I won’t lie – when Tom Brady fumbled in the 4th quarter while losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the Super Bowl, I screamed like a little kid.
It wasn’t anything against the dynastic Pats per-se. For 1 thing, I had predicted in print – against the advice of colleagues – that the Eagles were the better bet and would likely score an upset for the Lombardi Trophy.
There was also a natural thrill in seeing an underdog take down possibly the best (or at least the most-consistently great) NFL champions ever. As for Brady sulking off the field and not shaking the opposing QB’s hand? That was a classless move that might have motivated me to cheer against the Patriots like a bona-fide Philadelphia partisan…but the game was already over by then.
NFL fans are intrigued by a late-Sunday afternoon re-match between Philadelphia and visiting New England this week. But guess what? The Patriots are favored this time too, despite the Eagles’ winning record.
Who: New England Patriots at Philadelphia Eagles
When: Sunday, November 16th, 4:25 PM EST
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA
Lines: NE (-4.5) at PHI (+4.5) / O/U Total: (45)
The 8-1 Patriots will be facing the Eagles for the first time since Philadelphia hoisted the hardware after its 41-33 upset victory in the Super Bowl nearly 4 years ago. Both teams have had an extra week to prepare for each other as each enjoyed a bye in Week 10, though the Pats limped-into the break with a 17-point loss to the Ravens.
It wasn’t a total loss for The Hoodie’s gang. Tom Brady has forged an instant connection with newly-acquired receiver Mohamed Sanu. Brady targeted Sanu 14 times against Baltimore, and the pair connected 10 times for 81 yards and a touchdown.
You can probably expect that trend to continue. In fact, it also seems as though Brady may be losing confidence in everyone else in the WR corps besides veteran 1st-option Julian Edelman.
In 2 career games at Lincoln Financial Field, Brady has been solid, throwing for 616 yards with 6 touchdowns and 0 interceptions.
That might be where the good news ends for now. On top of a formerly-stout New England defense getting somewhat exposed by Lamar Jackson, the Patriots are saddled with a special teams dilemma. Bill Belichick has been spoiled with Stephen Gostkowki as his kicker, but an injury has thrown a wrench in an otherwise-solid FG unit. Mike Nugent had a brief stint handling the kicking duties, but after going 2-for-4 and missing 2 FG’s inside of 40 yards against the Browns 3 weeks ago, his days in New England came to an end. Nugent has been replaced with former Jets kicker Nick Folk, who had been out of the NFL since 2017.
Philadelphia is coming around after a slow start, having won back-to-back tough games against Buffalo and Chicago. Running back Jordan Howard has been quietly effective, rushing for 178 yards on 42 carries and finding pay dirt multiple times in 8 quarters, but his status is up in the air for this weekend:
The Philadelphia Eagles issued their third and final official injury report on Friday in advance of their Week 11 game against the New England Patriots. The following players have been ruled OUT: Alshon Jeffery, Nigel Bradham, and Darren Sproles. Neither Jeffery nor Bradham participated in practice this week. Jeffery’s absence means the Eagles will be down to just Nelson Agholor, Jordan Matthews, Mack Hollins, and JJ Arcega-Whiteside at wide receiver.
Bradham will miss his fourth straight game on Sunday. The Eagles will once again be starting Nathan Gerry in his place. Kamu Grugier-Hill and T.J. Edwards will also see playing time at linebacker.
The Eagles confirmed Sproles’ season is over so it’s only a matter of time until he’s officially placed on injured reserve.
Only one player has been ruled QUESTIONABLE: Jordan Howard. Howard’s status is critical since the Eagles really need to rely on running the ball effectively to win games. As of Friday morning, Doug Pederson said Howard hasn’t been cleared for contact as he recovers from a shoulder injury. Not a great sign. Between Howard and Jeffery potentially missing this week’s game, it’s not easy to feel amazing about the Eagles’ chances of beating the league’s top defense.
Carson Wentz will have his hands full with the league’ss top-rated passing defense. If Howard can suit-up we can expect a heavy workload for the tailback once again, as New England has given up 369 yards on the ground over the last 2 games. However, the Eagles now have the Ravens-over-Pats win on film…and part of that rushing total came on designed pass plays in which New England over-committed to its coverages.
Wentz continues to be rated among the top young QB’s in the NFL, throwing for 2,060 yards with a 15:4 TD/INT ratio thus far. The signal-caller has a fine 18-6 record when playing in Philly.
It will be a cold night on the gridiron but precipitation is not expected.
Bill Belichick is superior to all other 31 head coaches with extra time to prepare. The Super Bowl loss occurred because of questionable personnel decisions on the Pats’ part and a newfangled “RPO” attack from the Eagles which is not as unfamiliar in 2019.
If the Pats were a 6 or 7-point favorite I’d be more inclined to take Philly ATS, but as it stands I’m going with the Brady Bunch to cover.