It's the all-important third preseason game, and Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will take on the Detroit Lions and their revamped roster - led by Ndamukong Suh - on Saturday evening at Ford Field (8 p.m EDT; CBS).
As is customary, the starters for both teams - Brady included - should see the most playing time of any preseason game, as the third preseason contest has always been seen as the most important regarding the team's makeup.
While Brady and other starters like Wes Welker, BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Chad Ochocinco have already seen some playing time, defensive stars Albert Haynesworth and Shaun Ellis still haven't suited up for the Pats on gameday. The statud of either for Saturday night's game is unknown, but both have practiced this week.
The last time Brady and the Patriots took on the Lions was on Thanksgiving Day last year, and the Pats stomped them 45-24. Brady was 21-for-27 for 341 yards and four TDs in the blowout win. Deion Branch collected 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns on three receptions and Wes Welker had eight catches for 90 yards and two scores.
It's unlikely that the Lions will lay an egg like they did last season, seeing as how this year's team is looking like the one that snaps Detroit's lengthy streak of losing football seasons. However, the Patriots have scored no less than 31 points in a game this preseason and have outscored their opponents 76-26 through eight quarters of football.
Detroit has looked strong this preseason, blowing out the Cincinnati Bengals, 34-3, and edging the Cleveland Browns, 30-28, in their first two preseason tilts. Lions QB Matthew Stafford has had a solid preseason, throwing for 156 yards and three TDs on 12-of-17 passing. Stafford has yet to be touched by opposing defenses, but that's likely to change with New England's high octane defense.
Provided that the starters perform well for the Patriots, it's likely that you will see very few of them in action in the Patriots' preseason finale against the New York Giants - a rematch of Super Bowl XLI - next Thursday night.