The New England Patriots and New York Giants will face off in week four of the preseason on Thursday. The Giants are hoping to end up 2-2, while the Patriots are hoping to finish with a 3-1 record prior to the regular season. It's unlikely we'll see much action from the starters as they got their work in during the third preseason game, but there's plenty of roster spots and backup jobs up for grabs.
Teams will have to cut down from 75 to 53 players on Saturday, and that process begins with evaluations based on this game.
Meet the Patriots
The Patriots are one of the most stable teams in the NFL, and as such, there aren't really any starting spots up for grabs on Thursday. There are, however, some exciting young players that are deserving of your attention. Wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins has been absolutely fantastic thus far in the preseason.
In New England's third preseason game, Thompkins hauled in eight catches for 116 yards, including two receptions of more than 25 yards each. He's an undrafted rookie, so he's not among those that will likely sit this one out in preparation for the regular season, so watching him make another bid for a roster spot and playing time will certainly be interesting.
Meet the Giants
There are many players vying for spots on the Giants' roster. The spots are definitely there, but there are an awful lot of players in line. Quarterbacks David Carr and Curtis Painter are vying for a backup spot, though both could possibly be out of a job. Da'Rel Scott and Ryan Torain are battling at the running back position. There might only be one receiver spot open for one of Kevin Hardy and Ramses Barden, as well.
Don't expect to see much of the Giants starters in this one.
Local Takes: Patriots
Aashish Sharma of Pats Pulpit highlights Thompkins as a player to watch, and the fact that he's so impressive due to his early grasp of the playbook:
But perhaps what is most impressive about Thompkins is his ability to grasp the complex Patriots offense in such a short amount of time. Remember, veteran receivers Joey Galloway-who had a brief stint in New England in 2009-and Chad Ochocinco (2011) both struggled with the playbook and it showed in their lack of on-field production.
Local Takes: Giants
You can expect to see Ryan Nassib early and often on Thursday, according to Ed Valentine of Big Blue View.
Nassib, the rookie quarterback from Syracuse taken by the Giants in the fourth round of the2013 NFL Draft, is just 3-of-10 for 77 yards in two preseason appearances. He has been sacked four times.
The line opened up at even money, but the Patriots can be had as one-point favorites on some books, according to Odds Shark.