Game Preview – PHI vs NE

Posted: February 4th, 2018 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | 72 Comments »

We’ve talked about this game for the past two weeks, but let’s try to sum up some final thoughts.

PHI OFF vs NE DEF

Nick Foles has played in three playoff games. He won the two this season and left the field with the lead against the Saints. He has had a QB rating of more than 100 in each of those games. Foles has thrown 5 TDs without any picks. No one is trying to turn him into Joe Montana, but the point is that Foles can get the job done. He needs help from his line and his skill players, but he can avoid big mistakes and make enough key throws to help his team win.

Foles isn’t facing a juggernaut defense. Bill Belichick is a master with gameplans, but Doug Pederson has proven to be outstanding at that this year as well. I trust that Pederson and his staff will have a good plan of attack. Just as important, they’ve shown the ability to adjust during the game.

Pederson knows he is facing a great offense so chances are he’s going to be aggressive with his play-calling. He knows the Eagles must score points. At the same time, Pederson knows Tom Brady isn’t a very good QB when he’s standing on the sideline and watching. The Eagles need to be able to move the ball methodically at times.

Nelson Agholor is the WR I think could have the breakout game. He was dealing with some flu-like symptoms over the weekend. He got an IV and is supposedly feeling better, but this is something to watch. If he needs to be rotated in and out, that could give some extra reps to Trey Burton. I know he’s a TE,  but Burton can play in the slot. That would be an interesting twist from the coaching staff.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai is coming off his best game of the year. He’ll need another strong effort today. The Pats will likely have James Harrison take him on. Harrison is incredibly powerful and plays with great leverage. Big V must keep him under control on pass plays and seal him on outside runs. Both things are easier said than done.

Corey Clement is the runner who could get additional touches. He has the speed to get outside and I could see Pederson wanting to stretch that defense horizontally. Expect a lot of shotgun runs from 1 WR-1TE sets. The Pats have struggled with that all year.

PHI DEF vs NE OFF

Jim Schwartz coached the Buffalo Bills defense in 2014. He faced the Patriots twice. BUF lost the first game 27-22 and won the rematch 17-9. Tom Brady didn’t play much in the second game. Schwartz has ideas on how to deal with the Patriots offense from that experience.

This is a more talented defense and also there is a more talented offense to help it out. You don’t just shutdown the Pats. Your offense must be able to help you by scoring points and moving the ball.

New England knows the key to the Eagles is the D-line. They will try to negate the line by mixing up-tempo offense in to wear those guys down. Also expect quick throws and screen passes. They want the Eagles doing a lot of chasing on short, quick throws. That also could wear down the DL.

The Eagles have no answer for Rob Gronkowski. No one really does. The Eagles just need to try to keep him under control. I expect Malcolm Jenkins to cover him at times. I think Nigel Bradham will cover him at times. CBs will have a chance. There will likely be a few double-teams. You don’t do one thing against Gronk. He’s too good.

You can bet the Pats will try to use double-moves against the Eagles CBs. Brandin Cooks is perfect for the slant ‘n go. With his speed, just leaning the wrong way can let him get by you. Take a full step the wrong way and you’ve got no chance. Rodney McLeod needs to have a good game. Stay back. Take good angles to the football. Keep things in front of you. Tackle well.

The Eagles are going to get some pressure on Brady. They have too many good pass rushers not to. Fletcher Cox will get a lot of attention. Other players must step up. This would be an ideal time for Brandon Graham to have a great game.

It will be interesting to see if Schwartz has any wrinkles for this game. Maybe Vinny Curry sees more time at DT. Dare the Patriots to run the ball on you. Curry is an explosive inside rusher who could get free up the middle and bother Brady.

I expect NE to attack Mychal Kendricks in the passing game. He’s a gifted athlete, but doesn’t have good instincts. Get him vs Dion Lewis in space and that’s an advantage for the Pats. One way to negate that is for him to blitz. RBs have to stay in and block if LBs are attacking. Kendricks is a guy who could be an X-factor for the defense.

STs

NE loves to kickoff to the 1-yard line, forcing the offense to return the kick. Don’t give them 25 free yards. Make them fight their way to the 25. The Pats are great at covering kicks so a lot of times teams start  short of the 25-yard line. Kenjon Barner is going to have a chance to make plays. The blockers must do their job.

Both kickers are outstanding.

I don’t expect there to be a lot of punts in this game. That doesn’t mean we’ll have a huge shootout, but I just don’t expect a lot of 3 & outs.

MISC

The Eagles have been incredibly consistent this year with their performance and results. I wrote a piece for PE.com on how this needs to be business as usual. There is a lot of pomp and circumstance going on, but the game is the game. Do what got you here.

