The Philadelphia Eagles (4-6) are taking on the New England Patriots (7-3) at home in a re-match of the XXXIX Super Bowl. Since 2005 things have almost totally changed in both Philadelphia and New England, but the rivalry and desire to win for both of these teams has remained unchanged. The Eagles will be going for the second straight week without Michael Vick, and Vince Young is remaning the starter following a huge division win against the New York Giants. The Patriots are coming off of a huge Monday Night win over the oft-injured Kansas City Chiefs and are looking to gain separation in the AFC East.
Here are five keys to a Philadelphia win:
5. Get Pressure On Tom Brady
In all three of the Patriots losses there has been a consistent trend. The winning team has been able to get a good amount of pressure on Tom Brady, and that forces mistakes. It’s simple football knowledge, but the problem is that New England does a good job of protecting their golden boy. Luckily, the Eagles have one of the most talented defensive lines in the NFL with Trent Cole, Jason Babin, and Cullen Jenkins, who all specialize in rushing the passer.
Get pressure on Brady, he forces bad throws, and the Eagles secondary may have a chance of slowing down the best quarterback in the NFL.
4. Contain Both Of New England’s Tight Ends
The Patriots offense is actually quite simple as well. It just helps when they have the best quarterback in the NFL, and also two of the best receiving tight ends in the league. Brady targets his two young tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez more than any other quarterback, and they can rip up a defense. Philadelphia’s defense specifically has been known for blowing easy coverage on tight ends, and these two players will be a big part of New England’s game plan.
A lot of these assignments will fall on Jamar Chaney and Brian Rolle, and they both have to step up, or it will be a long game defensively for Philadelphia.
3. LeSean McCoy Must Establish Himself Early
Even though the Eagles won last week’s game against the Giants, LeSean McCoy had a bad game. He rushed for over 100 yards, but 60 of them came on the very last run of the game, and he was essentially shut down for three and half quarters. Against New England, McCoy has to get rolling early. The sooner McCoy is a threat on the ground, the easier it will be for Vince Young to pass downfield.
In my opinion, McCoy is the Eagles best offensive talent, and there is no reason to not get him the ball more in big games.
2. Vince Young Must Expose The Patriots Defense
For the first time in Bill Belichick’s career in New England, his defense is terrible. They are so bad, they are in dead last in total defense in the entire NFL. Ranked 32.
To be honest, the Patriots offense is much better than the Eagles defense, and the only chance Philadelphia has to win this game is offensively. Young is going to have to play on his A-game and put up a ton of points. The Eagles offense looked kind of flat last week, but that was against a rigid Giants defense, but they will still have to do much better to win this game. Young should be able to run for 50+ and pass for over 250+, and the Patriots defense shouldn’t do much to stop him.
1. Andy Reid Must Out-Coach Bill Belichick
Apparently these two coaches are still friends. I don’t believe that for one second. Andy Reid and Belichick played against each other in a Super Bowl, and there has to still be a rivalry going on. In the Super Bowl, Reid was just out-coached by Belichick. There is no other way to put it. Bad feelings still floating around?
This is Reid’s chance to get back the win that Philadelphia never got six years ago. For the city of Philadelphia, the Eagles, and especially Reid, this game is personal. If I know Reid, which I have for 12 years, he is going to prepare for this game more than any other this season, and he will come out with a great game plan.
What it will boil down to is, will the game plan work? Because we all know Reid can’t make in-game adjustments to save his life.
As I stated before, this is an emotional game. The city of Philadelphia would like to see nothing more than the golden boy and his Pats’ fall on the road and the Eagles could score some face-value points for the Super Bowl loss. I think that given that the Eagles have all the momentum right now, they might be able to sneak a victory out at home. Last week was just what the doctor ordered in Philly, and the momentum should carry over and help the Eagles win this game. Patriots 17 – Eagles 27