Just over six months ago, the Eagles and the Patriots met in the Super Bowl with the Eagles coming out on top. The two teams will meet again on Thursday will a little less on the line, as each team will be playing in its second preseason game. Playing at home, the Patriots are listed as 3.5-point favorites to beat the Eagles.
New England was victorious at home against Washington in their preseason opener last week. With Tom Brady taking the night off completely, the Patriots trailed the Redskins 17-3 at halftime, only to score 23 unanswered points in the second half by way of three rushing touchdowns to beat Washington 26-17.
The Eagles, meanwhile, lost at home to the Steelers 31-14. Both the rehabbing Carson Wentz and Nick Foles sat, leaving Nate Sudfeld to take a majority of the snaps at quarterback. He tossed a pair of first-half touchdown passes, but he also threw a pair of interceptions. Behind Joe Callahan, the Eagles were shutout in the second half by their Pennsylvania rivals.
Will We See the Starters?
In all likelihood, we will see the projected starters for both teams see action early in the game, outside of anyone who’s battling an injury. That means Brady will make an appearance for two or three drives. After all, he has some new faces at wide receivers that he has to build some chemistry with heading into the season.
Of course, the Eagles will also have most of their defensive starters on the field for those drives. Preseason or not, they’ll be motivated to go up against Brady and make sure he doesn’t lead the Patriots to the end zone against them. However, it’s important to remember that Brian Hoyer will likely be getting most of the snaps once again. He was solid last week against Washington and should have another good performance against Philadelphia’s backups on Thursday.
On the other side of the ball, Wentz is still a no-go, leaving Foles to take the role of starter. Of course, that means his night will be brief. Since he figures to be the backup during the regular season, Foles may get a little more than two or three drives, but not much else. That will leave Sudfeld to get most of the snaps, which could sway the game in New England’s favor.
In an occurrence, Eagles head coach Doug Pederson did some trash talking leading up to a preseason game. He referred to the Patriots as a “fear-based organization,” adding that their players don’t have any fun and “act like robots” while speaking with the media.
To be fair, Pederson didn’t say anything egregious or patently false. However, one has to wonder if Bill Belichick was just a little perturbed to hear Pederson’s comments and want to win Thursday’s game just a little bit more. He may have already been motivated to hand the Eagles a preseason loss after last season’s Super Bowl.
Belichick doesn’t seem like the kind of coach who would care about preseason results. However, he does have a winning record in the preseason, and that doesn’t happen by accident. More importantly, the Patriots will be in much better shape in this game with Hoyer getting most of the snaps compared to Sudfeld or even the recently signed Christian Hackenberg for the Eagles. Bet on the Patriots winning and covering the 3.5-point spread without much hassle.