The Eagles have only lost two real games this year, at KC and at SEA. Those are two of the toughest places to play. Minneapolis is allegedly a neutral site, but based on the reports of the past few days, this is going to be another pseudo-home game (like the Chargers and Rams games). That will give the Eagles an emotional boost.

A lot of people talk about the challenges of facing the Patriots. They are sooooooooo good at situational football.

3rd down offense – PHI 8th, NE 10th

3rd down defense – PHI 3rd, NE 21st

Red Zone offense – PHI 2nd, NE 3rd

Red Zone defense – NE 8th, PHI 11th

Looks to me like the Eagles are actually better at situational football this year.

But what about history? The last time I checked, the Pats aren’t allowed to bring Lombardi Trophies on the field and actually use them so who cares. As for mystique, that’s the name of my favorite stripper in Las Vegas.

This is the 2017 Eagles against the 2017 Patriots. Forget about the other stuff. Destiny and history don’t matter. The team that executes better will win the game.

THE PICK

The one outcome that would shock me is a Patriots blowout. The Eagles have been so good all year. In their two losses, the Eagles out-gained the opponent. It was Eagles mistakes that cost them those games. Aside from that, anything can happen.

This group has an “it factor” that I’ve never seen from an Eagles team. The 2002 team showed some of that, but it took the injury to Donovan McNabb to really bring that out in them. This team has had amazing chemistry since the spring. There is great leadership from the coaches and players.

If the Super Bowl was about stars, the Pats would win. Belichick, Brady and Gronk will go down in NFL history books. Thankfully this game is about which team plays better.

The Eagles have been the best team in the league this year. I expect that to continue tonight.

PHI 30
NE 17

This is a close game late. Brady gets the ball one final time, trailing 24-17. The Eagles come up with a takeaway and score with zeroes on the clock.

Life is good.

_


72 Comments on “Game Preview – PHI vs NE”

  1. 1 philllyfanatic said at 4:07 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Eagles win 34-24. They roll up 500 yards of offense. 260 yards rushing and 240 yards passing. Tom Brady gets knocked around and hit quite a bit.

  2. 2 SteveH said at 4:16 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    I agree completely about stretching the Pats with runs to the outside. Watching the Jags run Fournette up the middle over and over was so frustrating, especially when they had success running him more off-tackle.

    I think Kendricks might be better against the short throws than we think, he’s gotten a lot better in coverage and he has the speed to chase down Lewis and White on the short throws.

    I’d throw the kitchen sink at the Pats and their passing game, I don’t fear them running the ball at all.

    Two situations really worry me, that’s getting Mcleod or Jenkins against Lewis or Amendola in space, I think they’re both too quick for our safeties to handle, and the double moves with Cooks or Hogan.

    I think with Gronk we’ll do a lot of Malcom Jenkins with Mcleod shaded overtop of him so that Jenkins can run underneath.

    Also this might be a game where I tell Fletcher Cox, if the screen is on the other side of the field and you really don’t have much of a chance to chase it down, save your energy. We need you fresh to rush Brady.

  3. 3 Eagles_Fan_in_San_Fran said at 4:20 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    “This is a close game late. Brady gets the ball one final time, trailing 24-17.”

    Oh please God, no – I don’t think my heart could take that one. I barely survived the Falcons ending.

    How about this instead:
    “Brady gets the ball one final time, trailing 24-14. They score, but the onside kick fails. Eagles win 24-21, the exact reverse of the 2004 Super Bowl.”

  4. 4 Donald Kalinowski said at 6:14 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Better at 24-17 than 23-17.

  5. 5 unhinged said at 4:33 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Found this in inbox today:

    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/sports/open-mike/os-sp-super-bowl-eagles-mike-bianchi-0204-story.html

  6. 6 P_P_K said at 4:47 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Gentlemen, it’s been an honor hanging out with you for the past year on Iggles Blitz. Off to pick up my best boyhood friend, once Captain of the Havertown football team, then over to another bud’s house to watch the game. The next time I “see” you guys, we will be Super Bowl Champions.
    E-A-G-L-E-S!

  7. 7 Masked Man said at 5:52 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Iggles Blitz has been a new found pleasure for me this year too.

    This is a once in a lifetime evening in football. Enjoy the game!

  8. 8 nathaniel driver said at 4:50 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Eagles inactive list: Eagles declared RB Wendell Smallwood, WR Marcus Johnson, OT Will Beatty, CB Sidney Jones, and DLs Steven Means, Destiny Vaeao, and Elijah Qualls inactive for Super Bowl 52 against the Patriots.

  9. 9 SteveH said at 4:52 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    You know I find Seth Joyner to be a genuinely scary person, I wouldn’t be shocked to find out he’s committed murder for sport, but I find him to be strangely eloquent for someone who is otherwise so intimidating.

