Weather conditions. It is currently in the low to mid 80s and that is where temperatures are expected to remain by kickoff. There is no threat of precipitation and winds are extremely light. A nice night for football.
A feel for FedEx Field. Washington's home facility has a maximum seating capacity of 85,000 for football, according to the team, which makes it one of the largest stadiums in the NFL (Gillette Stadium has a capacity of 68,756). The stadium opened in 1997. The seats fully circle the field, as the second level seats are burgundy and gold, the team's colors.
Mallett gets start at QB. Top backup Ryan Mallett will get the start at quarterback tonight for the Patriots, with Tom Brady not expected to play. The sense we get is that Brady won't be the only top Patriots player to remain on the sideline tonight. Bill Belichick worked players extremely hard Monday and Tuesday, with Tuesday's practice lasting nearly three hours and concluding with after-practice sprints. He pushed in those days, and it appears he'll be pulling back in some areas tonight.
Those not expected to play because of health considerations. The Patriots have a lengthy list of players who aren't expected to play because of health-related considerations. With about 15 players already ruled out, and others being rested, it makes managing a 90-man roster much easier for coach Bill Belichick on game-day.
Heavy pro scout presence. As expected in a preseason game, scouts from several NFL teams and the Canadian Football League are scheduled to be in attendance. The Texans, Giants, Vikings, Jaguars, Steelers, Ravens and Eagles are among the NFL clubs with a personnel-based presence, while Toronto, Edmonton and Montreal are here from the CFL.
Referee report. Jeff Triplette has been assigned to referee tonight's game. This is the first time the Patriots will work with officials this preseason, and one thing to watch is how closely they call defensive holding and illegal contact, which is a point of emphasis this year.