New York Giants Wrap Up Preseason Tonight: What to Watch vs. New England

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistAugust 29, 2012

Jul 28, 2012; Albany, NY, USA; New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) during training camp at University Field at SUNY Albany.  Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE

It's a Super Bowl rematch tonight (not really) as the New York Giants host the New England Patriots. Don't expect to see the starters for long, if at all, but there are still some key things to keep an eye on from New York's perspective. 

Such as...


Hakeem Nicks Tests His Foot

The starting wideout has been out for the majority of the offseason with a broken foot, but now he's back just in time for the preseason finale. Nicks has said he wants to get some real work in, so he's likely to go a little deeper than the rest of the starters tonight. Then again, Tom Coughlin could get cold feet and decide to give Nicks another week to recuperate. 


The No. 3 Receiver Battle Gets Settled

It really does feel like a toss-up between the experienced Domenik Hixon, the green but dangerous Rueben Randle and the unpredictable Ramses Barden. That's right, a three-way toss-up.

The rookie Randle has been the team's most productive player not named Cruz this summer, but Barden has been good in practice, and he fought his way back into contention here with a huge performance last week against the Bears.

Tonight could be especially interesting if these three get to take snaps opposite Nicks or in the slot with Victor Cruz taking it easy. 


Michael Coe in a Starting Role

One starter who might get some extra reps on defense is Coe, who's been promoted, with Prince Amukamara, Terrell Thomas and Jayron Hosley hurt and Aaron Ross gone. In other words, he might not have made the roster if it weren't for injuries and free-agent departures. 

Regardless, the veteran is getting a big opportunity here, and he'll have to play well tonight to ensure that it's him and not Bruce Johnson starting in a week's time.


Battles at Linebacker

Chase Blackburn continues to attempt to hold off Mark Herzlich, while Keith Rivers gets another chance to prove that he has revitalized his career. Those guys aren't fighting for roster spots, but later, guys like Spencer Paysinger, Greg Jones and Jake Muasau will be.

Paysinger has an edge over those two, but there's no indication how many linebackers Perry Fewell will be able to keep. With that uncertainty hanging over their heads, it'll be a big night for all three of those guys. And I'm guessing Jacquian Williams and Herzlich aren't feeling completely comfortable yet, either.


Adewale Ojomo

The undrafted rookie out of Miami has been bringing heat off the edge all summer, but that's come against reserve offenses throughout the preseason. Tonight, Ojomo could have some more opportunities to face New England's in-flux offensive line. 

But even if that doesn't happen, another big performance from Ojomo would make Tom Coughlin's life a little more difficult than it already will be over the next 48 hours. Who knows? Maybe he can edge out Adrian Tracy....


Check back later for a complete wrap on Big Blue's final preseason game.