Eagles (4-7) vs Patriots (10-1) Week 13 – Preview

The Eagles march into New England losers of 3 straight.  3 bad losses to pour salt in the wound.  This Billy Davis led defense is falling apart right before our very eyes.  During this 3 game losing streak they have allowed 45 points in back to back games, losing in embarrassing fashion.  The last thing I wanted to see as an Eagles fan after losing 3 straight is the big bad New England Patriots.  Especially a pissed off Pats team after losing to the Broncos.  Game in which they had to fight the other team and the refs as well.

Below are the injury reports from philadelphiaeagles.com – The Eagles’ Thursday injury report featured mainly good news for Eagles fans. Safety Walter Thurmond(hamstring, calf) was upgraded from not participating on Wednesday to being a full participant on Thursday, and defensive end Cedric Thornton (ankle) went from not participating to being limited. Nelson Agholor was also a full-go after being limited with a hip injury earlier in the week.  Quarterback Sam Bradford was again a full participant, as were tight end Zach Ertz (concussion), wide receiver Josh Huff (concussion), tackles Lane Johnson (shoulder), Jason Peters (back, ankle) and Dennis Kelly (ankle), center Jason Kelce (knee) and wide receiver Seyi Ajirotutu (calf). Ertz missed the Thanksgiving game, but says he should be good to go for Sunday.  “I’m feeling good, ready to go this week,” Ertz said. “I got cleared by the independent (neurologist), so I’ve felt really good the past couple days and I’m excited for this game.”  The only Eagle to miss Thursday’s training session was running back Ryan Mathews, who suffered a concussion back on November 15 in the loss to the Dolphins. According to head coach Chip Kelly, Mathews still hasn’t passed through the league’s concussion protocol – philadelphiaeagles.com.

The Patriots’ lengthy injury report, featuring 12 names, was virtually identical to Wednesday’s report. Among the most notable names are tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) and wide receiver Julian Edelman (foot) who both missed practice. Edelmen has been sidelined for a few weeks and will not play on Sunday, and reports have said that Gronkowski will most likely miss the game as well.  A quartet of interesting names to keep an eye on are linebackers Jamie Collins (illness) and Dont’a Hightower (knee), wide receiver Danny Amendola (knee) and safety Patrick Chung (foot). The Patriots are already down a number of playmakers on offense, so Amendola’s health will be key heading into Sunday. Hightower left the Patriots’ loss to Denver, but could be back on the field Sunday – philadelphiaeagles.com.

The Eagles will get Sam Bradford back after missing the previous 2 games. Bradford has surely been missed as this offense has struggled to move the ball.  They obviously struggled under Bradford as well but he clearly is the better of the two.  Under Sam this offense occasionally is able to get the ball downfield.

For the first time arguably all season the Eagles have a favorable match – up in the defensive backfield.  The only team at this point in the season worse off at WR than the Eagles is the Patriots.  It’s not because they neglected the position or drafted poorly like the Eagles did.  Injuries have decimated the Patriots.  Amendola, Dobson and Edelman are all banged up.  Their best target in TE Rob Gronkowski is also out after suffering a bruised knee against the Broncos.  His injury looked much more serious when he was writhing in pain in the cold Denver snow.  This bodes well for Eagles rookie Eric Rowe.  He’s inline for his first NFL start after a broken ankle to Nolan Carroll last week vs Detroit.  Rowe struggled vs Calvin Johnson but if you looked at the tape you saw he did some good things.  His candy ass of a coordinator didn’t help him out at all.  I lit into Billy Davis in my recap blog last week and still feel the same way.  He’s gone at years end.

The Eagles operated heavy out 12 personnel the last few weeks.  With possible injuries to Jamie Collins and Dont’a Hightower the Eagles could take advantage with Ertz and Celek.  Ertz should be fresh after missing the Detroit game with a concussion.  I expect the Eagles to continue with 2 TE sets.  Collins has an unspecified illness.  Weeks ago it was rumored he had merca.  It doesn’t look like that’s the case but he hasn’t been healthy.  He likely will be a game time decision.

Getting Bradford and Ertz back combined with Patriots injuries gives the Eagles a chance.  None of it will matter if this offensive line doesn’t show up to play.  They were awful against the Lions with or with out Peters in the line up.  I’m not so much worried about the tackles as I am the interior.  The combination of Barbre, Kelce and Tobin have been awful and dominated by opposing defensive lines for weeks.  Last week was even more troubling when they were dominated by a below average Detroit DL.  Chandler Jones is licking his chops

Prediction – The Eagles do have some favorable match-ups.  I believe they will be able to move the ball up/down the field.  That being said I still don’t believe this team has any fight.  It’s evident they quit the last two weeks.  If they get down early I expect more of the same and a 4th straight loss.  I predicted 2 weeks ago they won’t win another game the rest of the year and I’m holding firm on that prediction.  I think this will be a closer game than people think but the Patriots will add a late score and pull away.  Eagles 23 Patriots 34

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