Early thoughts on Patriots’ 2019 preseason slate

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The Patriots 2019 preseason schedule was unveiled Tuesday afternoon:

1. With games against the Lions and Titans — a pair of teams helmed by Friends of Bill Belichick in Matt Patricia and Mike Vrabel — I would have to imagine that joint practices away from Foxborough are in the forecast for at least one of the first two weeks of the preseason. No announcements have been made yet, but it seems like it would make an awful lot of sense to see the Patriots spend some quality time this summer with Detroit and/or Tennessee. Good chance to catch up with some old friends.

2. The third preseason game of the summer is the one we all look to when it comes to starters’ going deep into the contest, and this year will have a familiar feel — for the fifth time in six seasons, the Patriots and Panthers will meet in Week 3 of the preseason. The Patriots hosted Carolina in 2014 and traveled to the Panthers for games in 2015, 2016 and 2018. This time. they'll be back down South for what has become an annual get-together.

3. Speaking of familiarity, the Patriots and Giants will again mark the end of the summer when hey square off in the preseason finale for the 15th straight season and for the 29th time overall. The two teams began meeting annually in 2005 and have alternated hosting the preseason finale since then. One other note here? New England will also host New York in the 2019 regular season. While some believe the Giants would make for an intriguing regular-season opener for the Patriots, I’d now officially bump that possibility back to later in the regular season.