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Setting the scene: Patriots-Giants

09.01.11 at 6:19 pm ET
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Tom Brady and the Patriots host the Giants in their final tuneup for the regular season.

FOXBORO — The Patriots look to finish the preseason on a winning note Thursday night as they get ready for the season opener in Miami on Sept. 12.

But the game figures to resemble a look more like the preseason opener, as a majority of starters will either not start or see a very limited role.

Of course, Bill Belichick wasn’t very detailed or forthcoming this week about who would play against the Giants at Gillette, or how much they might play.

It would not be a shock to see the offensive first until get one or two series after their dismal performance of last Saturday in Detroit.

Aside from the 44-yard Tom Brady to Wes Welker TD connection, the offense was unable to get much going at all. Welker did suit up but is not expected to play much if at all while Danny Woodhead, banged up with a Devin Holland shot to the head in the fourth quarter of the 31-14 win at Tampa Bay on Aug. 18, did warm up in pregame and could see some action.

Woodhead warmed up 90 minutes before the game with Julian Edelman, catching passes from Ryan Mallett, who is expected to see a majority of the playing time.

Shaun Ellis warmed up in his pants and is expected to make his preseason debut, along with Albert Haynesworth.

This is a game where the second- and third-teamers see a lot of action as the coaching staff looks for more film to help them with the necessary cut to the 53-man roster by Saturday at 4 p.m.

The biggest name to watch on the other side of the ball will be linebacker Mark Herzlich. The former Boston College All-American and cancer survivor is in Giants camp as an undrafted free agent. He had an interception against the Saints in preseason Week 2.

Not surprisingly, the Dolphins headline the teams represented with scouts on hand in the press box.

This figures to be an emotional night, as the Patriots will recognize the 10-year anniversary of 9/11, appropriately and somberly against a team from New York. On Thursday, the NFL released its full league-wide plans for its on-field remembrance on Sunday, Sept. 11.

As part of the remembrance, the Patriots will host former guard Joe Andruzzi, his three New York City firefighter brothers and his father, a former NYC police officer.

One of the nation’s most symbolic healing moments in the weeks following the devastating terrorist attacks took place across the parking lot at old Foxboro Stadium. That’s when Andruzzi and his three brothers and their father were recognized on the field on Sept. 23, 2001, as the NFL returned to action. The Andruzzi family will serve as honorary game captains and participate in the coin toss.

Also, as part of the tribute, members from all five military branches will participate in pregame ceremonies, as well as local police, state police and local firefighters.

Also in attendance for the coin flip — as he was Tuesday at Fenway — is Keegan Bradley, the 2011 PGA Championship winner.

Read More: 9/11, cancer survivor, Joe Andruzzi, Julian Edelman
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