By Brandon Pemberton
Follow Me on Twitter @BrandonOnSports
The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a big 17-10 win over the New York Giants the prior week and they now face Tom Brady and his New England Patriots today at Lincoln Financial Field at 4pm. The Eagles will have a big task at hand, trying to stop Brady and his team’s pass happy offense, but the Patriots defense gives up a lot of yards and points themselves, so expect some points to be put up on the board. The Eagles are dealing with some key injuries at some key spots with Vick and Maclin missing their second straight game and Nnamdi Asomguha will play even with a hyper-extended knee suffered in practice on Thursday. Vince Young will obviously get his 2nd straight start.
Eagles:Vince Young played a so-so game last week numbers wise, but he got the job done late in the fourth quarter when it counted most. Young was 23-36 for 258 yards, 2 TD’s and 3 Int’s. The turnovers didn’t kill the Eagles last week like in prior weeks, but they cannot afford to give the ball away this week at that rate. DeSean Jackson had his best game in weeks, catching 6 passes for 88 yards and 3 punt returns for 54 yards as well. Young did a good job finding him during last week’s game and I expect another big game from Jackson against the poor Patriots defense this week. Riley Cooper had his best game as a pro with 5 catches for 75 yards and the game winning TD as well. With Maclin out, Cooper will get the start this week.
For the Eagles to win this game, the offense will have to take care of the ball for one, and get big plays from Shady McCoy and Jackson offensively. Three INT’s from Vince Young will not cut it this week, the Patriots offense will make you pay for those kind of mistakes. The Patriots give up plenty of yards in the passing game, but isn’t bad at defending the run. The Eagles have the league’s leading rusher in McCoy and needs to feed him and have some balance offensively. If McCoy can get it going, Jackson should have a shot at killing the Pats deep.
Patriots: Tom Brady is just having one of the better seasons we have seen from a quarterback, he’s on pace to shatter Dan Marino’s record for passing yards in a season and it’s being overshadowed by the great play of Aaron Rodgers. This offense is all predicated on the arm of Brady and the can put up points. They don’t possess any explosive deep threats, but wide receiver Wes Welker(74 receptions 1028 yards 6 TD’s) and Tight Ends Rob Gronkowski(56 for 805 yards 10TD’s) and Aaron Hernandez(41 for 418 5 TD’s) are more then reliable targets for Brady.
The Patriots have no legit running game, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see them test the Eagles front 7 early to see if they are able to stop the run, before going to the air. Expect the Patriots to work the middle of the field against the Eagles weak linebackers and safeties until the Eagles figure out how to stop it.
Eagles: The Birds clearly had their best effort defensively of the season last weekend against the Giants, holding them to ten points. This week they are facing a different animal in Tom Brady and the Patriots passing game. The Eagles front four must get pressure on him and hit him repeatedly in order to fluster him a bit. In the past, the teams that were able to get hits on him and make him rush, were able to beat the Patriots. The linebackers and safeties have there work cut out for themselves against the Patriots tight end combo. If the Eagles can get to Brady with no blitz and rush his throws, then they will have a legit chance keeping their team in the game.
Patriots: The Patriots have the worst pass defense in all of football, allowing 299 yards per game through the air. Their inability to get to the quarterback early this season, along with giving up big plays in pass coverage was a big reason why. They were running a base 4-3 until the last 3 games when then went back to their usual 3-4. Andre Carter and Mark Anderson have done a great job since then getting to the quarterback and the defense has played much better. The run defense is still very formidable lead by stud nose tackle Vince Wilfork and will need to stop Shady McCoy in order to stop the Eagles offense. The Patriots defense must keep DeSean Jackson from killing them deep in order to win.
Prediction: I like the Eagles to win this game outright 27-24 at home against the Pats. Another big game by Shady McCoy and Jackson wins it today.