Brewers at Cubs (1:20 p.m., Ch. 9): For the Cubs, it’s the final game of a grueling, stressful stretch against their top two title combatants in the NL Central. The Cubs won’t run into the Brew Crew again for about four weeks — or the Cardinals until the second half of September — which just might be a welcome respite for all involved.
White Sox at Tigers (12:10 p.m. and 6:10 p.m., both NBCSCH): There are diehard fans, and then there are the gung-ho maniacs who’ll happily sit through every tortured pitch of a day-night double dip between a fading team and a woebegone opponent that’s on pace to lose 110-plus games. These are our kinds of people.
“Hard Knocks” (9 p.m., HBO): What could go wrong for a Raiders squad that, to set the stage for its swan song in Oakland, is welcoming in cable television’s most ruthless football-season killing machine? In the series premiere, enjoy the theatrics surrounding superstar wide receiver Antonio Brown. Marvel at the frantic stylings of coach Jon Gruden. Brace yourselves for whatever producers share of offensive lineman Richie Incognito. How does 5-11 sound?
Liberty at Sky (7 p.m., The U Too): Give us Liberty or give us Diamond DeShields, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. Not that we’re biased or anything, but we’ll take the potentially playoff-bound trio with the 8-3 home record.
Cubs at Reds (6:10 p.m., NBCSCH): Whether they like it or not, this is the start of a 10-game road trip for the Cubs. And whether they should be owning Cincy this season or not, the fact remains they’ve lost three of four head-to-head series already. Life was simpler when the Cubs were terrible and a young Anthony Rizzo was challenging the entire Reds dugout to a fight.
Panthers at Bears (7 p.m., Fox-32): Sure, it’s only the preseason opener. But these are the Chicago Bears we’re talking about, which means the fate of the free world, or something uncomfortably close to it, hangs in the balance. Will Mitch Trubisky’s one or two series at quarterback be Joe Montana-like successes or colossal failures? Will the starting defense put the 1985 unit to shame or humiliate itself? Will the kickers get it done or double-doink us into outright apoplexy? Somebody pass the giardiniera!
A’s at White Sox (2:10 p.m., Ch. 9): Come for the game, stay for the postgame screening of Field of Dreams.Baseball flicks get no better than this one. But that famous line:“If you build it, he will come”? Try telling that to Manny Machado.
Cowboys at 49ers (8 p.m., NFL Network): We’d love to supply a list of reasons why you have to watch this game, but let’s not kid ourselves. It’s football. For a whole lot of us — social lives, schmocial lives — that’s reason enough.