W2W4: New England Patriots

On Thursday, the New England Patriots play the New York Giants in the preseason finale for the 10th straight year (television information):

1. Offensive line personnel without Mankins: While starters like Logan Mankins weren't expected to play in the preseason finale, his possible backups were, and that should shine a brighter spotlight on how the Patriots approach the left guard spot two days after trading Mankins to Tampa Bay. Second-year guard Josh Kline is the leading candidate to step into Mankins' starting role, from this viewpoint; he filled in at left guard Dec. 22 against the Ravens when the Patriots won the AFC East title. It's not often that a big media crowd gathers around a guard after a game, but that can be expected with Kline and others tonight.

2. Garoppolo and the No. 2 quarterback job: In announcing Tuesday that rookie quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo would start, Bill Belichick cited the value of Garoppolo having the experience of everything that comes with being the top signal-caller, including all the media attention. How will Garoppolo respond? He said in the locker room this week that he naturally wants to finish his preseason strong, as he's aced almost every test thrown in his direction. If Garoppolo performs well against a Giants team that plans to play starters 15-18 snaps, he could potentially ascend to the No. 2 job over Ryan Mallett. Garoppolo is expected to play most of the game, if not all of it.

3. Worthy and young defensive linemen: In releasing veteran defensive tackle Tommy Kelly on Sunday, the Patriots showed they are turning to younger linemen. Is Jerel Worthy, acquired in a trade from the Packers two weeks ago, part of that mix? The 2012 second-round pick had one penetrating rush late in Friday's win over Carolina, as he was knocking off some rust from having not played for a while. This is the type of game where a player like Worthy can make a strong case for a roster spot.