In only eight days, the New England Patriots will kick off the 2017 NFL season against the Kansas City Chiefs. Before that, however, the team still has to play one more game: Tomorrow (7:30 p.m. ET), the defending world champions will host the New York Giants for the two teams' traditional week four preseason contest.
As usual, the game will be most important for players on the roster bubble fighting for a spot on the team or the practice squad. It is therefore no surprise that New England is expected to rest its core players as the Boston Herald's Jeff Howe reported earlier today:
Tom Brady and the veterans are expected to get the night off tomorrow against the Giants, per source. They're on to Kansas City.
In fact, barring a late change, Jacoby Brissett is being prepped as the starting QB vs. the Giants.
The Patriots have taken this approach in the past: Brady, the rest of the starters as well as players who have secured their spot on the team typically do not see the field during the final week of preseason. And while the future Hall of Fame quarterback did play more than half the offensive snaps last year, the circumstances were different as Brady was facing a four-game suspension in 2016.
With no pressing questions on the top of the roster this year, New England is able to give its core players another week of rest before the season opener. Consequently, this also means that tomorrow's game will give an indication about whose spot on the team is safe and who is still fighting for his roster life. The game is not so meaningless after all.