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Tom Brady and many of the Patriots’ other starters are expected to see extended playing time against the Carolina Panthers.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Will Thursday be the day we get a true look at the 2019 Patriots?

Historically, the third preseason game is considered the dress rehearsal for the Patriots. It’s in this game where we see starters on offense and defense, either for the first time or for the most snaps, until Week 1 of the regular season.

While the fourth and final preseason game is typically reserved for rookies and bubble players, all eyes should be on the Patriots Thursday night at 7:30 as they welcome the Carolina Panthers to Gillette Stadium.

Here are five things to watch:

Tom Brady

Will Brady finally play in a preseason game? We thought he might in Tennessee, but instead, Brian Hoyer and Jarrett Stidham took the reins. This week, Brady said he wanted to play and, historically, he does in the third preseason game.

We’re still waiting to see how the 42-year-old looks in game action, and with all these new pieces around him. In minicamp and training camp, Brady looked like Brady. But real game action can be different.

Julian Edelman’s back, but it would be a surprise to see him play. Who does Brady target? How comfortable does he look?

Secondary

The Patriots look loaded in the back end of their defense, but we’re still waiting to see most of the prime-time players on the field.

With Panthers quarterback Cam Newton scheduled to make his preseason debut on Thursday, this will be a good test for the talented Patriots secondary. Will Stephon Gilmore, Jason McCourty, Jonathan Jones, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung make their preseason debuts?

The group has been dominant this preseason and we’ll see if that continues on Thursday. We also need to monitor the low end of the depth chart. Will Duke Dawson step up? Can Keion Crossen secure another roster spot?

Pass rush

In Tennessee, Michael Bennett, Kyle Van Noy, Dont’a Hightower, Adam Butler and Lawrence Guy didn’t get on the field. The Patriots still finished with six quarterback hits and two sacks.

The Patriots’ defense has a ton of depth up front, as well. The Patriots have been playing more of a 3-4 defense this summer, which utilizes more outside linebackers as pass rushers. Will rookie Chase Winovich continue to stand out? Is he moving up the depth chart?

The pass rush on Thursday will get challenged with the athleticism of Newton. It’s a great test for the group as they’ll need to put pressure on the quarterback, but not lose containment of Newton in the backfield.

Offensive line

We actually haven’t seen the Patriots’ projected starting offensive line this season.

Last weekend, Isaiah Wynn was the only projected starter to get the nod, starting at left tackle. The Pats also started Ted Karras (left guard), James Ferentz (center), Hjalte Froholdt (right guard) and Dan Skipper (right tackle). The group was a little shaky as Hoyer got walloped on at least one occasion.

If Brady’s going to play on Thursday, you want your best offensive linemen protecting him. That would mean Wynn lines up with Joe Thuney (left guard), David Andrews (center), Shaq Mason (right guard) and Marcus Cannon (right tackle). Cannon has looked very, very good this summer. Thursday night would be a nice dress rehearsal for the group.

Injury watch

The Patriots haven’t been able to stay healthy this preseason.

Over the last two weeks, N’Keal Harry, Matt LaCosse, Phillip Dorsett, Maurice Harris, Derek Rivers and Shilique Calhoun have all dealt with injuries. Will any of these players play on Thursday? Our best bet would be Dorsett. It’s unlikely that we see LaCosse, Harris, Rivers or Calhoun. Bennett and Chung were among those absent from Tuesday’s practice.

The time is running out for players on the bubble, but it doesn’t make much sense for someone to rush back from an injury only to make it worse in the preseason.

As always, the goal for the Patriots will be to exit Thursday night’s game without any injuries.