The second week of the 2011 NFL preseason schedule continues on Thursday night with the New England Patriots facing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Pittsburgh Steelers hosting the Philadelphia Eagles.
New England Patriots vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Patriots enter this game after dominating the Jacksonville Jaguars last week. Both backup quarterbacks, Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, looked sharp in New England's offense putting up 47 total points. The Bucs are also coming off of a big preseason win shutting out the Kansas City Chiefs last week, 25-0. The Patriots are the established winner and the Bucs are the up-and-coming team so this should be a decent test for both teams.
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The "Dream Team" of the Eagles faces a test against the always-solid Steelers on Thursday night. Last week the Eagles held off the Baltimore Ravens, 13-6, and the Steelers fell to the Washington Redskins, 16-7. We know both of these teams will be very good this year so it'll be interesting to watch, especially the first quarter when the starters are in, to see how they match up.
You can't learn a whole lot about a team during the preseason because most clubs don't play their starters outside of a quarter or two, and not all teams play to win. It'll be interesting to see a guy like QB Michael Vick and how he's progressing in the Eagles offense.