What To Watch For In Patriots-Buccaneers

August 24, 2012 12:00 AM
What To Watch For In Patriots-Buccaneers
" BOSTON (CBS) –  The Patriots will play their third preseason game Friday night in what will be the closest we get to a real NFL game for New England until Sept. 9 in Tennessee.

Most of the Patriots’ stars are expected to take the field against the Buccaneers in Tampa after not playing Monday night against the Eagles, in what will likely be their final game-action tune-up before the regular season starts.

Here are four stories to keep an eye on Friday night.

The Starters Are Back

That’s right, instead of Ryan Mallett throwing to Alex Silvestro, we’ll get to see Tom Brady do his thing with Rob Gronkowski (at least for two or three quarters). Brady was 4-of-7 for 30 yards in his Game 1 tune-up against the Saints at Gillette, and like all the other star players, didn’t play much past New England’s first two drives. We should get a better picture of how the Brady-Brandon Lloyd connection is looking, as the two completed just one pass that was later wiped out by a penalty against New Orleans.

On the defensive side, Vince Wilfork has said the defense is making strides and starting to jell "

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