Preview: Patriots Visit Giants in Final Preseason Contest


Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Preseason Week 4: New England Patriots (2-1) vs. New York Giants (3-0)

Location: MetLife Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey

Time: 7:00 p.m.

TV/Radio: WBZ-TV/98.5 The Sports Hub

The New England Patriots will be in the Meadowlands Thursday night to do battle with the New York Giants in their fourth and final preseason game of 2014. For the Patriots’ starters this game is irrelevant as Bill Belichick has no plans of playing them. For guys competing for a roster spot ahead of Saturday’s final cuts, this game serves as one final opportunity to leave a lasting impression on the coaching staff.

22 of the 75 players currently on the Patriots roster will be gone by the weekend. Those who haven’t had much playing time thus far this preseason will see the majority of the reps. The Giants plan to play their starters for 14-20 plays, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. All great football teams possess deep rosters and Belichick’s reserves have a chance to step up and prove they belong on the roster or at the very least the practice squad.

This meeting between the two sides marks the 10th straight season they have squared off in a preseason finale and the 24th total time. The Giants are 14-9 in those games.

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What to Watch for:

Can Jimmy Garoppolo claim the second-string quarterback spot?

Garoppolo will play the entire game, according to coach Belichick. How he performs in this contest will go a long way in revealing how far a long he really is in terms of development. He’ll get to face one of the more talented defenses with its starters in the game for roughly a quarter. He’ll also be forced to make many adjustments over the course of the game. If the rookie passes this test, it’s likely that Ryan Mallett‘s days in New England could be over.

Will Aaron Dobson be effective in return from injury?

Second-year receiver Dobson is set to make his preseason debut. Dobson figures to be a major part of the Patriots offensive attack this season, especially on the outside of the formation. His play will go a long way in determining how ready he is for Week 1. The team is hoping Dobson will be able to adjust to game speed rather quickly and show an immediate ability to mesh with his teammates.

Who will step up and replace Logan Mankins on the offensive line?

Following the departure of Mankins, yet another spot along the line is up for grabs. Jordan Devey, Josh Kline, Marcus Cannon, Bryan Stork, Josh Halapio and Cameron Fleming are all candidates battling it out for starting jobs. They all figure to see a ton of playing time as the Patriots coaching staff has some serious assessments to make regarding the group. Nate Solder, Dan Connolly, Ryan Wendell and Sebastian Vollmer figure to be starters already though, nothing is certain as of right now.

Who will create depth along the interior defensive line?

With the release of Tommy Kelly and rookie Dominique Easley yet to see game time this preseason, somebody has to make their presence known. Chris Jones and Vince Wilfork boast the most experience among the team’s defensive tackles. Jerel Worthy seems to be a guy the Patriots are high on. Also Sealver Siliga returned to practice this week. It’ll be interesting to see how he performs in the game.