1. The New England Patriots have recently started to send out their season tickets for the upcoming campaign. The packages include various gimmicks besides the tickets for New England's 2017 home games. Instead of the usual 10 tickets (two preseason plus eight regular season contests), the team also included something else: Tickets for potential home playoff games. Given that the team has reached the AFC title game an NFL-record six years in a row, hosting four of them, this is no surprise.
2. Speaking of season tickets: The Patriots have sold out every game since Robert Kraft purchased the club in 1994. One of the main reasons for that is the season ticket holders - and it appears that the franchise is set up well for the future: In March, the team had almost 70,000 people on its season tickets waiting list.
3. The first game for season tickets holders - and others who have purchased tickets to the sold-out affair - will take place on Thursday when the Patriots host the Jacksonville Jaguars. The last game the two teams played also took place at Gillette Stadium: In week three of the 2015 season, New England blew out the visitors with a score of 51-17; the most points Jacksonville had surrendered in franchise history. Given the nature of preseason games, a similar score seems rather unrealistic.
4. In the days leading up to the game, the Patriots and Jaguars will conduct various joint practice sessions - the first if three New England will hold this year. The team will also join forces with the Houston Texans and Detroit Lions. 2017 does therefore mark the sixth straight year the Patriots hold joint practices with another team - and the first since 2013 that New England prepares for the season by practicing together with a regular season opponent.
5. In 2013, the Patriots hosted the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for joint sessions. Just five weeks later, the two teams met again in week three of the regular season. New England won the game 23-3. This year, the Patriots will travel to West Virginia to practice together with the Houston Texans - a team they will also face five weeks later, in week three of the regular season. It remains to be seen whether or not New England will have the same success as it had had four years ago.
6. The joint sessions against the Jaguars and later Texans and Lions will be the next test for a New England team that has seen some impressive training camp performances by its rookie class. Fourth round defensive lineman Deatrich Wise Jr. has regularly seen practice reps with the starters, as did undrafted linebacker Harvey Langi. Both could play big roles on a defense that needs to replace retired veteran Rob Ninkovich.
7. Wise Jr. and Langi are not the only rookies to positively stand out during camp so far. Undrafted wide receiver Austin Carr has shown some good route running and pass catching skills. Cornerback Kenny Moore II, also undrafted, was highly competitive in coverage during the first few practices. Recently, third round picks Derek Rivers and Antonio Garcia have looked solid during one-on-ones, while undrafted defensive tackle Adam Butler saw considerable snaps with the first-team defense.