A concoction of zany things tend to happen when the New England Patriots face the New York Giants in both meaningless and meaningful games, so it may be for the better that QB Tom Brady and other notable starters are expected to watch from the safety of their own sideline.
Giants head coach Tom Coughlin said earlier this week that his own starters will log somewhere between 12 and 15 plays. For the mulling masochist in each of us, Eli Manning has an even better chance to make the Highlight Reel of Suspended Belief against the Patriot bench. Watch at your own peril.
With the Buffalo Bills looming on the horizon--and the team escaping preseason mostly intact--the added rest doesn't come as a surprise. Brady has looked exceptionally sharp throughout the preseason and appears to be gelling with an all-new receiving corps that was a monolithic question mark to begin the season. In his career, Brady has only played in four preseason finales out of 11 possible appearances.
Ryan Mallett looks to start tonight with Tim Tebow relieving under-center duties in the late first or early second half. Much has been made of Tebow's wont to prove his mettle to the coaching staff, but at this stage a decision has likely already been made. Tebow has completed five passes in 19 attempts--good for a 26.3 completion percentage and a 17.7 quarterback rating. Mallett, on the other hand, has completed a hair over 50% of his passes, going 32-60 and recording a 80.6 QBR.
The Patriots are on the clock to trim down and complete their 53-man roster by Saturday afternoon.