FOXBOROUGH -- The New England Patriots will close out the 2011 preseason against the New York Giants tonight at Gillette Stadium with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m.
The Patriots are 2-1 in the preseason while the Giants come into their final preseason game at 1-2, losing on Monday to the New York Jets 17-3. The Patriots are coming off a 34-10 loss to the Detroit Lions.
This is the seventh straight season the Patriots have closed out the preseason against the Giants, losing last year 20-17 at New Meadowlands Stadium.
Tonight will be a special game for the Patriots as the team will honor the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Former Patriots guard Joe Andruzzi along with his three New York City firefighter brothers and their father will be recognized on the field as honorary game captains and participate in the coin toss. The Andruzzzis were recognized on the field at Foxboro Stadium Sept. 23, 2001, just 12 days after the terrorist attacks that shook the nation. Also, all five branches of the United States military will be on hand as well local and state police along with local firefighters.
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m.
Preseason records: Patriots 2-1; Giants 1-2
TV/Radio info: WBZ-TV Ch. 4 (Don Criqui, Randy Cross); 98.5-FM The Sports Hub (Gil Santos, Gino Cappelletti)
Projected starting lineups*
(Based on pregame material distributed to media.)
Patriots offense: WR Wes Welker, LT Matt Light, LG Logan Mankins, C Dan Koppen, RG Dan Connolly, RT Sebastian Vollmer, TE Rob Gronkowski, WR Deion Branch, QB Tom Brady, RB Danny Woodhead, RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis.
Giants offense: WR Mario Manningham, LT Will Beatty, LG David Diehl, C David Baas, RG Chris Snee, RT Kareem McKenzie, TE Travis Beckum, WR Hakeem Nicks, QB Eli Manning, FB Bear Pascoe, RB Ahmad Bradshaw.
Patriots defense: LE Albert Haynesworth, NT Vince Wilfork, RE Mike Wright, OLB Rob Ninkovich, ILB Jerod Mayo, ILB Brandon Spikes, OLB Jermaine Cunningham, LCB Devin McCourty, RCB Leigh Bodden, S Brandon Meriweather, S Patrick Chung.
Giants defense: LE Justin Tuck, DT Linval Joseph, DT Chris Canty, RE Jason Pierre-Paul, SLB Mathias Kiwanuka, MLB Jonathan Goff, WLB Michael Boley, LCB Corey Webster, RCB Aaron Ross, SS Kenny Phillips, FS Antrel Rolle.
Last-minute auditions: For the Patriots, they're still nailing down who they'll keep at key positions, including (but not limited to): receiver, running back, defensive line, inside linebacker and safety. It's expected that safeties Josh Barrett, James Ihedigbo and Ross Ventrone will get a good majority of the playing time, while special teams play will also be eyed closely for the inside linebackers.
Who will actually play: It's undetermined if we'll actually see Patriots newcomers Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis this week. Haynesworth, listed in the projected starting lineup above, has been listed as the projected starter since Week 1 of the preseason against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Also, it's undetermined if Brandon Spikes, who has recently started practicing after coming back from an ankle injury, is going to play. The same can be said for Wes Welker after suffering a neck injury against the Detroit Lions and Dan Connolly who suffered an ankle injury against the Lions. On top of that, the Giants might sit all of their starters, according to the New York Post. Needless to say, take the projected starting lineups with a grain of salt. However, we are expecting to see Patriots rookie running back Shane Vereen and rookie cornerback Ras-I Dowling make their debuts after practicing the past couple of weeks. Both have been hampered by injuries through training camp.