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BOSTON (CBS) — Here are a couple things to look for in tonight’s Patriots third preseason game.
- This will truly be a good test for what the Pats want to do. The Lions have Pro Bowlers on offense and on defense and the last time the Pats played there in the preseason, they got wiped out. Players this week talked about this game as if it counted toward the regular season standings. So after keeping a closed play book for most of the regular season, they may open it up tonight.
- Aqib Talib should be matched up against Calvin Johnson. It’s going to be telling to see how the Pats cover him and keep the other receivers at bay. Devin McCourty ended the week without the red jersey so he should be a full go. How they cover Johnson will tell us how they are going to cover many of the bigger wide receivers they have to play.
- Reggie Bush is now a Lion and that should test the Pats’ run defense. He can catch it out of the backfield and run between the tackles — a dual threat who will give that front seven a good look.
- The Lions defense is going to be physical. Ndamukoung Suh and Nick Fairley are just that way. This will be a prime-time test for the New England offensive line. Can they keep Tom Brady clean and upright? This may be as big a test as they get all season.
- Ryan Mallett has gotten better and better as the preseason has gone on. He needs to keep improving and moving the team. If he plays well tonight, teams may come asking for him real soon.
- I think everybody came out of the blocks raving about rookie defensive player Jamie Collins. He needs to shine tonight. His status on the roster is not in jeopardy, but for all everyone has said about him, Collins has just been OK. Want him to jump off the page.
- Julian Edelman should get a lot of opportunities tonight. I don’t think Danny Amendola is going to play, so Julian could get the start. His preseason has been so-so. He might be on the bubble. This game he needs to prove something.
- Can Stephen Gostkowski get through a preseason game without any misses? This needs to happen. He’s already missed three. Tonight his effort needs to be solid.
- We all know what Tim Tebow needs to do. He’s told us that he’s trying to get better and enjoy practice. He needs to get better and find joy on the field. Erase the effort that everyone witnessed against Tampa. Tebow should get a chance tonight. For his sake, he needs to play a consistent game.
Follow Levan Reid on Twitter @LevanReid