By Bree Sison, WBZ-TV

FOXBOROUGH (CBS) – Fans began arriving at Gillette Stadium early Thursday morning, even though the Patriot’s first preseason game doesn’t start until 7:30 p.m.

The field was still being groomed, orange traffic cones were being set out in the parking lot, and the doors to the Hall of Fame had yet to open. Still dozens of fans meandered about the concourse, taking it all in.

“Training camp was kind of like Walmart after Thanksgiving,” Jeff Averill of Chicopee told WBZ-TV. He took three vacation days from work to see preseason action for the first time.

The reigning AFC Champions will take on the New Orleans Saints after two days of joint practices that were open to the public. The Saints won the NFC South title last year but very few fans had any concerns that the Patriots would beat them handily on Thursday.

“They’re troublemakers,” said Averill. “See you later Saints!”

One family traveled from Nebraska to see the game and to introduce their sons to the NFL experience.

“This is our first [Patriots game]. My wife, I talked her into it and she said ‘Okay I’ll go,'” explained Ike Carr who grew up as a Pats fan in New Hampshire.

Ike and his wife April even named their youngest child “Brady,” a tribute to Tom Brady.

“I got some flack for that one,” laughed Carr.

Carr’s brothers will join him at the preseason game, which doesn’t count in the team’s regular season record.

Gillette staff says it’s expecting a crowd of about 50,000 people.

You can follow Bree on Twitter @BreeSison.


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