watch.
I could see a few more defensive starters playing a series or two than any offensive players, but even that might not happen.
3. Who are a couple of under-the-radar players to keep an eye on during the game?
Tight end Rico Gathers is a basketball player turned football player who has enormous athletic gifts, but we're just not sure if he has football instincts. The Cowboys feel like he could be a real player if he can get the nuances of the game down, so watching him during the preseason will be interesting.
Damontre Moore is a defensive end who has bounced around the league because he has never lived up to his potential and has had disciplinary problems (he'll serve a two-game suspension to start the year). He's been showing something in training camp rushing the passer, can he keep it going during the preseason games?
4. How had Jonathan Cooper looked this far?
Cooper will get a lot of time at left guard. He's in a battle with Chaz Green for the starting spot at that position, but Green hurt his shoulder and will miss this game, giving Cooper a lot of opportunity to grab the lead in securing the starter's role.
Neither player has done anything yet to cement front-runner status, but neither have been playing really poorly either. I think the presesason games against live competition is going to be the thing that settles this issue, so seeing Cooper on Thursday will be the start of that process.
5. How different is this game going to look vs the week 3 Monday Night Football tilt?
This game will in no way resemble that game. This game is all about getting reps to guys who are battling either for playing time or just spots on the roster. The Cowboys are going to be very careful with their key contributors, and Jason Garrett tends to run a very vanilla gameplan in preseason. This will be a glorified practice with live hitting.