The New England Patriots and Detroit Lions are set to face off tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET in front of 64,500 fans at Ford Field, and Week 3 of the preseason is when we see the starters get the brunt of the playing time as something closely resembling a tune-up game. The Patriots are 2-0 in the preseason thus far with wins over the Philadelphia Eagles and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, while the Lions are 1-1 in the preseason. Calvin Johnson did not play in one of those games, and thus the Lions first-team offense has yet to score a touchdown. But make no mistake, Matthew Stafford and Co. will be getting more snaps, and this first-team offense is dangerous. Bill Belichick and Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington have said as much, and I hope we get to see a lot of Calvin Johnson on the field; he will present a great test for this Patriots secondary here in the preseason.
Today’s game will be shown locally on WBZ-TV CBS Boston, and we’ll get to hear a broadcast once again similar to what was done against the Eagles in Week 1. Dan Roche is doing the play-by-play, former Pats TE Christian Fauria will provide some analysis, and PFW beat guys Andy Hart and Paul Perillo will also be chiming in analysis. But the star of the group is definitely former Patriots LB Matt Chatham on the sidelines, and CBS’s Steve Burton will also be present. The Patriots broadcast in the preseason is purposefully set as more of a talk-show kind of theme and feel in order to try and attract new fans. It’s a nice way to try something new and talk about things once the game gets dry, but I personally just love watching the bubble guys in an effort to see who might stand out. The end results of the preseason are never important, but the individual performances are.
Scott Zolak and Bob Socci will once again be calling this game on radio via 98.5 FM, so this game will not be televised or broadcasted by radio nationally.
Patriots Expected Injuries
Rob Gronkowski, Mark Harrison, and Armond Armstead are all inactive and will not play due to either injury or infection, but those are the obvious absences for the New England Patriots. According to ESPN Boston’s Field Yates, we should expect to see defensive end Jermaine Cunningham and cornerback Brandon Jones absent today after not practicing this week. Jones might not even make the practice squad, while Cunningham is squarely on the bubble and should probably move onto a team that will utilize him as a 3-4 OLB.
Yates also tabs Justin Francis, Marcus Cannon, Kamar Aiken, Ras-I Dowling, and Daniel Fells as players who are not expected to play either. Dowling is almost always injured, Cannon has been out for the past couple of weeks, but it is interesting to see that Aiken could miss some time. Devin McCourty shed his no-contact jersey recently, and it looks like he should be ready to play. Alfonzo Dennard and Dan Connolly have been suffering from minor injuries, but I think we’ll see Connolly playing in Week 3 and ditto to Dennard.
One player I left off of the list? Danny Amendola, whose status for today’s game is questionable after missing practice with a very minor injury. I don’t expect him to play, especially since he is the Patriots top receiver and we already know what the Pats have in him. It is more important for the rookies to get snaps (especially from Tom Brady), and I want to see more of Josh Boyce tonight.
More TV Info
Honolulu, Hawaii KFVE-TV Ch.5
Metro Detroit – WXYZ (ABC 7)
Cadillac/Traverse City – WFQX (FOX 33)
Grand Rapids – WXMI (FOX 17)
Lansing – WSYM (FOX 47)
Marquette/Escanaba – WJMN (CBS 3)
Saginaw/Flint/Bay City – WNEM (CBS 5)
Toledo/Ohio – WUPW (FOX 36)
Below are some links from our site and the web worth reading before the game.
Note: Our game preview is posted on the front page.