Starters for the New England Patriots likely will not play for long tonight, if they even play at all, as head coach Bill Belichick plans to evaluate the remainder of their roster before teams reduce their rosters to 53 players on Saturday. If they do see action, expect to see veteran wide receivers Deion Branch and Chad Ochocinco involved early to get them into a rhythm heading into the regular season. After the surprising release of part-time starting safety James Sanders this week, it will be interesting to see who the No. 3 safety behind starters Brandon Meriweather and Patrick Chung will be.
You know you're in the final preseason game when the big position battle is at punter. Matt Dodge -- who you may recall from failing to kick a ball out of bounds and watching Philadelphia Eagles punt returner DeSean Jackson return it for a game-winning touchdown last December -- is facing a challenge from veteran Steve Weatherford. The Giants will also be looking for clarity to their backup linebacker and running back positions tonight.
Prior to tonight's game, the Patriots will recognize the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 by hosting former guard Joe Andruzzi, whose three brothers are NYC firefighters and father is a retired New York City police officer. Andruzzi played for the Patriots during the 2001 season, and he, his brothers and father were honored on the field at old Foxboro Stadium 12 days after the attacks. The five men will serve as honorary captains tonight.
Game Date/Time: Thursday, September 1, 7:30pm ET
Location: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Patriots: WBZ-TV (Channel 4)
Giants: NBC 4 NEW YORK
TV Distribution Map: The506.com
Patriots: 98.5 THE SPORTS HUB
Giants: CBS-FM 101.1