The Eagles are coming off their bye to take on the Patriots. The Patriots are coming off their bye as well, and they come in boasting a very impressive record of 8-1. While the Eagles have fluctuated throughout the season, the Patriots have been consistently impressive. This will be the toughest test the Eagles face all season long, and a victory here would be huge for the Eagles’ record and confidence. Here’s what to watch for tomorrow:
1 – Destructive defense: We all know how good Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense is, but let’s have a conversation about the Patriots’ defense. The Patriots’ defense gives up an average of just 249.3 YPG, and they also have registered six defensive touchdowns. The Eagles have had difficulty generating offense at times this season, and Patriots’ defense won’t be forgiving. The Eagles need to start powerfully on offense because they won’t just have it all somehow “click” late in the game.
2 – Engage Ertz: Zach Ertz had his breakout game against the Bears. Ertz had 9 receptions for 103 yards and a touchdown against the dynamic Bears’ defense, and he delivered in a major way. Historically, Ertz has been Carson Wentz‘s safety blanket, and it was great to see the dynamic duo rekindle their connection. The Eagles face a tough challenge this week, and if the rushing combo of Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard doesn’t pan out, Ertz will need to carry most of the slack offensively.
3 – Offensive balance: Tom Brady may be the best player of all time, but the Patriots’ offense utilizes the rushing game more than the passing game at times. The Patriots have 27 offensive touchdowns, and the split has been almost even with 13 rushing touchdowns and 14 passing touchdowns. The Eagles’ defense has looked poor multiple times this season, and the Patriots have a dual-threat attack that carves up weak defenses. The Eagles can’t afford to give the Patriots’ offense any momentum if they wish to emerge victorious from this game.
4 – Run the rock: The Eagles have found something potent in their run game. The tandem of Miles Sanders and Jordan Howard has carried the Eagles’ offense at times this season, and it can’t be understated just how important this duo is. The Patriots give up an average of 4.7 YPC, and the Eagles need to enforce the ground game early and often. If the Eagles can’t get their duo going on the ground, I can’t see them emerging without a major loss.
5 – History: The Eagles hold the all-time lead against the Patriots with a record of 8-6. The Eagles won the last regular season match-up against the Patriots, and they also won the most recent match-up on 2/4/18 where the Eagles won SBLII by a score of 41-33. Guess what? The Eagles enter this game as underdogs, just like in 2018. Can the Eagles do it yet again, or will the Patriots kennel them this time?