The final game of the preseason always offers a couple of things. One, it gives teams their last chance in game action to sharpen up things before the regular season gets rolling. Second, it gives them a chance to rest their starters.
While the Patriots are a veteran-laden squad, it may make sense for Bill Belichick to play his starters more than he might normally, at least some positions, to square away some potential areas of concern.
New England may use the final game to take a good look at what it has on the offensive line. That o-line did not look very strong on Saturday night in Detroit in what was really an unimpressive all-around effort for the Patriots against the Lions. Defensive game plans start and end with getting to Tom Brady when playing the Pats, and if the offensive line can't protect the reigning MVP, he becomes a totally different player.
After an impressive showing in Tampa during the team's second preseason game, the defensive pass rush also took a step or two backwards on Saturday night in Detroit. Of course, we haven't seen the full complement of the Patriots' pass rushers, though, with Shaun Ellis and Albert Haynesworth yet to see any action.
Another preseason game means another chance for Chad Ochocinco to get more acclimated with the Patriots system. He's admittedly struggled in his two preseason appearances, and he's pledged to get better. The Patriots may need him to get better sooner than later, too. Wes Welker says that his neck is fine, but we won't know for sure until he's back on the field. Until then, it's wait and see in both instances.
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