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For those of you that have forgotten the fact the Patriots play tonight because of other things that have gone down today, we're here to remind you that, yes, the Patriots in fact play tonight.

Bill Belichick and Co. will mercifully wrap up the 2015 preseason when they host the New York Giants tonight at Gillette Stadium, clearing the final hurdle before we can finally turn our attention to the real stuff a week from today.

Coming off the announcement from Judge Richard Berman that Tom Brady's four-game suspension has been wiped clean off the table, the Patriots could lose by 236 points tonight and no one would really care.  Pats Nation is flying at an all-time high, but there is still business to attend to, and it's business that'll be carried out by the players looking to make the 53-man roster/practice squad.

It's all but assured that not a single starter will play tonight, leaving all 60-minutes to the 2's and 3's operating on the bubble to do their thing and make a final impression on Belichick and the rest of the coaching staff.

Heading into the kickoff at 7:30, here are a few key areas to look for as we put the wrap on the preseason:

Third Down Back Battle

Dion Lewis has done more than enough to proclaim himself the third down back at the start of the season. But what of James White and Travaris Cadet? Can they make a late push for the position? Needless to say, it'll be a bad omen for who's ever getting the bulk of the snaps as we get deeper into the action.

Secondary Shakeout 

Malcolm Butler is your starting left corner, and Tarell Brown seems to be the man on the right. Will veterans Bradley Fletcher and Robert McClain make a late charge to fight for the spot? As for the safeties, it's looking more and more likely that they'll carry six on the roster - Devin McCourty, Pat Chung, Duron Harmon, Tavon Wilson, Nate Ebner and Jordan Richards. Who will be cut to accommodate the crew?

Back To Being A Backup For Garoppolo 

Through the month, we've been monitoring each snap, each decision and each throw from Jimmy Garoppolo. Up until just a few hours ago, he was still slated to be the starting quarterback for weeks 1-4. With Brady being freed from Roger Goodell's boobery, Garoppolo is now bumped back behind #12 on the depth chart. Even still, it's no time for Garoppolo to suddenly toss all of the work he's put together through three weeks to the side. He needs to finish the preseason strong to keep his confidence up going into the new season, because who knows, maybe an ironic twist of fate will see Brady banged up for a week or two, and Garoppolo will be under center after all.

Photo credit: Mass Live

Mark Burke 9/03/2015 06:14:00 PM Edit
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