The New England Patriots (2-1) will play the New York Giants (4-0) on the road on Thursday, Aug. 28, in each team’s final preseason game. The Giants have had one extra preseason game due to playing the Buffalo Bills in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 3.
The big story surrounding this game is the Patriots reportedly stating they will start rookie Jimmy Garoppolo in their final preseason game and that he is expected to play the majority of the game and possibly all of it. Garoppolo has played well this preseason, throwing for 334 yards on 24-for-37 passing with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Head coach Bill Belichick has said it will be good for the rookie QB to see what it feels like to be a starter and to be in the game for every situation.
That is Belichick looking ahead and knowing (he has probably known for some time) that Ryan Mallett (drafted 74th overall in 2011 draft), who has been the backup behind starter Tom Brady for the past two seasons, will not be in New England after this season. Mallet started the Patriots’ Week 1 preseason game and he failed to impress.
It’s not terrible to have three three QBs on your roster, but the Patriots don’t always carry three, although they have in the past. It is doubtful that the St. Louis Rams will trade for Mallett, but it would be great if the Patriots could get something back in return for him. The deadline for NFL teams to trim their rosters to 53 players is Aug. 30. Will Mallett still be on the Patriots’ roster even if Garoppolo has passed him on the depth chart? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Garoppolo will face the Giants’ starters at the beginning of the game. Tom Coughlin, the Giants head coach, has told the media he plans to play his starters “a little bit” on Thursday against the Patriots. That may be a good game plan by Coughlin, because although the Giants are a perfect 4-0 so far in the preseason, they do not appear to be capable of being a playoff team in the tough NFC. Their offense is currently ranked 20th in the league, and their defense is ranked 11th. Granted the starters have not been on the field a lot, but even when they have been, the Giants have not looked ready for the start of the season, especially on offense. A large part of that is because their offensive line is a hot mess. Outside of J.D. Walton at center, the rest of the offensive line is in flux. That’s no bueno if you’re QB Eli Manning or the Giants.
Backup QB Ryan Nassib has continued to play better and better as the preseason has gone on, and he currently leads the Giants with 481 passing yards. With Coughlin telling reporters that Manning will only play about 15-18 snaps against the Patriots, expect Nassib to get a chance to work with most of the Giants starters. Will Nassib be effective with the first team? Keep an eye on WR Corey Washington. Throughout the preseason he has shown he can make plays, but he hasn’t been given an opportunity to prove what he can do against opposing teams’ first and second-string defenses. Washington may just get his chance against the Patriots on Thursday.
When Patriots fans hear the word “Giants”, bile creeps up in their throat because of the two Super Bowl losses against them. Patriots fans want to beat the Giants at anything, even in a pretty meaningless preseason game. Winning would be the smallest of small victories for Patriots fans, but a victory nonetheless.