Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots take on the Jacksonville Jaguars at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday night at Gillette Stadium in the preseason opener for both teams. Here's what you need to know about the game.
Event: New England Patriots vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL Preseason Week 1.
Date/Time: Thursday, August 11, 2011 - 7:30 p.m. EDT
Location: Gillette Stadium (Capacity 68,756), Foxboro, MA.
Broadcast Info: Thursday night's game between the Patriots and Jaguars will be televised locally on Channel 4 (CBS), and will not be viewable beyond the New England region. The game will be aired on WBZ-FM 98.5 The Sports Hub, the flagship station of the New England Patriots.
Storyline: There are several things to watch in the Patriots' first (unofficial) game post-lockout, but the top story is what base defense the Pats use. Will it be the usual 3-4, or is Belichick going to switch it up to the 4-3? In addition, the backup quarterback battle should be good between Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallet. Stay tuned. Tom Brady shouldn't play that much (watch how he performs post foot surgery, too), so we will see a lot of Hoyer/Mallet.
Blaine Gabbert is the Jaguars' top storyline entering Thursday's game, as this is the first time the rookie will be starting for Jacksonville with starter David Garrard out with a non-serious injury.
Missing Patriots: The Pats had 19 players who didn't suit up for the pre-game walk though, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN Boston. Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, Brandon Spikes, Shane Vereen, Brandon Tate and Kevin Faulk are a few of the names on that list. See more players unlikely to play for the Pats over at ESPN Boston.