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Thursday, August 29, 2013
W2W4: Giants at Patriots

By Ohm Youngmisuk

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Even though the starters will play sparingly, there should be plenty to watch for when the New York Giants visit the New England Patriots for the preseason finale (7:30 p.m. ET).

What have you done for me lately? It's a meaningless final preseason game, but the real drama will be at certain position battles. Tonight is one final opportunity for some players to stake a claim for a roster spot.

I broke down the roster position-by-position and who could be on the bubble entering tonight. Keep a close eye on defensive tackle, where guys like Marvin Austin and Mike Patterson could be fighting for a roster spot. Can fan favorite Adewale Ojomo or fellow defensive end Justin Trattou make the final 53 with a sack or two in the finale? Also, will Dan Connor hold on to the starting middle linebacker job or can Mark Herzlich do enough tonight to get back in the mix there?

David Carr is expected to hold off Curtis Painter for backup quarterback while Ryan Nassib could be taking the last live snap of the season with the second team.

Get offensive: The starters may only play 12-to-15 snaps but Tom Coughlin desperately wants to see a spark from his starting offense. After struggling in the red zone repeatedly this preseason, Eli Manning would love nothing more than to punch it into the end zone on one of his two or three drives.

The new line: After the first revamped offensive line struggled against the Jets, Coughlin opted to move Kevin Boothe to center and insert James Brewer in at left guard. Justin Pugh will remain at right tackle alongside right guard Chris Snee. And Will Beatty will stay at left tackle.

We'll get to see how this line does and if the communication will be better than it was against the Jets. We fully expect this to be the offensive line moving forward until David Baas and David Diehl get healthy.

Safety dance: This will be the Giants' first game without the injured Stevie Brown. Antrel Rolle and Ryan Mundy are now the starters, but the Giants will need to figure out the depth behind them. Tyler Sash, Cooper Taylor and Will Hill should all get an opportunity to show what they can do against the Patriots. For Hill, this will be his last action before serving a four-game suspension when the regular season begins.

Get lucky: More than anything, the Giants just need to finish the preseason without another notable injury. So far, Baas, Victor Cruz, Diehl and Brown are among the starters who have suffered injuries during preseason games. It would be nice to leave Foxborough in one piece.