Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots Semi-Coherent Preview


The Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots Battle is previewed.

Before the Lions game, I defended the Eagles by saying that the Bucs game was the first time they truly got blown out. I foolishly hoped that it was an aberration. After a second straight blowout at the hands of a mediocre-to-bad team, it seems obvious that the Eagles are simply a lousy team.

The good news is that the Eagles won’t have a chance to be embarrassed by another team with a losing record this week. The bad news is that they’ll be facing one of the best teams in the NFL, and seem likely to be on the losing end of another lopsided game. If you thought the last two weeks were ugly, this game has a chance to be even worse.

New England Patriots

Record: 10-1

Head Coach: Bill Belichick

Last Week: Lost to Broncos 24-30

The Last Time They Met

The “Dream Team” season of 2011 had already gone off the rails. The high priced free agents weren’t working out, and Michael Vick was hurt once again. The week before, backup quarterback Vince Young led the team to a comeback victory against the Giants, but expecting Young to work magic two weeks in a row was asking too much.

The Eagles actually led 10-0 after one quarter, but a 17 point outburst by the Patriots in the second put the game out of reach. The Eagles provided little resistance on defense as Tom Brady threw for 361 yards and three touchdowns.

Eagles fans were understandably upset by the team’s effort, and during the second half, chants of “Fire Andy” could be heard from the stands. They would have to wait another season to get their wish.

Listen: Section 215 Podcast

What’s the Deal with the Patriots

Good news, Eagles fans: The Patriots are coming into the game angry.

The Pats feel that the officials played a large part in last week’s overtime loss to the Broncos. While there are few NFL fans who will shed many tears for the Patriots, it usually isn’t a good thing when the Pats feel that they have something to prove. That’s when they really start blowing opponents out.

Tom Brady is having a typical year, which means that he’s probably the current favorite for the MVP award. Brady leads the league in passing yards, passing touchdowns, and passer rating. (However, he’s only fifth in yards per pass attempt. A chink in the armor? Perhaps!)

One advantage for the Eagles is that star tight end Rob Gronkowski is injured. Don’t get too excited; The Patriots have this habit of plugging in unknown players and having them deliver huge performances. In other words, backup tight end Scott Chandler is probably due for a 100 yard receiving game this week.

There was some hope during the offseason that the Pats might not be that good defensively this season. After all, they signed Bradley Fletcher, and as most Eagles fans would tell you, he is not an especially good player. There was a time in his career when he was a capable enough cornerback, but by the end of last season, it seemed inexplicable if an opposing quarterback didn’t attack Fletcher with impunity.

The Pats have a history of turning unheralded, or even bad defensive backs (looking at you, Patrick Chung) into usable players, but apparently even Bill Belichick can’t do anything with Fletcher. He’s only played in two games this season. That’s bad news for anyone hoping to see Miles Austin burn Fletcher deep on Sunday. (Just kidding! Even Fletcher could probably shut down Austin.)

As far as players who actually contribute, the Pats are led by end Chandler Jones who has 10.5 sacks. Considering that the Eagles’ offensive line has been shaky all season, and Jason Peters can’t even make it through a full game anymore, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Jones add to his sack total this week.

Featured Patriots Player: LeGarrette Blount

Thanks to Chip Kelly, there is a debate among Eagles fans about talent vs. culture in the NFL, and which is more important. LeGarrette Blount is an interesting case study in this debate.

More from Section 215

During his college days at Oregon (I’m sure you can figure out who his coach was), Blount was suspended for punching an opposing player. After some time away from the team and a few heart felt apologies, he was re-instated. By that time, he had been replaced in the Ducks’ lineup, and he ended up getting passed over in the NFL Draft.

Since teams will take a chance on troubled players as long as they have talent, the Titans signed him as an amateur free agent. Blount showed that his anger issues were well under control by getting into a fight with a teammate during training camp. He didn’t make the Titans roster, and was eventually picked up by the Buccaneers who gave him a shot in week three.

The gamble paid off. Blount rushed for over 1,000 yards that season, and it looked like the Bucs found a star. Over the next few seasons, he fell out of favor and was supplanted by Doug Martin. He was sent to the Patriots in exchange for a seventh round pick, and naturally, the Pats found a way to get the best out of him.

