Thursday, August 8th marks the start of the preseason for the New England Patriots. The Pats are set to take on old friend Matt Patricia and the Detroit Lions in this Week One matchup. After a week of joint practices, there is plenty to watch for heading into the Patriots vs Lions preseason opener.
New England Patriots vs Detroit Lions
The Patriots have many ties to the Lions. Whether it’s head coach Matt Patricia, or wide receiver Danny Amendola, there are plenty of former Patriots in Detroit. This familiarity should make for a fun and interesting matchup as far as preseason games are concerned. In addition to that, the Pats have their fair share of interesting storylines to look out for during the preseason. Without further delay let’s dive into some of the most important things to watch for in Week 1 of the preseason.
N’Keal Harry and Jakobi Meyers
One of the most compelling stories in camp thus far has been the receiving corps. With several new faces and a few rookies, the Patriots have a very unproven group of pass catchers for 42-year-old Tom Brady. Some of the most notable names in this group are first-rounder N’Keal Harry and undrafted free agent Jakobi Meyers. Fans should definitely watch for these two names Thursday night. The two have gone back and forth throughout camp with acrobatic catches over defenders. Finally being able to see them in-game action will be very interesting and fans should expect both to see a solid amount of targets.
How Will Jarrett Stidham Perform?
Due to it being the first preseason game it’s very unlikely fans will see Tom Brady suit up. With that being said, no Brady will create an opportunity for backups Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham to see some action. The more interesting of these two players is, of course, rookie signal-caller Jarrett Stidham. Stidham, by all accounts, has had a good camp. He’s experienced the usual ups and downs of a rookie but overall has held his own. With Brady seemingly nearing the end of his career, Stidham figures to be next up at quarterback. Being able to watch him get his first NFL game action will tell fans a great deal about whether or not he has what it takes to be the next quarterback in New England. He was much better than his numbers at Auburn show. Stidham suffered from a bad offensive line and a poor scheme. Neither of these things are issues with the Patriots so it will be exciting to see how Stidham plays in an offense more suited to his skillset.
Is the Defense as Good as Reported?
Nearly every report out of camp so far has spoken glowingly of the Patriots defense. They brought back most of the key players from last year’s group, including Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Devin McCourty, and Kyle Van Noy. They let lineman Trey Flowers to leave for Detroit, but New England replaced him with Michael Bennett.
The defense has been shutting down Brady and the offense throughout camp in nearly every drill they’ve done. It took nearly two whole weeks for any quarterback to complete a pass in Gilmore’s direction. It remains to be seen if the defense is really that good, or if the offense has just taken a long time to get into sync. This question along with the others previously mentioned will no doubt be answered on Thursday night in Detroit.
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