Let me preface this, yes, the Eagles are not a very good football team right now. Also, no I don’t think the Patriots will lose to them on Sunday, but I’m going to layout some things you may see from the Eagles, as the Eagles and Patriots have not met since “genius” Chip Kelly took over in the City of Brotherly love.
First off, this is not the same offense that Chip ran with Oregon back in the PAC-12. He has done a decent job of translating that plan to the NFL to compete. At 4-7, the Eagles have been a major disappointment. New Quarterback Sam Bradford has looked like the Sam Bradford we saw in St. Louis, rather than at Oklahoma which is what Chip and co. were hoping for.
Big money running back Demarco Murray’s biggest contribution to the Eagles has been the fact that he’s not on the Cowboys. He has eclipsed 100 yards just once this season after a record breaking 2014 where he had 6 games over that mark in a row. You know who would be a great running back for the Eagles this year? Lesean McCoy.
The biggest ailment to the Eagles’ offense has been the loss of Jeremy Maclin. Maclin was a big play threat and forced safeties to stay high out of fear for the speedster to take the top of the defense. The Eagles offered Maclin a decent deal but he chose to reconnect with the coach who drafted him, Andy Reid.
On the line the Eagles have had their moments, both good and bad. Center Jason Kelce has looked like an All Pro at times, and looked lost at others. Left Tackle Jason Peters, renowned as one of the leagues premier tackles has been dinged up for most of the year, causing problems for Bradford and Sanchez.
On the other side of the ball, the Eagles have really struggled as of late. In their last two games the Birds have allowed 45 points to the likes of Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford. Even a short-staffed Patriots offense should be able to do some serious damage against this team.
If there’s one excuse that’s not viable for Patriots fans should the Eagles pull off a major upset, its injuries. The Eagles have been tarnished by injuries, all year, regardless of Super Chip’s Sport Science therapy. Starting Corner Nolan Carroll is on IR, along with Rookie sensation Jordan Hicks, best know for breaking Tony Romo’s collarbone and taking an interception to the house on Sunday night in the Eagles next meeting with Dallas. Ryan Mathews, who has looked like the Eagles’ best back is doubtful with a concussion. Starting tight end Zach Ertz is questionable with a concussion as is Wideout/Return Man Josh Huff.
Patriots Game Plan
Defensively, the game plan to stop Philadelphia is simple, win the battle on the edge. The Patriots have two stud defensive ends in Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones, who are both fine run and pass defenders. There are few Defensive ends that attack and keep contain as well as Rob Ninkovich. A guy who Patriots fans should expect a big game for is Jabaal Sheard. He has played well of late, and playing the 3 technique is a key battle against the Eagles. If Sheard can get some push on Kelce and the Eagles’ guards you may be able to expect some more 3 and outs, the achillies heel of this team, as it forces their defense back on, and no defense plays more than the Eagles averaging almost 34 minutes per game.
On Offense, the Patriots just need to wear down the Eagles’ D, if the Patriots defense plays as well as it has in the last few games, it will give Tom Brady plenty of time to work. Expect a heavy dose of the run game early on. Control the clock early and take your shots on 2 and middle or 2nd and short. Getting Amendola back will be key, as will the presence of Rob Gronkowski, but the Patriots could choose to go the 12 personnel with Gronkowski and Chandler, the Eagles have Malcom Jenkins, a converted cornerback who does a good job covering tight ends. If he mans up on Gronk, expect Brady to look the way of number 88, and hope he has better success pulling the ball in than he did last week.