Football is finally back, even if it is only in preseason capacity. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will open their preseason schedule against the New Orleans Saints at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA (TV/Radio: WBZ/98.5 The Sports Hub, Sirius: 85).
New England is in its second week of training camp, but is coming off a season in which it fell just short of Super Bowl glory, falling to the New York Giants, 21-17, in Indianapolis on February 5. Without a doubt, the Patriots will use that loss as their motivational centerpiece for the entire season.
New Orleans, which won a Super Bowl championship in 2009, has had a turbulent offseason with the bounty scandal that resulted in an indefinite suspension for former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and a one-year ban for Saints head coach Sean Payton. Williams and the Saints allegedly rewarded players with bounties when they inflicted injury upon opponents from the 2009 season through 2011. Four Saints players were suspended following the incident, including former Patriots linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who was sidelined for the entire 2012 season.
The Saints opened up the new year of football with a 17-10 win over the Arizona Cardinals in Sunday's Hall Of Fame game, the first game of the preseason. Brees completed 4-of-5 passes for 41 yards and backup Chase Daniel had a strong game, connecting on 15-of-20 passes for 203 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Travaris Cadet had eight catches for 80 yards and a score in the win for New Orleans.
New England will welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to Foxboro in Week 2 of the preseason.
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