Normally the final preseason game is reserved for those youngsters still looking to solidify rosters spots and make names for themselves. While that will largely be true Thursday night at Met Life Stadium, there's also a chance that some of the Patriots front-line players could make appearances.
Tom Brady, Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett could all see playing time against the Giants, which would be quite different from the norm.
Despite the possibility of some starters seeing some action, there are still plenty of roster battles and young players to keep an eye on. With that in mind, here are five things to watch in Thursday's preseason finale against the Giants.
1. Jimmy Garoppolo -Garoppolo did not play well in last week's win over Carolina and it's possible that Bill Belichick will want to give him some additional work in the preseason. The youngster could certainly use the added experience as well as a boost in confidence heading into the opener Sept. 11. The question is does Brady also see some action and if so when and how much? The quarterback situation in Carolina was interesting and it's shaping up that way once again.
2. Who's in the running? - LeGarrette Blount appears to have done enough to maintain his role as the starter and James White is secure in his role as pass catcher. Is there room for Tyler Gaffney? Has D.J. Foster had enough time to show the coaches he's worth holding onto? Is Brandon Bolden's special teams work enough to keep his roster spot? Gaffney and Foster figure to see the bulk of the action against the Giants in what could be their final chance.
3. Will Kimbo get sliced? - Anthony Johnson (aka Kimbo) flashed in the Week 2 preseason win over Chicago. He showed some athleticism and mobility on the inside and could be the penetrating type of defensive tackle the team has searched for in recent years - most recently with Dominique Easley. Johnson should get some opportunities to continue the momentum he's build lately and that may be enough for him to emerge as a dark horse candidate to make the roster.
4. Secondary receivers -MMQB.com recently indicated the Patriots were trying to make a deal for Aaron Dobson, who is in a battle for a roster spot with Keshawn Martin, Chris Harper and the rest of the team's corps of wideouts. Dobson has enjoyed his best offseason with the team while Martin has been slowed by injury for much of the summer. Both should get some balls thrown their way against the Giants, as should Harper.
5. On the corner -Cre'von LeBlanc is nursing a hip injury, which is unfortunate because the rookie was making a nice push for a roster spot. He's still in the mix but won't play against the Giants. Darryl Roberts and fellow rookie Jonathan Jones remain in the picture as well. Justin Coleman has the most experience of the group of four but he should see plenty of reps with the others. Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Cyrus Jones are set, but the spots from there are up for grabs.