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NFL PRESEASON CONCLUDES

August 29, 2012
INDIANA SPORTS PAGE



Patriots at Giants, Chiefs at Packers and Broncos at Cardinals will air live on NFL Network

Final roster cut-down to 53 players set for Friday at 9 PM ET

 

It’s the final week of the preseason and young players around the league know this is their time to shine.

 

With final NFL roster cuts to 53 players this Friday, this week’s games are a last chance for many players to make their team’s roster. 

 

“Every single play from scrimmage is an opportunity to prove to the coaches that you’re not only good enough to play in the NFL, but you’re an indispensable part of the team,” says Giants wide receiver VICTOR CRUZ, who made the team as an undrafted free agent and went on to set a franchise single-season record with 1,536 receiving yards last year.

 

For many of these young players, they know this is their last opportunity to make the final 53. 

 

The last week of the preseason features three games on national TV as NFL Network delivers all the action.

 

Wednesday night, August 29, will feature a rematch of Super Bowl XLVI when the world champion New York Giants meet the New England Patriots (7:00 PM ET). Thursday, August 30, will showcase a doubleheader. The Green Bay Packers will host the Kansas City Chiefs (7:00 PM ET) and the Denver Broncos will visit the Arizona Cardinals in the nightcap (11:00 PM ET).

 

DATE

GAME

TIME (ET)

NETWORK

Wednesday, August 29

New England at New York Giants

7:00 PM

NFLN

Thursday, August 30

Kansas City at Green Bay

7:00 PM

NFLN

 

Denver at Arizona

11:00 PM

NFLN

 

Some of the highlight games in Week 4 of the NFL preseason:

 

  • NEW ENGLAND at NEW YORK GIANTS (Wednesday, NFLN, 7:00 PM ET): The Patriots will visit MetLife Stadium to face the Giants on Wednesday night in a rematch of Super Bowl XLVI.

 

As the teams finish the preseason and head into the regular season, Giants head coach TOM COUGHLIN will be looking for players to rise to the occasion.

 

“There’s going to be ample playing time for a lot of people who are in position to prove whether or not they can help us,” says Coughlin. “They can show us if we can utilize their skill level. They have an opportunity against

 

another good opponent to prove this and there’s going to be a lot of playing time. There will be opportunities for

them to truly prove they can contribute, whether they’re young, they’re rookies or whatever their status is. We’re always looking and evaluating.”

 

New England will use the final game of the preseason to evaluate its players and prepare for Kickoff Weekend.

 

“We’re just trying to get ready for the Giants, evaluate our players and get ready for the roster cuts,” says Patriots head coach BILL BELICHICK. “We have a lot of balls in the air right now and a lot of work to do over the next couple of days. With the preseason, there are a lot of things we can learn from and we can do a better job in a lot of areas. There are a lot of things going on here, a lot of things to work on, and we’ll just keep chugging away.”

 

  • KANSAS CITY at GREEN BAY (Thursday, NFLN, 7:00 PM ET): The Chiefs, led by head coach ROMEO CRENNEL, hope to finish the preseason on a high note as the team prepares for the start of the regular season. Crennel will be looking for improvements in all areas in the team’s final preseason game this Thursday night.

 

“Basically, we have to try to figure out what we can do well with this team in all phases and try to get that done,” says Crennel, who enters his first full season as the team’s head coach. “Hopefully we can start making progress and get better before we get to the regular season because that’s right around the corner.”

 

For the Packers, the starters looked sharp in last week’s 27-13 win at Cincinnati. Quarterback AARON RODGERS, the 2011 AP NFL Most Valuable Player, rushed for two touchdowns and threw for 154 yards as the Packers built a 17-6 halftime lead.

 

“We did a lot of the things we want to,” says Rodgers. “It was up-tempo and we did some good things. We scored 17 points and overall did things well.”

 

            Green Bay head coach MIKE MC CARTHY was happy with the win and the overall performance of the team.

 

“Winning is fun,” says McCarthy. “I’ve never had a problem with winning. The bigger objective, however, is the evaluation of our team. We got better and we’re a step closer to where we want to be, so that’s an accomplishment. We want to continue to improve and grow, that’s our goal.”

 

  • DENVER at ARIZONA (Thursday, NFLN, 11:00 PM ET): The Broncos and Cardinals will meet on Thursday night to close out the 2012 preseason.

 

Last week, Denver quarterback PEYTON MANNING led the Broncos to 17 points in his three drives against the 49ers, throwing the first two touchdown passes with his new team, both to wide receiver ERIC DECKER.

 

“I don’t think there is really any barrier with this offense,” says Manning. “I thought it was good that no matter what group we were in, we showed that we can move the ball against a good defense. Once again, it’s just the preseason, but I think we can build off some of those things.”

 

Despite the score – San Francisco defeated Denver 29-24 – Broncos head coach JOHN FOX was pleased with the progress his team has shown.

 

“I’m never really happy losing, but I thought our first team looked pretty sharp and I think we made great strides,” says Fox.

 

The Cardinals will look to finish off their preseason with a victory in front of the home fans at University of Phoenix Stadium. Arizona lost in Tennessee last Thursday night by a 32-27 score.

 

Last week marked the return of Cardinals running back BEANIE WELLS, who will team with RYAN WILLIAMS in the backfield for Arizona.

 

“It felt good to be back out there,” says Wells, who hadn’t played in a game since December 24. “It’s progress, definitely progress.”

 

Against the Titans, wide receiver LARRY FITZGERALD led the way with five catches for 91 yards as he gears up for the regular-season opener against the Seahawks.

 

************************************************************************************************************************************

WINNING IS A HABIT: Thirty-five of the 46 Super Bowl champions (76.1 percent) finished the preseason with a winning percentage of at least .500.

 

Since 2000, the 12 Super Bowl champions have combined for a 30-18 (.625) preseason record during their championship seasons.


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