Brady expects to play preseason finale

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The final preseason game often affords teams the chance to evaluate the back end of their roster as they prepare to make the cut down to 53 players, but Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said on Tuesday that he expects to play when his team hosts the Giants this Thursday night.

"I expect to," Brady said. "That's how we've been preparing. It's always up to Coach Belichick, but I'm ready to go."

Though Brady has been largely sharp throughout the preseason, his team struggled in its third exhibition game, losing 40-9 against the Lions in an underwhelming effort.

Brady understands that despite not counting toward the standings, any preseason game is an important chance to take the field.

"I think there's always something to be gained from the competition," he noted. "I think you have to go out there and always be prepared, whatever [Belichick] wants to do, for however long he wants to play us, that's what we're going to do. We're ready to go."

Specifically, Brady highlighted the importance of working through game conditions that aren't easy to simulate during practice and developing further chemistry with the team's offseason additions.

"We've got a lot of different guys, different faces, especially at the skill positions that have to be a big part of our offense this year, so the more time we can get under game conditions -- like I said before, we're on the clock, there's play clocks, there's game clocks, different substitution packages, stuff like that," he said. "There's a lot to do. Like you said, in 10 days we play a real game, so this is a final chance to really see where we're at."

The Patriots haven't often turned to Brady during their preseason finale, as he sat out last season's contest in New York against the Giants. But Brady mentioned that the limited on-field work during the preseason stemming from the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011 increases the importance of any reps he can take.

"With the ways things are now with the CBA and the limited amount of time we get on the practice field during the preseason, everything that we do ends up being important," he said. "We always joke when coach comes in and says 'All right guys, today's a big day,' because it is a big day. Whatever we screw up today we can't get tomorrow, so every day is important. The more days we get right, the better we're going to be at the end of the year."