|**DATE:**||Thursday, August 24, 2000|
|**SITE:**||Foxboro Stadium (60,292) - Grass|
|**TIME:**||8:05 p.m., EDT|
|**TELEVISION:**||This week's game will be broadcast locally on WCVB Channel 5 in Boston. This is the sixth consecutive year Channel 5 has broadcast Patriots preseason games. Don Criqui will provide the play-by-play detail and will be joined by broadcast partner Jerry Glanville. They will be joined by Mike Lynch from the sidelines. The game will also be televised in Providence on WNAC (Channel 64), WTXX in Hartford, Conn. (Ch. 20) and WMTW in Portland, Maine (Ch 8).|
|**RADIO:**||WBCN's Rock Radio Network 104.1 FM. Gil Santos, who enters his 24th season as voice of the Patriots, will call the action along with Gino Cappelletti. The tandem is entering their 17th year together.|
The New England Patriots (2-2) will close out their 2000 preseason this Thursday when they host the Carolina Panthers, who are winless after three games. The game will be televised locally on WCVB in Boston. Kickoff is at 8:05 p.m.
It will be another short week of preparation for the Patriots, who opened, and now will close, their preseason schedule playing two games in four days. The Patriots opened the preseason on July 31 and claimed a 20-0 victory over San Francisco. Four days later, they claimed a 13-10 win over the Lions in Detroit. The preseason schedule has been sporadic, as the Patriots played their first three games in 12 days, but waited nine days to play their fourth game.
This week, the Patriots will once again have just four days between games, playing Sunday and then again on Thursday. The short week will give the Patriots 10 days to prepare for their regular season opener against the Buccaneers on Sept. 3. It will be the first time since 1990 that the Patriots will host both their preseason finale and their regular season opener.
Playing two games in four days during the preseason should help the Patriots prepare for another short week (two games in four days) during the regular season, when they play on Thanksgiving Day in Detroit on Nov. 23.
"We don't have any choice (about playing on Thursday)," said head coach Bill Belichick. "They are not going to reschedule any games so we'll have to be ready when the season opens. That's our challenge to be ready."
After trimming the roster to 67 this week (including three roster exemptions), Thursday's preseason finale against the Panthers will be the final auditions for another 14 Patriots candidates. All teams must trim their rosters to 53 by Sunday afternoon.
The Patriots open the regular season hosting last week's opponent, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be their second game against the Bucs in 14 days and is the first time in franchise history that the Patriots have played their season opening opponent during the preseason.