FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- Picking three players/units whose performance is up and three whose performance is down, from the Patriots' 27-24 victory over the Saints in Thursday's preseason opener:
Julian Edelman -- Receiver is the star of the day with six catches for 90 yards, and a 40-yard punt return.
Brandon Spikes -- Rookie inside linebacker starts and plays into the third quarter, holding his own and finishing with a team-high eight tackles.
Darius Butler -- Cornerback is penalized for illegal contact on fourth down, extending the Saints' 20-play touchdown drive.
Backup kickoff coverage unit -- Terrence Wheatley, Darnell Jenkins, Dane Fletcher, Thomas Williams, Tyrone McKenzie, Marques Murrell, Ross Ventrone, BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Chris Taylor, Jonathan Wilhite and Stephen Gostkowski were the coverage unit when Larry Beavers returned a kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter.
Backup offensive line -- Quarterbacks Brian Hoyer and Zac Robinson were constantly operating under pressure while playing behind backup linemen George Bussey, Ryan Wendell, Eric Ghiaciuc, Rich Ohrnberger, Mark LeVoir, Thomas Welch and Ted Larsen.