Normally the third week is considered a dress rehearsal for the regular season, but we know a lot of what to expect from the New England Patriots. It’s the Detroit Lions who haven’t quite shown us what they can do.
Here are three things to look for in tonight’s match-up between the Patriots and Lions at 7:30 pm EST.
1) Something still looks off about Matt Stafford. His mechanics still seem shaky and his timing as well. It might be that he hasn’t had most of his main weapons. It could be that it’s the preseason. It could be the limited amount of live game snaps. Whatever the reason, he hasn’t looked a ton better. We should see Stafford for a much longer time Thursday night, so we’ll get a better sense of what might be going on with him.
2) The Patriots have two intriguing young players in tight end Zach Sudfeld and wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins. Both have played well over the course of the preseason and stood out in camp and given that they are also at very thin positions either could find themselves with significant work not only Thursday night, but throughout the season as well.
3) Who will take the No. 2 running back spot: Joique Bell or Mikel Leshoure? Both have had their moments in the preseason, but neither has secured that second spot yet. Bell seems to have a little more dimension to him, as he can catch the ball well while Leshoure runs heavier between the tackles. Whomever steps up in this game could put an end to that battle.
Andrew Garda is a member of the Pro Football Writers Association. He is also a member of the fantasy football staff at Footballguys.com and an NFL writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him at @andrew_garda on Twitter.