While there's an outside possibility those plans could shift before the 7:30 p.m. ET kickoff, the plans for now call for Jimmy Garoppolo to start, with Ryan Lindley -- signed to a one-year contract on Monday -- serving as the primary backup.
Brady wasn't present for practice on Tuesday as he prepared for Wednesday's settlement conference in the U.S. District Court of New York. He also missed Wednesday's late-morning walk-through session inside Gillette Stadium while in court.
Earlier Wednesday, NFL Network reported that it was highly unlikely Brady would play, citing sources who know coach Bill Belichick and his long-standing rule of having to be present at practice to play in games.
It's possible Brady might have been held out even if he had been present at practice, as he's missed the preseason opener four times since becoming a starter -- in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014. When asked Tuesday his plans for splitting up quarterback reps, Belichick said the decision would be made Wednesday.
The plans with Brady highlight, in part, why the Patriots made a change at the No. 3 quarterback spot Monday, signing Lindley and releasing veteran Matt Flynn, who didn't pass his physical (hamstring) to open training camp. Belichick acknowledged the preseason opener was a consideration, essentially saying the club needed a healthy No. 3 option.
On Tuesday, he expressed hope that Lindley could help, despite such a quick turnaround.
"I think he'll pick things up hopefully quick enough to be able to play Thursday, but we'll just have to see," he said.
The Patriots also are juggling personnel on the offensive line, which could have been part of the consideration. The team is expected to be without starting tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer on Thursday night, as well as starting center Bryan Stork. Meanwhile, rookies Shaq Mason and Tre' Jackson -- both fourth-round draft picks -- have been the starting guards through 11 training camp practices.