Pre Game – New England Patriots @ Philadelphia Eagles

@markr1991 believes that in a rematch of Super Bowl LII the Patriots lose again and this time its Carson Wentz that gets one over on the goat and not Nick Foles.

The New England Patriots are doing things on the defensive side of the ball that have not been done before. Before they played the Baltimore Ravens and their dynamic QB, through eight weeks of the season the Patriots defense had only given up 7.6 points per game. What needs to be remembered though is that they didn’t exactly have a tough opening 8 weeks. The teams the Patriots played had a combined record of 15-43 (at that point) and, other than Ben Roethlisberger and Colt McCoy, they hadn’t faced a quarterback with more than two years experience. Then up stepped Lamar Jackson and even Bill Belichick couldn’t formulate a plan to stop him.

Even with their easy start to the season the Patriots defense has put up incredible numbers, and as Patriots fans I know keep saying, you can only beat the team in front of you. Nothing is truer than that but when the Patriots went up against a real team in contention they stumbled and their defense could not handle it. Jackson and the rushing game ripped the Pats defense to pieces and handed them their first defeat of the season. A game plan the Eagles can look to exploit. Granted the Eagles don’t have the same running threat at the QB position but they do have a quarterback who on the top of his game is as good as anyone in the league.

The strength of the New England Patriots has been for as long as I can remember their ability to take away the main strength of the team they are playing. This can be put down to Belichick meticulous planning and his coaching philosophy:

“Every battle is won before it is fought”

Appropriately, that comes from the book ‘The Art of War’. In my lifetime I don’t think there has been a general manager who can scheme against a threat so well and completely negate them from the game. In the Eagles team their isn’t one big threat for the Patriots to take away but a team that find a way to play well together and will be relishing the chance to kick start their playoff run, and who better to do it against than the victims of their only ever Super Bowl win.

In Carson Wentz the Philadelphia Eagles have a quarterback who loves playing against good defenses. Since 2017 when he is playing against teams with a top 5 defense opposing passer rating he has thrown for 11 touchdowns with only 2 interceptions, a passer rating of 108.9 and he is undefeated. So far this season Wentz has 2060 yards and a completion rate of 62.7%. Not a great completion rate but he hasn’t been careless with the ball, only throwing 4 interceptions. He also has 15 touchdown passes to get his team to the top of the NFC East with a 5-4 record. Tom Brady in comparison has a record of 8-1, 2536 passing yards and a completion percentage of 64.8. A pretty standard season for Brady but is he beginning to show signs of weakness???

Normally trying to compare another quarterback to the GOAT Tom Brady is foolish and doesn’t end well, and there is every chance this will be the same, but lets take a look at the last six games for each player. Tom Brady has 7 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. In his first three games he had seven touchdowns and 0 interceptions. Is this old age thing finally catching up with the Great One??? Carson Went on the other hand has thrown two interceptions and nine touchdown passes. Brady has been sacked 12 times in these six games. Now I’m not a 42 year old man, I like to think a young healthy 28 year old and I couldn’t take that sort of punishment, so how Brady is putting up with that I don’t know. Fair play to him , he is truly exceptional but it all has to come to an end some time and I think we are approaching that time now. 

It will take a lot for the Eagles to beat the Patriots again, especially with them coming off a bye week, but the Ravens showed that it can be done. The Eagles have also had a bye week and time to study exactly what the Ravens did. The Eagles don’t have a Lamar Jackson and the rush game of Baltimore, in fact the Eagles haven’t had a 100 yard rusher in there last 37 games, but what they do have is a blueprint to beat the Patriots. Since 2015 the Eagles are the only team in the NFL with a perfect record against the Patriots, 2-0, a record that they make 3-0 on Sunday night.

ONES TO WATCH:

Philadelphia Eagles – Alshon Jeffrey – In his last game against the Patriots, Jeffrey had 0 receptions on three targets when Stephon Gilmore was his primary defender and he had 73 yards when lined up against other defenders. With only 353 yards this season Jeffrey could do with a big game and he gets it here.

New England Patriots – Defense – After getting blown away by the Ravens this Patriots defense that were applauded and celebrated for the first eight weeks of the season need another big performance to show that they are capable of beating a team with an elite level quarterback. 

New England Patriots 17 – 27 Philadelphia Eagles

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