The New England Patriots will take on the New York Giants in both teams’ preseason opener tonight, but don’t get excited to see Mac Jones and the starters on either side of the ball just yet. As first reported by ESPN’s Mike Reiss and Dan Graziano, the expectation is that they will not take the field against New York.
Even with preseason only three games nowadays, the Patriots opting against using their starters does not come as too big a surprise. As head coach Bill Belichick pointed out earlier this week, the contest versus the Giants is just one step in the process.
“Giants is one thing, continuing to progress the team through training camp and our installation and so forth is another thing,” he told reporters on Monday.
“Padded practices, conditioning, et cetera, that’s all part of it, too. We’re trying to continue to string productive days together in camp. We’ll see how things go against the Giants, and then we got a couple big weeks against Carolina, then Vegas. Kind of getting into an active schedule here coming up.”
New England still has two exhibition contests on its schedule as well as joint practices versus the Carolina Panthers and Las Vegas Raiders. The Panthers will visit Foxborough next week, with the Patriots traveling to Las Vegas the week after.
Additionally, sitting Mac Jones and company will give the coaching staff more opportunities to evaluate the depth and roster bubble players currently under contract. A significant number of them will see the field on Thursday night, oftentimes in their first game setting as Patriots.
New England’s preseason game against the Giants is set for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff. Make sure to check out our Patriots Viewing Guide for broadcast information and more.