Not content being a mere cog in the system in New England, Blount signed with Pittsburgh as a free agent. He celebrated his new wealth by getting caught with marijuana, earning him a suspension. It wasn’t his last disciplinary issue, and the Steelers eventually released him. He returned to the Patriots and once again became a dangerous weapon in their offense.

Is this a case of the Patriots’ culture being able to get the most out of a player who failed to live up to his potential elsewhere? Or does it show that talent triumphs over all?

Reason to Hate the Patriots

There’s no real reason to hate the Patriots. Except of course…

  • The team seems to always overcome injuries
  • The fact that Tom Brady cheated, got caught, and still got away with it
  • The fact that they definitely might have cheated against the Eagles in Super Bowl 39
  • The team’s sustained success has made their fans insufferable

But aside from that, there’s really nothing to dislike about the Pats.

Related Read: All 22-How the Eagles Can Beat the Patriots

Part One: Click here Part Two: Click Here

Key Eagles Storyline: How Bad Can it Get?

The good news is that Chip Kelly is definitely not pursuing a college job. The bad news is that it might not be up to him. If the team keeps playing as poorly as they have been, Jeffrey Lurie might have no choice but to fire him.

While it’s an extreme overreaction to say that Kelly ruined this team in one offseason, he certainly didn’t make the team better. Just about every big move he made seems to have backfired. (Before anyone starts to argue that they “won” the Sam Bradford for Nick Foles trade, keep in mind that the Eagles had to give up a second round pick just to get a less awful quarterback.)

Making it even worse is that the team was supposedly rebuilt with “culture” in mind; The type of culture that will help a team through inevitable rough patches. The Eagles are definitely in a rough patch, and yet there seems to be a lot of turmoil in the locker room. Even team leaders like Malcolm Jenkins have made negative comments.

I guess it’s a good thing they got rid of all the “bad apples” like DeSean Jackson and LeSean McCoy. Just think how bad things would be if those guys were here!

Mocking the East

Part of the fun of being a football fan is taking pleasure in the misfortune of your favorite team’s rivals. Each week, I’ll find a reason to make fun of one of the other teams in the NFC East.

It was really depressing to watch the Eagles get destroyed on Thanksgiving. But at least it was somewhat uplifting to watch the Cowboys suffer a beatdown of their own in the late afternoon game.

Remember when Cowboys fans were saying, “Just wait until Romo gets back?” Well, he came back, threw a bunch of interceptions, and now he’s hurt again.

So there’s some good news, Eagles fans: As bad as the team has looked, they probably aren’t even the worst team in the division! Hooray!

Nick vs. Sam

Since they were traded for each other, it’s only natural that fans would want to compare how Nick Foles and Sam Bradford are faring on their new teams. I’ll take a weekly look at the two quarterbacks and decide who holds the edge.

As expected, with Case Keenum suffering from a concussion, Nick Foles returned to action last week. Just about everyone associated with the Rams may be wishing that he didn’t. He threw three interceptions and was a big reason why the Rams were blown out by the Bengals. Keenum is questionable to play this week, meaning Foles will probably get a chance to redeem himself (or make things even worse).

Sam Bradford has been medically cleared after his concussion and unless his shoulder injury unexpectedly regresses, he is expected to start this week. While Mark Sanchez wasn’t dreadful during his relief stint, he didn’t exactly spark a quarterback controversy either. I think most Eagles fans are fine with letting Bradford play out the rest of the season and see if he can justify the second round pick that the team gave up.

Since mild optimism is better than the awfulness provided by Foles recently, I’m once again giving the edge to Sam Bradford!

Super Bowl Year Song of the Week

The Eagles have not made many appearances in the Super Bowl (Two, to be exact). I’m hopeful that this season will mark their third appearance in the “big game,” so each week I’m going to take a song from one of the franchise’s Super Bowl seasons (1980 and 2004) that somehow relates to this week’s game.

I Don’t Want You Back – Eamon, 2004

This seems to be how many Eagles fans are feeling about Chip Kelly these days.


This could get ugly. The Eagles defense hasn’t been able to stop Jameis Winston or Matthew Stafford. How the heck do they stand a chance against Tom Brady?

Next: Eagles to Wear White Jerseys vs. Patriots

It wouldn’t shock me to see Bradford have a good game in his return. The sad thing is, it won’t come close to mattering.

Patriots 40 – Eagles 24