Eagles vs. Patriots Week 1 Preview: Key matchups, odds and official prediction
The climb begins once again.
After a seemingly prolonged summer, the Eagles travel to Foxborough for their season opener vs. New England. There is no shortage of headlines in this one, from the JuJu vs. Bradberry rematch to Philadelphia potentially ruining another night for Tom Brady.
The Eagles come in as -3.5 favorites as Jalen Hurts and co. look to pick up where they left off last season. Philly is relatively healthy entering Week 1, while the Patriots expect to be without several key contributors, including WR DeVante Parker.
Here are three key matchups to keep an eye on:
Patriots banged up OL vs. Eagles pass-rush
New England placed their presumed starting RT Riley Reiff on IR last week, leaving five-year veteran Calvin Anderson to suit up in his place. Haason Reddick, who compiled 16.0 sacks in 2022, usually lines up on that side. Anderson will have his hands full.
Per PFF, only two of the Patriots’ starting offensive linemen ranked inside the top-10 at their respective positions in 2022 – RG Mike Onwenu and C David Andrews. Their starters on the left side of the line, LG Cole Strange and LT Trent Brown, posted sub-68.0 offensive grades last season, and both ranked outside the top-40 at their positions.
Additionally, New England gave up 11 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 16 quarterback hits, and four fumbles in three games in the preseason. With top draft selection Jalen Carter now in the mix, expect Philly to make Mac Jones’ life difficult on Sunday.
Just how good was Haason Reddick in 2022?— Victor Williams (@ThePhillyPod) August 8, 2023
A pass-rush compilation from last season ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/6QUON7Wof3
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Keeping Rhamondre Stevenson in check
Stevenson appeared on New England’s injury report Friday with an illness, but he’s expected to be available. The third-year back enjoyed his first 1,000-yard season last year, gaining a league-high +170 rushing yards over expected on inside runs.
Despite their dominance, the Eagles allowed 121.6 yards per game (16th) and 4.64 yards per rush (24th) throughout the 2022 season. The Patriots also added Ezekiel Elliott, who may not have much juice left but is still a capable runner.
The Eagles cannot let New England establish a rhythm on the ground.
Philly receivers vs. Patriots secondary
No. 17 overall pick Christian Gonzalez joins Jonathan Jones to form a talented CB duo, but containing AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith is no simple task. Both pass-catchers set franchise records last season (AJ in yards, Smith in receptions); it’ll be a quick ‘welcome to the NFL’ moment for Gonzalez in his pro debut.
New England will be without second-year corner Jack Jones, who was placed on IR Saturday.
The Patriots also have a solid safety group that features Kyle Dugger, Jabril Peppers, and former Eagle Jalen Mills, who could test Jalen Hurts deep. All eyes will be on new Eagles OC Brian Johnson as he attempts to replicate the stellar playcalling of Shane Steichen.
|Philadelphia Eagles||-3.5||-192||O 44.5|
|New England Patriots||+3.5||+160||U 44.5|
The Eagles have stewed on their Super Bowl loss for seven months and are undoubtedly eager to finish the job in 2023. While New England boasts a top-10 defense, Jalen Hurts looks to build upon his MVP campaign with several dynamic targets at his disposal.
It’s Week 1, and teams will still be ironing out the kinks, but I expect Philly to pull away in the second half.
Official Prediction: Eagles 31, Patriots 21
Mandatory Credit: Getty Images