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The Best Show Ever?: Weekdays 2pm – 6pm

The Best Show Ever?: Weekdays 2pm – 6pm

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - DECEMBER 18: Rhamondre Stevenson #38 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball as Nate Hobbs #39 of the Las Vegas Raiders defends during the second quarter at Allegiant Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

It is finally week 1. Which means we are just a couple of days away from Eagles football. They head up to Foxborough and will take on the New England Patriots to open the season.

This is not the same Patriots team they saw in the Super Bowl though, obviously. To start, Tom Brady has not been there for several years now. And it has shown. They are 25-25 in 3 seasons since Brady left. In two of those seasons, they had a losing record, including 8- 9 last year. They did make the Wild Card round in Mac Jones rookie season, but otherwise, it has been ugly since Brady’s departure.

But it is still Bill Belichick. And despite the recent struggles, most still regard him as the best Coach in NFL history. So as long as he is there, you can not overlook the Patriots. They also made a significant upgrade at Offensive Coordinator, trading in Matthew Patricia, who for some reason was put in charge of the offense last year, for Bill O’Brien. And while O’Brien did not fare well as a head coach, he has a good track record calling plays in both College and the NFL.

But besides the coaching staff, are there any hurdles the Eagles have to worry about in week 1? They get to let their prolific pass rush go up against a banged-up Patriots O-Line. QBs have a recent history of success running against Belichick’s defense. And Devonta Smith and AJ Brown will get to give Christian Gonzalez. But there are some areas where the Patriots can give the Eagles some trouble. And a few of the Patriots’ strengths, could be well suited to attack weaknesses on the Eagles. So before Sunday’s game, let’s look at what those are.

Here are 4 Patriots players who could give the Eagles some trouble in week 1:

  • Rhamondre Stevenson

    The Eagles’ biggest question mark may be the linebacker room. Hopes are high for Nakobe Dean and Zach Cunningham, but we have not seen them do it for the Eagles in a real game yet. They will get tested right away in week 1. The Patriots’ best weapon on offense last year was RB Rhamondre Stevenson, who broke out for over 1400 total yards and 6TDs. Not just as a runner, but as a pass catcher too.  

    Knowing the Eagles love to get after the QB, there could be a lot of quick passes by the Patriots to try and neutralize the Eagles’ pass rush. And it is going to fall on the Eagles LBs to defend that. Can they do it? Not many teams were able to stop Stevenson last year. We will have to see if Dean and Cunningham are up to the test. 

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - NOVEMBER 06: Rhamondre Stevenson #38 of the New England Patriots runs with the ball during the second half of a game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on November 06, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

    (Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

  • Ezekiel Elliott

    Zeke is not the same back he once was. But you can’t deny that he has a good history vs the Eagles. In 12 games, the Eagles only held him under 4 yards per carry 3 times. And he has gotten at least 80 yards 9 times. In total, he averages 4.8 yards per carry against the Eagles, has 1,107 yards, and 6 TDs. Stevenson is the more dangerous back at this point. But don’t count out Zeke.  

    ARLINGTON, TEXAS - DECEMBER 24: Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys runs the ball for a touchdown during the first quarter in the game against the Philadelphia Eagles at AT&T Stadium on December 24, 2022 in Arlington, Texas.

    (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)

  • Matthew Judon

    The Patriots have a pair of dangerous pass rushers, Josh Uche and Matthew Judon. Uche had his first-ever double-digit sack season last year. But he will likely line up against Lane Johnson, and we know Lane Johnson never gives up any sacks. The issue may be Matthew Judon, who will be going up against Jordan Mailata.  

    Mailata had a very good year last season, especially as a run blocker. But he has at times been beatable as a pass blocker. He was credited with giving up 6 sacks last season and may get his toughest test all season right out of the bat in week 1. Maybe you neutralize him by running the ball at Judon early. Let Mailata go on the attack, instead of having to be on the defensive in the pass rush. They pulled a similar trick against Micah Parsons last year when Lane Johnson went out with a concussion and Parsons was beating up the backup. May also be effective here. 

    FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 20: Matthew Judon #9 of the New England Patriots reacts during a game against the New York Jets at Gillette Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.

    (Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images)

  • Marcus Jones

    The Eagles’ biggest problem last year was Special Teams, especially punting, and punt coverage. And since Arryn Siposs is back, at least for now, and Michale Clay is back as Special Teams Coordinator, there is not much reason to think it will be any better. To make it worse, the Eagles are already down two special teams aces in Shaun Bradley and Zach McPhearson.  

    And that unit will get tested right out of the gate. Patriots Return Man Marcus Jones led the NFL in punt return yards last season as a rookie. He averaged 12.5 yards per punt ( also led the league) and brought one back for a TD. We saw in the Super Bowl how vulnerable the Eagles are in the punt game. Marcus Jones is definitely a player who can take advantage. 

     

  • Jalen Reagor?

    Jalen Reagor revenge game? Well he may not even dress, and both of the Eagles starting WRs last season had more yards in 1 season than Reagor has in his whole career. Eagles fans should hope he plays because it will be one less player out there they have to worry about.  

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