Alright, our last slight preview before the full one will be out tomorrow night.
The Eagles are traveling to Gillette Stadium where the Patriots can get back on track for the number one seed and back on the winning side of things. The Patriots players and coaches are probably mad about the loss and the events within the Denver game, using that as fuel and following these three keys should net them a win on Sunday.
1. Stop The Run:
The Patriots didn’t stop the run against Denver and it cost them, so they can’t make that same mistake twice. The Pats have had the week to get Freeny and Mayo better prepared at stopping the run, but I know they are hoping Collins, at the very least, can play. Stopping the run without two starting linebackers will be tough but doable, and it has to be the number one focus on defense. The Pats strength is their pass defense so they will want to take away what Philly wants to do which is run and force them to win by throwing the ball.
2. Stop The Tight Ends:
If the Pats take away the ground attack and force the Eagles to the air, the next focus is shutting down the tight ends. Zach Ertz and Brent Celek have been targeted 89 times with 58 catches for 688 yards this season. Celek has caught 3 touchdowns, but Ertz has been targeted more, caught more passes, and yards. They are both big tight ends and will be a lot to handle for the defense. They are the chain movers, safety nets, and touchdown machines for the Eagles and their Quarterbacks. If the pass defense can take these two away, then the Eagles will have a very tough time scoring. Patrick Chung and the linebackers or Tavon Wilson have a tall task.
3. Protect Tom Brady:
The Eagles have a pass rush and the Eagles love to blitz. The Patriots sometime shaky line has to pick up the blitz against some big names like Connor Barwin, Kiko Alonso, Mychal Kendricks, and the dangerous Brandon Graham. That is just the linebackers and the blitzes they have to protect against. Every down, they have to block Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry, who has 11 sacks between them. Curry and Cox are very dangerous for Fleming and Vollmer and they are must stops. If they keep the defensive ends at bay, then Brady will have more time than ever and if they also pick up blitzes whenever the Eagles throw it at them, they should score points. This is the primary focus for the offense.