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This Weekend in Sports: 2013 NFL Hall of Fame Game

TWIS 8-1
Rob Carr, Rick Stewart / Getty Images

Football makes its return to the sports calendar with the arrival of the NFL preseason. Here’s what to watch this weekend:

Friday, August 2

St. Louis Cardinals at Cincinnati Reds

Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati; 7:10 p.m. (ET) on Fox Sports MW and Ohio
Losers of seven straight games heading into Thursday, the reeling St. Louis Cardinals (62-44) have fallen into second place in the National League Central. They’ll attempt to stop their slide against division rival Cincinnati (60-49) in the first of a three-game series at the Great American Ball Park. The Cardinals will give Shelby Miller (10-7, 2.79) the start. He’ll be opposed by crafty veteran Bronson Arroyo (9-8, 3.26) of the Reds.

Saturday, August 3

Texas Rangers at Oakland A’s

O.Co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif.; 4:05 p.m. (ET) on Fox
The top two teams in the American League West clash in Oakland as the Texas Rangers (59-49) face the first-place Athletics (63-45). Matt Garza (7-1, 2.95) gets the start for Texas, while Oakland counters with Jarrod Parker (6-6, 4.07). The A’s had a four-game lead on the Rangers heading into Thursday.

UFC 163: Jose Aldo vs. Chan Sung Jung

HSBC Arena, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; 10 p.m. (ET) on pay-per-view
UFC featherweight champ Jose Aldo defends his title against Chan Sung Jung on Saturday in Aldo’s home country of Brazil. The sure-to-be raucous venue and Aldo’s striking skills make Jung a decided underdog, but “The Korean Zombie” has an aggressive approach that can stop any fighter. Among the notable matches on the undercard are Phil Davis vs. Lyoto Machida; Thales Leites vs. Tom Watson; Cezar Ferreira vs. Thiago Santos; and John Lineker vs. Jose Maria Tome.

Sunday, August 4

GoBowling.com 400

Pocono Raceway, Long Pond, Penn.; 1:19 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
NASCAR makes its second stop of the 2013 season at Pocono Raceway with Jimmie Johnson holding a staggering 75-point lead on second-place Clint Bowyer in the Sprint Cup standings. Carl Edwards and Kevin Harvick are the only other drivers within 100 points of Johnson. Jeff Gordon won the 2012 edition of this race.

Hall of Fame Game — Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys

Fawcett Stadium, Canton, Ohio; 8 p.m. (ET) on NBC
The Miami Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys kick off the 2013 NFL preseason with the Hall of Fame Game in Canton. Dallas hopes quarterback Tony Romo can keep the Cowboys in the thick of the NFC East race this season. After signing several big-name free agents, including wide receiver Mike Wallace, the Dolphins expect to contend for an AFC playoff spot. The development of quarterback Ryan Tannehill could be the key to their season.

Atlanta Braves at Philadelphia Phillies

Citizens Bank Park, Philadelphia; 8:05 p.m. (ET) on ESPN
The National League East-leading Atlanta Braves (63-45) visit the Philadelphia Phillies (50-57). Atlanta will start Alex Wood (1-2, 3.51) against a Phillies lineup depleted by injuries. Philadelphia will send John Lannan (3-4, 4.10) to the mound to contain the dangerous Braves’ hitters, including N.L. batting average leader Chris Johnson.

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