The New Orleans Saints will look to finish the preseason undefeated on Thursday night when they take to the road to battle the Miami Dolphins at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens.
Miami will be playing in front of its home crowd for the second time in five days, but for only the second time this preseason. The Dolphins are 1-3 coming in, but have yet to lose by more than seven points this preseason.
These two teams will meet in a meaningful matchup on Monday Night Football in Week 4 in New Orleans, but for now, their fan bases will have to settle for a low-stakes warm-up to wet their appetite.
Here we'll get you ready with everything you need to know for Thursday night's preseason finale.
When: Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Sun Life Stadium, Miami
Watch: WVUE Ch. 8 (New Orleans), WFOR Ch. 4 (Miami)
Live Stream: Preseason Live (paid subscription required)
Spread: Dolphins (-6), according to Covers.com
Saints Injuries (via USA Today)
DE Will Smith, Out, Knee
DE Kenyon Coleman, Out, Pectoral
WR Joseph Morgan, Out, Knee
LB Jonathan Vilma, Questionable, Knee
LB Victor Butler, Out, Knee
Dolphins Injuries (via USA Today)
DE Dion Jordan, Questionable, Shoulder
TE Dustin Keller, Out, Knee
Saints' Player to Watch: Kenny Stills, WR
Fifth-round draft pick Kenny Stills is looking strong this preseason for New Orleans. Through three games, he has seven receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
The former Oklahoma Sooners star was overlooked on draft day, but hasn't needed many opportunities with the Saints' offense this preseason to showcase his dynamic skill set. With Drew Brees getting him the ball this fall, Stills could be one of the league's top breakout players.
Stills caught 82 balls for 959 yards and 11 touchdowns for Oklahoma in 2012, but flew under the radar after Oklahoma fell out of national championship contention early in the year.
Dolphins' Player to Watch: Brandon Gibson, WR
Brandon Gibson, an under-the-radar fifth-year receiver who spent the past four seasons in St. Louis, has come on strong for the Dolphins' offense in recent preseason outings.
In last Saturday night's loss to Tampa Bay, Gibson led Miami receivers with five catches for 43 yards and a touchdown. Gibson's four-yard touchdown reception late in the third quarter gave the Dolphins the lead going into the fourth quarter before a late Buccaneers' score did them in.
While the former Washington State standout still has some progress to make, his play during training camp and the preseason has caught the eye of starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill, via the Dolphins' Twitter account:
Tannehill says Brandon Gibson is getting more comfortable in the slot: "He's continuously getting better."— Miami Dolphins (@MiamiDolphins) August 26, 2013
Gibson has 174 receptions for 2,090 yards and nine touchdowns for his NFL career and will look to build on that in 2013.
Which team will win Thursday night's matchup?
Running the table in the preseason is great and all, but it doesn't guarantee regular-season success.
Still, the New Orleans Saints' coaching staff will want to remind their players what's at stake on Thursday night in South Beach. With a win, the Saints will head into the regular season owning a flawless 4-0 mark and loads of momentum. A loss would end the team's exhibition season on a sour note and potentially start a downward trend.
Miami will want to conclude the preseason on a high note as well, but the Dolphins have been unable to get over the hump in close games this preseason.
Overall, New Orleans has been the better and more consistent team this August. That combination is sure to doom the Dolphins on Thursday night.
Saints 31, Dolphins 24
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