The first full week of NFL preseason action kicks off on Thursday night with an exciting bout between the New York Giants and New England Patriots.
Both teams have undergone some changes in the coaching ranks that will make this game worth paying attention to.
The Giants will be especially intriguing to watch, thanks to talk early in the week from their new coach about who will be playing in this preseason opener.
New York Giants Overview
Last season was a disaster for the New York Giants, prompting a change at the head coach spot. Joe Judge is out, and former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll is in, as he will coach his first game for the Giants on Thursday night.
Daboll has said that he expects his starters to play in this contest, which means we will get our first look at Daniel Jones since he was lost for the season due to injury in 2021.
This is a big season for Daniel Jones, who will look to get his 2022 season started on the right foot in New England. The Giants put multiple new offensive linemen around Jones this year, including rookie right tackle Evan Neal who they drafted in the first round.
While the protection needs to be better around Jones, Jones himself needs to be more efficient with his throws and limit his turnovers this season, or he could be out of a job in the near future.
On defense, the Giants will see the debut of edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux, who they also drafted in the first round this offseason. How much we see of Thibodeaux and the rest of the starters remains to be seen.
But the message from Daboll is clear that he is looking to evaluate his entire roster to determine who is worthy of a long-term spot on the team, as even the starters are not safe from what he hopes will be a short rebuild.
New England Patriots Overview
The New England Patriots endured a rare first round playoff exit last season, but there were plenty of positives to be taken from their season.
Rookie quarterback Mac Jones was serviceable and will look to make a leap forward in his second season as a pro. This will be the first game that Jones and the Patriots do not have Josh McDaniels running their offense, as McDaniels took the Las Vegas Raiders’ head coaching position this offseason.
It will be very exciting to see how the Patriots’ offense functions starting with this preseason opener, as Matt Patricia is set to call the plays this season. Patricia had spent time as a defensive assistant with the Patriots before claiming the head coaching job in Detroit, which went poorly for all parties involved.
There are some questions about whether Patricia is the best choice to call plays for the young Mac Jones.
As usual, Bill Belichick has been relatively quiet about who is going to play and who is going to sit out for the Patriots here. But there is the potential for Jabrill Peppers to face his former team in this game if they choose to put him on the field.
Peppers could be a nice addition for the Patriots this season and a significant loss for the defense of the Giants.
This has the feel of an NFL game where one team cares a lot more about the outcome than the other.
The Giants are trying to build a cultural identity this season under Daboll, while the Patriots know their identity and are on solid ground under Belichick.