Patriots vs. Eagles: 3 keys to the game, fun facts, prediction

Ryan Hannable
November 16, 2019 - 12:54 pm
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Following a two-week layoff, the Patriots will return to the field and take on the Eagles Sunday in Philadelphia in a rematch of Super Bowl LII.

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The Eagles are also coming off their bye, so there is no real advantage for either side. Both are very good coming off byes, as both are 14-4 since 2001.

New England is relatively healthy, while Philadelphia is getting healthier. It still will be without a number of playmakers on offense, but should get some players back on defense.

With the Patriots coming off a loss, and the Eagles at 5-4 and looking to make a push in the NFC East, both teams are desperately looking for a win.

Patriots vs. Eagles
Sunday, Nov. 17, 2019
4:25 p.m., CBS
Patriots -3.5, over/under 45

3 keys to the game

Look to go up-tempo

The Patriots had quite a bit of success with this against the Ravens and should look to do it again this week. Philadelphia is very strong against the run — sixth in the league, allowing 3.8 yards per carry — so the passing game is the best way to attack where the Eagles defense is middle of the pack. Expect a lot of short, quick passes to players like Julian Edelman, Mohamed Sanu and even James White. This feels like it has the potential to be one of Tom Brady’s better games of the year.

Correct run defense

Obviously, the Patriots defense is coming off its worst game of the year when it allowed 37 points to the Ravens. The biggest issue was the run defense, as it allowed 210 yards on the ground. This is an ongoing issue for the defense, as it hasn’t been great against the run all year. The Eagles have some talented backs in Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, and Carson Wentz is even a threat to run. (It is worth noting there is some question of whether or not Howard plays due to a shoulder injury.) With all the injuries at wide receiver, the Eagles likely will focus more on the run game and that is where the Patriots defense needs to be at its best.

Keep an eye on two tight ends

While the Eagles will be without some of their top receivers, they do have two of the best tight ends the Patriots will face all year in Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert. Of late, the Patriots haven’t done a great job against opposing tight ends, so it’s worth wondering if they change their approach and maybe try Stephon Gilmore on Ertz at some points. It may not happen every play, but don’t be surprised to see it in certain packages.

Fun Facts

1. If the Patriots win, it will guarantee a winning record for the 19th consecutive season, the longest straight since the 1970 NFL merger and second-longest of all-time. The Cowboys had 20 straight winning seasons from 1966-85.

2. With two or more points in the first quarter, the Patriots will exceed their first-quarter total from 2018. Currently, they are outscoring opponents 87-17 in the first 15 minutes.

3. The Patriots have won 15 straight games when Jonathan Jones plays more than 50 percent of the defensive snaps.

4. The Patriots are averaging 2.57 yards on rushes to the left end, which is worst in the NFL. In addition, they are allowing 3.54 yards on rushes to the right end, which is 30th.

5. Since 2003, the Patriots are 44-8 following a loss in regular-season games.

Prediction

Patriots 24, Eagles 20

This game will be closer than many expect, as the Eagles are a tough, physical team — very similar to the Ravens. While it’s cliche, it’s very important for the Patriots to get off to a good start to take the crowd out of it and avoid being one-dimensional on offense. If Philadelphia gets off to a hot start, it could be a tough uphill climb for the road team. We expect it to come down to the final quarter and in the end the Patriots have more playmakers than the Eagles.

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