Ladies and gentleman, Green Bay Packers football is back on Thursday in a matchup that features what could have been last year’s Super Bow matchup. The Packers will travel to Foxboro, Mass. in week one of the preseason, in a game that is scheduled for kickoff at 7:30 p.m. ET.
Who: Green Bay Packers at New England Patriots
What: Week one of the NFL Preseason
When: Thursday, Aug. 13 at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, Mass.
Why: Because FOOTBALL IS HERE!
There is plenty to get excited about when the NFL preseason rolls around, players are fighting for roster spots, superstars get a brief dress rehearsal, and most importantly, football is in the air. Last year’s Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are heading into a 2015 NFL season encompassed in controversy. Darrelle Revis left for the New York Jets, Tom Brady is currently facing a four-game suspension handed down by the NFL, and Bill Belichick and Robert Craft are still not conforming to the NFL.
Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers play a Patriots team they met in week 13 of last year’s regular season. In a game that was deemed as a potential Super Bowl matchup, the Packers merely defeated the Patriots, 26-21.
In preseason showings, this game marks the 14th matchup between the Packers and the Patriots, with the last matchup happening in 2005, where the Patriots claimed a 27-3 win in Green Bay. This matchup also followed a New England Patriots Super Bowl win back in 2004.
This year’s matchup will feature several potential storylines, including, how will Jimmy Garoppolo fair in his second preseason. Following the news of Brady’s four-game suspension, it was apparent Garoppolo would get the nod for the Patriots’ first four games. Seeing at though Garoppolo performed well in last year’s showings, he will look to duplicate his 2014 preseason to better prepare him as the Patriot’s starting quarterback come week one. The Patriots may also look to use newly acquired Ryan Lindley.
For the Packers, there are a few position battles that we will see take form come Thursday. One in particular, involving the cornerbacks, features several rookies amidst a corps led with veterans. Veteran corners Sam Shields and Casey Hayward round out the top of the depth chart, but with Hayward’s injured foot, we will likely see rookie Damarious Randall get some valuable reps against the first teamers. Also battling for depth is Quinten Rollins, Demitri Goodson and Chris Banjo.
Several Packer’s stars will also share the spotlight come Thursday, including Aaron Rodgers. Typically in the first preseason game, star quarterbacks will not see any action, as is likely the case for Rodgers. However, we may see Head Coach Mike McCarthy test the waters with Rodgers on their opening possession.
Meanwhile Clay Matthews may not even have the option to play against the Patriots. Matthews, who has seen limited time this training camp due to a sore knee, has been listed as a “trial return” McCarthy said. Meanwhile Matthews shared his insight on preseason time with ESPN’s Rob Demovsky.
“You know what, any opportunity to be out there, especially in regards to preseason games, I think is very important,” Matthews said. “But there’s always other factors that go along with that.”
Nonetheless, many of the stars, including Rodgers, Matthews, Brady and more likely won’t see a lot of playing time on Thursday, if they catch any at all. But for both teams, new faces are looking to step up, while veterans look to test the waters.
Tune into NBC 26 (Green Bay) or WBZ (New England) at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday to catch to teams kicking off their 2015 season.