  10. 10 Philadelphian said at 5:01 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    One of those most underrated outside linebackers to ever play the game. Before the 2004 Super Bowl, Joyner long retired, was interviewing Jim Johnson and was asked if he could still suit up. Of course Joyner realized Johnson was joking, but Johnson kept a straight face.

  11. 11 SteveH said at 5:06 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    It’s frankly bizarre that he never gets HoF consideration.

  12. 12 Philadelphian said at 5:22 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    I often say that one of the biggest failures of the Andy Reid years was Reid’s inability to draft linebackers. He was lucky to inherit Trotter and Carlos Edmonds, another underrated linebacker, was signed by Tom Modrak. During the 2004 game, our outside linebackers were Dhani Jones and Mark Simoneau and Belichick took advantage of their lack of talent just like he hopes to do this year. The difference is Bradham can play and we hope the good Kendricks shows up.

  13. 13 Masked Man said at 5:51 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Mychal the Good will be on his game.

    He’s waited a long time for this.

  14. 14 Masked Man said at 5:50 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    “Genuinely Scary Person.” Yep. That’s Seth.

    If you ever get to meet him, you just hope he’s smiling at that time!

  15. 15 Philadelphian said at 4:58 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Well, it’s almost time. I have my bottle of valium ready when needed.

  16. 16 SteveH said at 5:05 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    I don’t know what to feel. I just know I hate that they brought Boston sports guys on the Eagles pregame show. Fuck that this is our day.

  17. 17 Philadelphian said at 5:08 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Maybe it’s a before and after thing. Show them happy before the game, but depressed as he’ll afterwards.

  18. 18 SteveH said at 5:08 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    I don’t want to see them at all, fuck Pats fans, fuck Pats media, this is about us today.

  19. 19 Masked Man said at 5:49 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    This is the moment we’ve been waiting for, Philly! Team all the way!

    Game key:

    Watch if the refs throw flags or let them play.

    If they let us play, we win!

  20. 20 daveH said at 5:05 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/82aee88176fb96ed8af678596adf044a3d488ec178798ce651c07a35d95980a9.jpg

  21. 21 Masked Man said at 5:47 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Tough as nails!

  22. 22 GENETiC-FREAK said at 5:08 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Silly question but does the game kickoff in the next 50mins or is there a buildup?

  23. 23 D3FB said at 5:09 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    kickoff is 630ish

  24. 24 Philadelphian said at 5:10 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Probably a build up. I doubt.very much if the game starts at 6:30. It typically takes quite awhile for them to get all the BS out of the way.

  25. 25 Masked Man said at 5:47 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Kickoff promptly after 6:30pm

  26. 26 nathaniel driver said at 5:09 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    What is Tom Brady doing?!

    https://scontent-lax3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t31.0-8/27628630_1820270871352926_3358632621665032088_o.jpg?oh=452a9018916b8ab099471d9a2130e41b&oe=5AE0C9FA

  27. 27 SteveH said at 5:12 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    My favorite part about Boston sports is their ongoing homoerotic interest in Tom Brady. It’s only funny because they’re the kind of people that would punch someone and call them a faggot otherwise, but then they swoon at the sight of “handsome Tom”. Literally the first thing the Pats broadcasters did when they came on the NBC pregame with the Eagles hosts was talk about how good Brady looked.

  28. 28 SteveH said at 5:14 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    God trying to keep myself distracted right now is excruciating.

  29. 29 daveH said at 5:22 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/e7c0c7ec7e86a8250c1d194bc94d66f30b52e2bc923660bbe012ae715e4ec643.jpg

  30. 30 Masked Man said at 5:45 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Excellent choice!

  31. 31 Gary Barnes said at 5:22 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    I have a great feeling about this game

    Win tonight and we walk together forever – GO BIRDS!!!!

  32. 32 Damon Robinson said at 5:26 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Swartz better have his CBS play press coverage or it’s going to be a long night.

  33. 33 SteveH said at 5:27 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Belichick will attack a weakness over and over and over if you don’t correct it, they’ll take 5 to 10 yard completions on the outside all day if we give them to him.

  34. 34 Damon Robinson said at 5:27 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Yep

  35. 35 SteveH said at 5:29 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    They were murdering Boye on comeback routes to Cooks in the championship game, I’ve seen Darby get beat on some comebacks lately, I bet they try to attack him the same way.

  36. 36 Damon Robinson said at 5:33 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    That’s why I dont like the refs x files cnprsy theories. Pats do get shady calls but mostly they just capitalize on other teams stupidy and paranoid behavior. Can’t believe Jags coaches were too scared to play man with those corners. Pathetic.

  37. 37 Damon Robinson said at 5:40 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    I would go mix up with our most physical corners.

