New England Patriots tidbits to look for in the preseason opener

Here's what you should look at when you're watching the Patriots preseason opener against the Houston Texans on Thursday night
Aug 1, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches the team
Aug 1, 2023; Foxborough, MA, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick watches the team / Eric Canha-USA TODAY Sports

New England Patriots fans have been waiting for this day for the better part of seven months now. Ever since the loss to the Buffalo Bills in week 18 last season, we've been waiting to see them come back in 2023. Hopefully with a much better product on the field! But now we won't have to wait much longer.

The New England Patriots take on the Houston Texans on Thursday, August 10th. This will be the only home preseason game for the Patriots, so fans better make sure they can get to the field to check out actual (somewhat) game action! But if you can't, and you're stuck with watching it at home, here are a few tidbits to pay attention.

New England Patriots "QB Battle" between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe

One thing that a lot of people are going to look at closely is the "QB battle" between Mac Jones and Bailey Zappe. Let me be clear about one thing here folks: there is no battle. This is Mac Jones' team and the Zappe crowd is just going to have to accept that. Regardless, people are going to pay attention to the playing time.

Personally? I think Mac should start and play maybe 2-3 series before giving it over to Zappe. For the second half, we better see a whole lot of Trace McSorley. Then we'll gradually see Mac play more in the second game of the preseason before sitting out the starters in the preseason finale.

New England Patriots offense under Bill O'Brien

This is without a doubt the biggest problem that needed to be addressed this off-season. Yes, the additions of Juju Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki will be great for this offense. Sure, Demario Douglas could pan out as a rookie surprise and give this offense some desperately needed speed. But Bill O'Brien will be driving the car for this offense. Will the offense look like they know what they're doing? Can there be some actual creativity and flow that we saw pretty much none of in 2022?

I think O'Brien's offense is going to look very similar to Josh McDaniels in 2021. What happened that last season when Mac had a legit offensive coordinator? Oh yeah, they made the playoffs after missing it in 2020. Yes, I know the Bills obliterated them in the Wild Card round, but that's beside the point.

The bottom line with the New England Patriots preseason opener Thursday night

It's great that football is back on the airwaves! We've missed it, we've craved it, and now we get to watch it unfold in front of us. With sports being slow in the summer, with the exception of baseball daily; it's great to have

Let's not get all up in arms over the first preseason game. We can be critical of outrageous things that go on if we see them. But little things? Let's make sure we take a breath before we jump to monumentous conclusions.

So enjoy Thursday night, Patriots fans. Congratulations, you made it through another off-season!