A look at what to expect in Friday night’s preseason games:
PATRIOTS AT PANTHERS, 7:30 p.m.
The Patriots get their first look at 36-year-old wide receiver Reggie Wayne, who signed with the team earlier this week. Wayne is making a fresh start in New England, saying the reason he chose the Super Bowl champs was because he “I want to win.”
It will remain interesting to see how coach Bill Belichick divides playing time between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Jimmy Garoppolo in the team’s most important preseason game with Brady’s suspension appeal ongoing.
Similar to New England, the Panthers are looking to find answers at wide receiver. They lost No. 1 option Kelvin Benjamin two weeks ago to a torn ACL. Coach Ron Rivera was hoping one of the team’s other receivers - Philly Brown, Jerricho Cotchery or Ted Ginn Jr. - would step up and claim that spot last week against the Miami Dolphins, but that didn’t happen.
Carolina also must to find a starting right defensive end after Frank Alexander went down with a torn right Achilles against the Dolphins.
TITANS AT CHIEFS, 8 p.m.
The Titans will get their first look at tight end Delanie Walker and nose tackle Sammie Hill while the Chiefs expect to give running back Jamaal Charles and linebacker Tamba Hali more than a handful of plays.
Walker has missed Tennessee’s first two games after needing 12 stitches to close a cut in his thumb, while Hill had an offseason knee injury and has been working his way into shape. Right guard Chance Warmack expects to play despite having portions of an ingrown toenail on each foot removed this week, while rookie wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham is questionable with a tweaked ankle.
Charles has only played 10 snaps through two preseason games as the Chiefs try to keep him fresh for the regular season, and Hali rested last week against the Seahawks.
Both teams are still trying to settle their offensive lines in this dress rehearsal. The Titans have replaced Andy Levitre with Byron Bell at left guard, and rookie Jeremiah Poutasi has been starting in Bell’s place at right tackle. The Chiefs will once again be without left tackle Eric Fisher due to an ankle injury and right guard Jeff Allen due to a knee injury.
LIONS AT JAGUARS, 8 p.m.
Don’t expect to see Detroit Lions star receiver Calvin Johnson on the field against Jacksonville.
Coach Jim Caldwell said “there’s no guarantees at this point” that Johnson will suit up against the Jaguars. Johnson missed three games last season and turns 30 next month, so Caldwell believes there’s no need to expose him to anymore wear and tear than a 16-game schedule. Johnson sat out the first two exhibitions.
Defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, running back Joique Bell, offensive tackle LaAdrian Waddle and defensive end Jason Jones won’t play.
Jaguars rookie running back T.J. Yeldon, a second-round draft pick from Alabama, will make his NFL debut. Yeldon missed the first two preseason games because of a sprained finger on his left hand.
The Jaguars have been cautious with his return - keeping him out of contact for more than two weeks - but plan to get him extended work against the Lions. Coach Gus Bradley expects to play his starters, including Yeldon and quarterback Blake Bortles, into the third quarter.
Fellow running back Toby Gerhart (strained abdomen) is one of 12 players ruled out. Others include receiver Marqise Lee (hamstring), safety Johnathan Cyprien (finger) and tight end Julius Thomas (hand).
Jaguars defensive end Chris Clemons, who has been sidelined with personal issues, will make his preseason debut.
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