The second week of the preseason in the National Football League continues on Friday night with an interesting chess match between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. Although this is just a preseason affair it will be interesting to see how Chip Kelly’s high octane offense fares against the revamped Patriots defense led by coaching genius Bill Belichick.
Like many of the preseason games the latest point spread on this game is small. The Patriots are labeled as field goal favorites at many of the top rated online sportsbooks. The posted total is at 46.5 which is high for a preseason game but a byproduct of the Eagle’s explosive offense.
The Eagles and the Patriots are engaged in combined practices leading up to this game which could lead to a change in strategy from a normal outing. One thing to watch will be the status of several key players for both teams.
The Eagles speedy pass catcher Jeremy Maclin strained a hamstring trying to avoid Belichick on the sidelines and although he has announced it is not a big deal, it is worth watching.
“It shouldn’t be a big deal.” Jeremy Maclin strains left hammy, apparently trying to elude Bill Belichick. http://t.co/Y5ek4W3uaQ
— Reuben Frank (@RoobCSN) August 13, 2014
The Patriots are trying to revamp a defense that looks difference than it has in the past. They have recently made several trades that will improve their depth on the defensive front.
— Hayden Bird (@haydenhbird) August 13, 2014
The Patriots D-Line has been exposed in the early going in the first preseason game as well as the scrimmages against the Eagles.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) August 13, 2014
The Eagles defense has impressed thus far in the preseason. This was a unit that had the worst passing defense in the NFL last season, allowing a league-high 298.8 passing yards per game. Against one of the best passers in the game in Tom Brady they have looked really good.
— SPORTSRADIO 94WIP (@SportsRadioWIP) August 13, 2014
The Eagles are already clicking on both sides of the ball, while the Patriots seem to still be tinkering with some units, most notably their defensive line. Tom Brady looks like he is in midseason from already.
Tom Brady completed 100 of 138 passes (72.5 percent) in 4 fully padded joint practices against Redskins and Eagles. All 7-on-7s, 11-on-11s.
— Jeff Howe (@jeffphowe) August 13, 2014
Expect Brady to get limited snaps at best. Belichick has worked his players hard in practice and Brady does not have to be on the field any longer than necessary. Although Brady wants to play as much as possible, don’t expect the Patriots to risk losing their best player to injury.
The underdog is 4-1 against the spreads in the last five meetings and the edge in this game will go to the Eagles. The Patriots are looking to the start of the regular season and are not focused on winning preseason games.
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