  38. 38 SteveH said at 5:26 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    John Harbaugh just said something that I think is going to be true, I think the Pats will try to disrupt our RPO game with blitzing and man coverage.

    I’ve felt all along that Belichick will try and force Foles to beat them by throwing deep, and if that’s what he does I hope Nick is on fire this week as he was 2 weeks ago.

  39. 39 meteorologist said at 5:27 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    ” As for mystique, that’s the name of my favorite stripper in Las Vegas.”

    Epic

  40. 40 jshort said at 5:47 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    That’s what got me in tears…….Thought she was all mine!

  41. 41 Dragon_Eagle said at 5:35 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/f439db43a7a6145cda6db83b8905b11959191542cf898b1b86f23ef582d7b545.jpg

  42. 42 Dragon_Eagle said at 5:35 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/973d9db12a6ce95624e303deebab0182c17868b5a386faceaa97de904fbb7eca.jpg

  43. 43 Masked Man said at 6:11 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    He’s a good dog!

  44. 44 Masked Man said at 5:43 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    “Seems like the Eagles are going to have a home field advantage in Super Bowl LII”

    (“Best fans in the NFL.”)

    By Brandon Lee Gowton @BrandonGowton

    Feb 4, 2018, 1:14pm PST

    https://www.bleedinggreennation.com/2018/2/4/16971410/super-bowl-lii-2018-eagles-fans-home-field-advantage-philadelphia-patriots-new-england-nfl-minnesota

  45. 45 Dude said at 5:45 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Dammit Tommy, you got me all teared up. Great work.

    GO EAGLES!!!

  46. 46 EJ said at 5:50 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Mystique is the name of the air freshener Tom Brady keeps in his bathroom.

  47. 47 EJ said at 5:54 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    TV is reporting almost 4-1, Eagles-Pats fans entering the stadium!!!! Sounds like home field advantage for us!

  48. 48 Masked Man said at 6:10 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    “E-A-G-L-E-S…. Eagles!”

  49. 49 sonofdman said at 5:55 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    I had this feeling for the last couple days about Jalen Mills. I have this premonition that he is going to get two picks (one pick 6) and be the MVP.

  50. 50 T_S_O_P said at 5:59 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Let’s do this!!!!

  51. 51 Techtriumph said at 6:01 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Pulse is at 180 and we haven’t started. Hoping beyond hope for this win.

  52. 52 Dragon_Eagle said at 6:02 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    My heart is racing like I just did an hour of rowing.

  53. 53 jshort said at 6:06 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    same feeling

  54. 54 Damon Robinson said at 6:06 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Puff, puff pass. Roll and repeat.

  55. 55 Julescat said at 6:07 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    so nervous

  56. 56 Donald Kalinowski said at 6:13 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    3 minutes for rowing for me.

  57. 57 Dude said at 6:07 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a47b1f18cdac55f39d303430e7e7df41b6985b779c213e15ff695f681472e0b9.jpg

  58. 58 Damon Robinson said at 6:08 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Positive thoughts. Positive results.

  59. 59 Donald Kalinowski said at 6:15 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    This is something I’ve always wanted and the thought of getting so close and failing is nauseating. I’m so nervous and part of me wishes we didn’t make it this far lol.

  60. 60 Masked Man said at 6:18 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    (I like Tommy’s forecast here:)

    PHI 30

    NE 17

    This is a close game late. Brady gets the ball one final time,
    trailing 24-17. The Eagles come up with a takeaway and score with zeroes
    on the clock.

    Life is good.

  61. 61 sonofdman said at 6:19 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Jalen Mills pick 6

  62. 62 Ryan Rambo said at 6:21 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Life is GREAT!!

  63. 63 Insomniac said at 6:21 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Start the game already ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  64. 64 T_S_O_P said at 6:23 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Rum in place. Lucky drink

  65. 65 SteveH said at 6:23 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    IT’S TIME

  66. 66 Ryan Rambo said at 6:24 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    My heart.

  67. 67 Dragon_Eagle said at 6:25 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Roll call!!!!

    What’s your drink of choice on this fine February evening, gentlemen?

    I’m leading off with a Victory Vital IPA.

  68. 68 Insomniac said at 6:27 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Troeg’s Nugget Nectar
    Suntory Hibiki 12

    It’ll either all be gone or untouched.

  69. 69 Insomniac said at 6:25 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Gene “the index card” Steratore

  70. 70 Ryan Rambo said at 6:26 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    Gronk looks nervous.

  71. 71 Ryan Rambo said at 6:27 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    FUCKIN’ SCORE POINTS! WHAT’S YOUR PLAN????

  72. 72 xeynon said at 6:27 PM on February 4th, 2018:

    New thread.