Giants At Patriots: Five Things To Watch Thursday Night

The New York Giants finish their preseason tonight against the New England Patriots. Starters won't play much, if at all, and the end result of the game really does not mean much. There are, however, a number of roster spots on the line -- which means a number of intriguing things to watch for tonight.

Here are my top five, not necessarily in order:

The Backup Linebackers: The Giants currently have seven of them, and two or three are likely to be let go Friday and Saturday as the Giants get down to the 53-man roster limit. Spencer Paysinger, Clint Sintim and Greg Jones seem like locks -- in my opinion. You can make really solid arguments for keeping both Mark Herzlich and Jacquian Williams. Adrian Tracy and Phillip Dillard seem like they might be in the most trouble. Let's see if anything happens against the Pats that changes that.

The Third Running Back: Can somebody unseat Danny Ware for that spot? Ware has talent, but it has never really manifested and, at least to me, he seems impatient with the ball in his hands. Seems like too often he runs right past his blocking and gets himself tackled. Andre Brown, the fourth-round pick two seasons ago, keeps impressing in practice but not getting much done in games (12 carries 38 yards and two catches for four yards). Da'Rel Scott has that speed and Charles Scott has size and power none of the other guys can match. It's probably Ware's job unless somebody steps up and takes it away from him.

The Punting Competition: Will Pat Traina of Inside Football be right that Matt Dodge will win the job? Or, will I be right that the Giants cut the cord on Dodge and stick with the safer choice, veteran Steve Weatherford?

The Backup Corners: Veteran free-agent pickup Brian Williams might get some action tonight. Joe Burnett, Michael Coe and undrafted rookie free agent Darnell Burks are all looking to make a final impression and earn a roster spot. Right now, Coe is probably in the lead.

The Tight Ends: I wonder if the Giants will play Travis Beckum more than some other regulars tonight, just to try to get him going. Other than unproven Jake Ballard, none of the tight ends on the roster has been remotely impressive. It won't be a surprise at all if at least one of the tight ends who makes the 53-man roster is currently on someone else's team.

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