Derrick Burgess and the pass rush. When the Patriots traded for the veteran, the primary purpose was to improve their pass rush. Burgess has almost exclusively lined up in a three-point stance across from the right tackle, and his one-on-one matchup against borderline Cincinnati starter Anthony Collins will provide a good barometer of pass-rush improvement. With the Bengals likely to start J.T. O’Sullivan at quarterback and work with a revamped line, edge rushers Burgess, Tully Banta-Cain & Co. should have opportunities to generate a solid rush.
Christopher Price presents his five things to watch for and evaluate during the game.
Joey Galloway. After an inauspicious debut in the preseason opener (zero catches on two balls thrown in his direction), the veteran wide receiver was targeted an awful lot this week in camp, getting plenty of reps with the No. 1 offense and appearing to have several balls thrown in his direction.
Look for him to have an increased role Thursday night. We say that for several reasons, not the least of which was the sequence described here, where he worked in an individual setting with Brady, Wes Welker and Randy Moss for an extended stretch, trying to get a handle on timing patterns involving the deep ball. (It will be interesting to see if that extra work pays off this week -- watch to see how many times Galloway is a primary receiver when New England does try and go deep.)
Ian Rapoport has five things to watch for during the New England-Cincinnati matchup.
Will Tom Brady finally get the hit he craves? Brady made his triumphant return last week from major knee reconstruction, going 10-for-15 for 100 yards and two touchdown passes, and answering many questions in the process. Not all questions, though. He hasn’t been hit yet. The quarterback joked that he wanted someone to "blast me," to which left tackle Matt Light said, "Oh no, he doesn’t." The ability to withstand a shot to that knee is key.
- 1966 AFL MVP Jim Nance and Patriots founder William H. "Billy" Sullivan will be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame in a free, public pregame ceremony tonight outside The Hall at Patriot Place.
- Tune in at 4:15 pm to watch the entire cermony LIVE right here on Patriots.com. Gil Santos will emcee this historic event.
- Andy Hart picks out the six most important words uttered by Tom Brady in his post-game Press Conference last week, "We're on a mission this year."
Patriots Today: Pats-Bengals preview, Hannah at the Hall, and more. (10.50 min. video)
- Chris Gasper reports the emphasis tonight is expected to be the ground attack.
- Mike Petraglia points out that the Bengals are still an explosive team.
- Globe 10.0: Chris Gasper and Mike Reiss offer their Bengals preview. (2.13 min. video)
- Christopher Price Behind Enemy Lines - Cincinnati edition. A quick roundup of how the Cincinnati media outlets are looking at Thursday’s Bengals-Patriots preseason game.
- Mark Farinella assumes that players who didn't play in last Thursday's Philly win may have significant roles against the Bengals - Kevin O'Connell, Ben Watson, Alex Smith, Fred Taylor and Shawn Springs.
- Ian Rapoport looks at the surprises and disappointments from Training Camp.
- Jeff Howe lists seven hot topics following Patriots Training Camp.
- Ian Rapoport describes the Q&A session with Laurence Maroney after camp, noting he's one funny guy.
- Shalise Manza Young reports Tully Banta-Cain is striving to make the best of his second chance.
- Jeff Howe notes how the Patriots' defense is focused on generating more QB pressure.
- Karen Guregian talks about the festivities surrounding the pre-game Hall of Fame induction ceremony tonight.
- Mike Reiss shows our former Patriots in their new team's uniforms. Part I and Part II.
- Mike Reiss will be online for his Thursday chat session at noon today. Always great insight here.
- Ian Rapoport highlights (lowlights?) Belichick's appearance on ESPN Radio's Mike and Mike in the Morning program, with Denis Leary and Lenny Clarke co-hosting.
- Mike Reiss gives us a peek at who the 2010 Patriots opponents will be.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Burned bridges: AFC East's largest pile of cinders?
- Joe Reedy (Cincinnati Enquirer) Patriots will test Bengals, plus Bengals vs. Patriots Scouting Report.
- Joe Reedy (Cincinnati Enquirer) Backups become focus with Palmer out.
- Tim Graham (ESPN) Time to worry about T.O.'s toe?
- Signing Favre sends dangerous messages to rest of Vikings players. (SI)
Jim Souhan (Minneapolis Star Tribune) Getting beyond it all and absorbing Favre. "Favre is a football Elvis. We just don't know yet whether he's going to be like young, dynamic Elvis or old, decrepit Elvis."
If you can get past the nagging facts in this story of a 40-year-old, self-absorbed, surgically repaired, still-injured, flip-flopping quarterback who shunned training camp and manipulated his way onto the roster of the rival of the team that made him a record-breaking legend, you must come to this realization:
Brett Favre signing with the Minnesota Vikings ranks among most stunning stories in the history of sport.