Football is officially back as the Super Bowl champion New England Patriots open up preseason play on Thursday night at the Detroit Lions.
Following a trio of joint practices this week, New England and Detroit will square off for only the tenth time in the preseason and first since 2017. In that last meeting, a two-point win for the Patriots, New England lost receiver Julian Edelman for the season with a torn ACL.
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Edelman played in last year’s preseason opener, a rarity, as he was rehabbing and was also suspended for the first four regular-season games.
As for 42-year-old Tom Brady, his presence in preseason openers is rare. Brady hasn’t suited up for a preseason opener since 2015 when he played in two series going 1 for 4 passing with 10 yards.
The Lions have several familiar faces of past Patriots on this year’s team, including head coach Matt Patricia.
On offense, receiver Danny Amendola spent five seasons with the Patriots, winning two Super Bowls. He scored 12 touchdowns on 2,393 yards receiving in the regular season, adding another six scores in the playoffs.
Four members of the Detroit defensive line spent time in New England – John Atkins, Darius Kilgo, Eric Lee, and Trey Flowers. While Atkins and Kilgo were offseason or practice squad contributors, Lee made a splash as an unknown, recording 2.5 sacks and an interception in his first two games late in the 2017 season.
Secondary members Justin Coleman, Rashaan Melvin, and Tavon Wilson all spent time with the Patriots as well.
Take Your Chances
Week 1 of preseason is never really a veteran-heavy contest. Don’t expect to see too many big-name players out there for either side. Rather, it’s a chance for rookies to get their feet wet as an NFL player for the first time.
For New England, Jarrett Stidham, N’Keal Harry, Chase Winovich, and Jakobi Meyers headline a long list of rookie impact players set to make their first appearance for the Patriots. Harry’s situation is up in the air after a leg injury in practice on Wednesday, though his status is still uncertain.
We’ll also see second-year players like Braxton Berrios and Ryan Izzo get a chance to compete following injury-plagued rookie seasons. New England is especially deep at a few positions, so competition for a roster spot will really heat up on Thursday.
But the main goal for both sides: stay healthy.
When: Thursday, August 8, 2019, 7:30 p.m.
Where: Ford Field, Detroit
How to Watch: NE – WBZ-TV and WBZ-FM (98.5); DET – WJBK and WJR-AM (760).
Series History: New England leads the all-time series 7-5, with Detroit winning the most recent matchup in Week 3 last season at home, 26-10. Detroit leads the preseason series, 6-3, with the Patriots winning most recently, 30-28, in 2017.