Giants Vs. Patriots Preseason Preview: What to Watch For

Richard ReschCorrespondent ISeptember 2, 2009

GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 03:  Wide receiver Plaxico Burress #17 of the New York Giants catches a 13-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter over Ellis Hobbs #27 of the New England Patriots during Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.  The Giants defeated the Patriots 17-14.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

1. Derek Hagan Vs. Sinorice Moss

One of these two receivers will not make the team.  Hagan has been great in practice and had a solid game against the Jets, and I doubt the Giants would risk trying to put him on their practice squad.  Moss has been invisible lately. 

If he doesn't do anything spectacular on Thursday, and perhaps even if he does, I expect him to be the odd man out. 

Maybe the Giants will try to trade Moss for a late round draft pick.


2. Hakeem Nicks

While starters Domenik Hixon and Steve Smith had games to forget, Hakeem Nicks had his coming out party against the Jets. 

It'll be interesting to see when he is on the field, and for how long.  He has the highest upside of any Giants receiver, and he has dazzled in practice. 

Coach Coughlin likes to take it slow with rookies, but he can't afford to keep Nicks off the field if he is the best option. 

The amount of playing time he gets on Thursday (and the amount of time he sees with the first teamers) could give us a hint as to what Coughlin is planning for the youngster.

It would also be nice to see fellow rookie wideout Ramses Barden get involved in the offense.

3. Young Linebackers

With the starters likely only playing one series, we should get a good look at some of the younger linebackers that could contribute on defense. 

Guys like Jonathan Goff, Bryan Kehl and Clint Sintim have impressed, and could all be a big part of this defense in the near future. 

Kehl is the seasoned veteran of this group, and he has already played with the starters.  Sintim is a good looking rookie and Goff (who missed his entire rookie season due to injury) could take over for Antonio Pierce in a couple of years. 

If all three continue to develop, they could help bolster a linebacking core that was a major weakness last season.

4. Third String QB Battle

Eli Manning and David Carr have the top two spots locked up, but we should get to see an extended look at both Andre Woodson and Rhett Bomar. 

Woodson is near the end of his rope, despite looking good in practice.  He needs a great game to have a chance of staying on this team. 

Bomar has the higher upside, and a good game could force the Giants to keep him on the roster. They probably don't want to risk stashing him on the practice squad, as another team would probably steal him away.

5. Will Beatty

With David Diehl hobbled, Second round pick Beatty will get the nod at the all important left tackle. 

Beatty was forced into action against the Jets, and was able to hold his own.  If the Giants' offensive line runs into injuries in the regular season, Beatty may get the call, so this will be a good preview of what we hope we won't have to see this season.


Bonus Thing To Watch For:

Rich Ohrenberger

You may be wondering why I have chosen to highlight the Patriots' fourth round rookie offensive lineman.  Well I'm a sucker for name-dropping, and Ohrenberger happened to be in my graduating class in East Meadow High School (Long Island).  He is a really nice guy, who graciously autographed my yearbook on the last day of school.  Here's to hoping that he becomes an all-pro lineman, so that I may sell my yearbook for a modest profit.