By Danny Picard
CSNNE.com Staff Reporter Follow @dannypicard
FOXBORO -- The Patriots play their final preseason game on Thursdaynight, at Gillette Stadium against the New York Giants.
Typically, a final preseason tune-up is no different yearafter year. But on Thursday night, Patriots coach Bill Belichick believes thisone wont be as normal as the rest, mainly because it wont be the last timethey see the Giants this year.
New York comes back to Gillette Stadium in Week 9 of theregular season, on Sunday, Nov. 6.
Well, the only thing about this game is, were going toplay them again, said Belichick on Tuesday. So, its a little different thana preseason game where you dont plan on seeing that team again.
I think we can get something out of our preparations forthe game, as a coaching staff, and as individually for the players and thematchups and so forth, and just get familiar with the team. I think any timeyou play them the second time, you just have a little bit of a head start onthat team."
Belichick added: Theres certainly a lot to take from that, and I think thatwill help us the next time we play them.
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As expected, after not practicing all week, Patriots cornerbacks Stephon Gilmore (concussion) and Eric Rowe (groin) have been ruled out for Sunday night’s game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The full Patriots and Falcons injury report:
FOXBORO — You’d have to go back to 2008 to find the last “you’ve got to be kidding me” injury to open a Boston season before Gordon Hayward.
That injury, of course, was the torn ACL suffered by Brady on a hit to the left leg from Bernard Pollard with 7:27 left in the first quarter of Week 1. Brady missed the rest of the season and the Pats went on to miss the playoffs despite going 11-5 under Matt Cassel.
Brady, who reached out to Aaron Rodgers last Sunday after the Packers quarterback was lost for the season, said he felt for Hayward after the Celtics’ key free agent acquisition suffered a fracture-dislocation of his left ankle 5:15 into the season opener against the Cavaliers Tuesday.
“It’s just a big reality check for all of us because we all think we’re invincible to some degree, and then you go and you have this really tough injury that just happens,” Brady said. “It is tough and everyone probably goes through something a little different or it hits them at different times, and I feel bad for [Hayward and Rodgers], but I’m sure they’ll both come back stronger and better than ever.
“That’s what you have to do as an athlete. You’re always faced with adversities and you’ve got to overcome them. Mental toughness is a big part of that. I know both those players have a lot of that.”