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Pats Preseason Starts Next Friday

Are You Prepared for Some Pigskin?

Just 166 hours until Patriots kickoff!

That's right. Next Friday, it all gets started. Sure, it's only preseason; but it's FOOTBALL!

Oh, boy, there's still a lot of work to do. Thankfully, there's still a lot of time to do it. Tedy Bruschi's wrist injury is still a mystery (I'll be posting more fully on that soon). Richard Seymour made it to the field, but he still hasn't practiced and remains officially on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

Deion Branch is still holding out. The rest of the Patriots receiving corps is still getting to know each other and their quarterback. The offensive line is still a half-finished jigsaw puzzle. "People" are still wondering whether Stephen Gostkowski or Martin Grammatica can fill Adam Vinatieri's shoes.

The list goes on.

But all teams are pretty much in similar situations. Everything is in doubt. The New York Jets don't even know who will be their starting quarterback. Dallas is adjusting to Terrell Owens (though it should be the other way around). Pittsburgh's quarterback is remembering what it's like to wear a helmet.

The list goes on.

So the Patriots head to Hotlanta to face the Falcons next Friday at 8 p.m. After that, they have back-to-back 8 p.m. Saturday night games against Arizona and Washington, both at Gillette Stadium; and they wrap up the preseason in New Jersey against the Giants at the Meadowlands at 7:30 p.m. on a Thursday.

For the first time since I can remember, New England doesn't face a single team during the regular season that they play in the preseason. Furthermore, all preseason games for the whole NFL this year are night games, and a great majority are scheduled for Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. There are only five Sunday night games, and three Monday night games. (There are actually a couple 4 p.m. games and one 6 p.m. game.)

The Hall of Fame game is this Sunday (one of the five Sunday games) at 8 p.m. Oakland and Philadelphia meet in Canton, Ohio, for the annual tradition.

Tune in next Friday for a generic preview of a game that doesn't matter (as long as no one gets injured) and a game that most of the starters won't play in for long.

But it will be football!