“Philly, Philly”

NFC Game Of The Week

New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles

Patriots: When they last played, they were on the end of defeat for the first time in 2019. Prior to the end of last season and the start of this season, they had a ten-game winning streak going for them in the regular season. Nothing went right for them in Baltimore a few weekends ago. The way they’ve played defense, there was no way that was going to work against the Ravens, especially with how dynamic of an offense they are. By now, we all know what New England wants to do. Their main priority is to always take away what you do best. They put so much attention on Lamar Jackson that it opened the field for all the other offensive weapons. That was by far the worst football I’ve seen the New England Patriots play since last season. The one positive I took away from the game was how they were trying to get Mohamed Sanu the football. When they acquired him from the Atlanta Falcons, I thought this was a great move because they needed another guy to be that threat down the field for the quarterback. He brings a versatile dimension to their offense because he can play outside on the perimeter and in the slot. The thing I’ve always liked about Mohamed is he knows his role within an offense. He won’t do much and when his number is called, he always answers when you need him too. Even after giving up the most points (37) that they’ve given up all season long, the Patriots are still in a really good position right now. They’re 8-1, still atop the AFC along with being in first place in their division as you’d expect. I can only imagine what the week of practice was like in Foxborough during the bye week. After all, Bill does preach “No Days Off”. When their schedule was released, the start of the second half of the season was highlighted for them because they had five matchups in a row against teams who made the playoffs. This is the second of that stretch. They’ll make their way to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday afternoon.

Eagles: They’ve been an extremely inconsistent group this year. Just when you think they’re going to turn the page, they hit that bump in the road. After their win against the Packers at Lambeau, they turned around to destroy the New York Jets to the tune of ten sacks from the defense. At that point, I said to myself, I think they’ve found their swagger. Wrong! They were embarrassed in Minnesota against the Vikings then a week after that, they didn’t even bother to show up against the Cowboys on Sunday Night Football. What saved the Eagles season was their win against the Buffalo Bills. Going into that game, they were 3-4. It makes a huge difference when you have a .500 record over a record when you’re two games below, right? Almost two weeks ago when they faced the Bears, they showed up for another win they had to grind out. Here’s my thing when it comes to the Philadelphia Eagles. They’re at their best when they run the football. A perfect example of this is 2017. They had a two-headed monster in LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi who were both able to run it consistently. Look at what happened that year, they won the Super Bowl. In these last two wins, they’ve been able to run it which is good. It was tough news hearing that DeSean Jackson was going to miss the rest of the year with a core injury. Not only was he the heart and soul of that entire team, he was the guy that opened their passing game. Outside of Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey (when he wants to show up), the Eagles don’t have that other weapon to rely upon. I don’t get why they won’t use J.J. Arcega-Whiteside more. He could make a difference. The Eagles secondary has been their downfall this year. They can’t cover, they give up big plays down the field, but the biggest issue that stands out is the lack of communication across the board. If you don’t communicate with one another in the backend, things won’t go as planned. To extend their winning streak, they’ll have to go through the Patriots.

Patriots Player to Watch: James White– What else can I say about this guy? He’s Brady’s safety valve. When Tom needs to check the ball down to someone, this is always the number he calls. He creates so many mismatches with his quickness. He comes out the backfield and lines up as a receiver. I don’t even refer to him as a running back. He’s another receiver because of how he’s used within the offense.

Eagles Player to Watch: Jordan Matthews– They decided to bring him back! With Jackson sidelined for the year, he can come in to bring that spark to help their passing game open. He’s a threat over the middle of the field. He’s quick off his release at the line and he can run the deep route down the field. I’m glad they bought him back rather than go with a free agent. He knows the system in Philadelphia.

Final Analysis: The last time we saw these two play, it was in Minneapolis, Minnesota in Super Bowl 52. The Philadelphia Eagles were putting the finishing touches on a Super Bowl and won their first title in franchise history. A few years later, here we are with their first meeting since then. The one match up I’ll be watching is the brains of Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels against the Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Jim is known to throw a lot of exotic looks at offenses. I expect to see a lot of late blitzes, pressure up the middle or even an occasional safety blitz to get Brady out of rhythm. How does New England’s defense bounce back? It’ll start with keeping Carson Wentz in that pocket. Don’t let him extend the play. I see them coming into this game with an edge to them because of how they played against the Ravens.

Prediction: Patriots 30 Eagles 21

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