Share & Connect
At the beginning of the year, the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles shared aspirations of winning a super bowl. The Patriots had Tom Brady, and the Eagles were hopeful after their multiple, big, free agent signings had been labeled a “dream team.”
Fast forward to Week 12, and the Patriots are in position to win the AFC East, securing home field advantage throughout the playoffs while the Eagles are sitting at 4-6, two games behind the Cowboys and Giants for first place. The Patriots’ final six games do not include a team with a winning record, and the Patriots are rolling after two straight blowout wins over the Jets and the Chiefs, outscoring the teams 71-19.
“We’re 7-3. I don’t think we’re really where we hoped to be at this point,” said Tom Brady. The Eagles would love to be where the Patriots are right now. They are looking to keep their momentum going following their 17-10 upset over the Giants at MetLife Stadium last Sunday. “You see the excitement and the smiles on the guys, and that’s what we need, what we have to have,” said Eagles quarterback, Vince Young.
Young looks like he will make his second straight start in place of the injured Michael Vick in the first meeting in almost five years between the two teams. The last meeting in 2007 saw the Patriots winning a close one, 31-28, behind Brady’s 380 yards and a touchdown.
Brady has recently been finding his tight end, Rob Gronkowski, who has 20 catches for 310 yards and five touchdowns in the Patriots past three games. Brady feels the team needs to make more improvements down the stretch, alluding to the slow start by the offense who was trailing Kansas City 3-0 in the first quarter.
“We’re going to need to play better than we did offensively (Monday), if we want to start making serious improvements down the stretch,” Brady said. The Patriots will need the defense to continue its recent good play. The defense which gives up a league high 404.2 yards per game has only allowed 357.7 yards over the past three games. “We have the possibility of being a pretty good defense as long as we play well and get better each week,” tackle Vince Wilfork said. “(We) can’t get complacent. That’s one thing we can’t do.”
The defense will have a tough test this week, facing an Eagles offense that features two superstar wide receivers, the league’s leading rusher LeSean McCoy, and even though he is not in the same caliber as Micahel Vick, Vince Young still provides problems with his ability to run the ball. “Both guys have been productive, and they have a lot of weapons to utilize,” New England coach Bill Belichick said.
“They do a good job of getting them the ball.” Young will have to improve from last week when he went 23 of 36 for 258 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. He should have some help as DeSean Jackson hopes to play this week and Jeremy Maclin, who missed last week’s game, hopes to play as well.
The key for the Eagles will be how their defense, who has played better as of late, is able to handle Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Eagles have three amazing cover corners in Nnamdi Asomugha, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and former Patriot Asante Samuel, as well as a good pass rush which could cause some problems for the Patriots who are a pass first team.
New England will have to focus on the run a little more. Last week, they rushed for 157 yards on the ground, and facing a team that has struggled against the run, they will want to continue to build on that as they make their run toward a top seed in the AFC.
Image Courtesy o f https://www.facebook.com/newenglandpatriots