Just a few years ago the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles were battling for the Lombardi Trophy in Super Bowl LII. Things have changed dramatically since then. The Eagles were flying high after winning their first NFL title, but they tore it all down after hitting bottom last season.
The Pats are still looking to find a replacement at quarterback for Tom Brady and they may have their guy in Mac Jones, who impressed in the preseason opener. With the penultimate preseason game usually being the dress rehearsal for the season opener, we’ll see if Jones gets the nod over incumbent Cam Newton.
The Week 2 NFL preseason game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will take place at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia at 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, August 19, and will be televised on NFL Network.
New England Patriots vs Philadelphia Eagles Odds
New England Patriots -1 [BET NOW]
Philadelphia Eagles +1 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 38.5 [BET NOW]
(Odds provided by BookMaker.eu as of 8:41 am ET)
The contest before the preseason finale typically has been the game where starters and key reserves see the most playing time. It’s difficult to know what coaches are thinking now in terms of the dress rehearsal since this is the first year of a shorter preseason slate.
Most teams conduct joint practices with an opponent for a few days leading up to that week’s game, and that’s what happened here. With that work out of the way we may not see as much of the starters as in years past. So, with that said the Pats opened as a 1.5-point favorite only to have the spread wagered down to -1. The home team didn’t fare well last week winning six of the 16 games.
New England Patriots
It’s probably Bill Belichick doing Belichick-type stuff, but after saying Newton would be his starting quarterback he changed his tune recently. Just this week the coach said the job is an open competition between Newton and Jones. The play of Jones in the preseason opener might have had something to do with Belichick’s wavering.
In New England’s 22-13 win over Washington, Jones replaced Newton after two series completing 13 of 19 passes for 87 yards in five series. Could there be a third quarterback in the mix after Brian Hoyer led the only touchdown drives of the game? The answer is no since Hoyer had a short field on the first TD drive and Rhamondre Stevenson snapped off a 91-yard run for the other score. The Pats covered the 2-point line and cashed the UNDER.
It would be nice to see the offense try and open things up a bit. They struggled throwing the football last year and had just 150 yards through the air last week. The ground game is solid, but when opponents stack the box the Pats have to make them pay. Look for both Newton and Jones to throw the ball deeper down the field with success leading to points and paying out the OVER.
The Eagles might have a quarterback conundrum on their hands after last week’s game. While Jalen Hurts has not officially been named the starter by rookie coach Nick Sirianni, most assume the job is his. He took over last season and played well despite a lack of play making receivers and an injury depleted offensive line. The hope is that with better talent around him and a healthy line Hurts improves his numbers that saw him complete just 52 percent of his throws in 2020.
Playing with the first team offense last week, Hurts completed 3 of 7 for 54 yards. He was hurt by a few drops, but the performance wasn’t earth shattering. The good news for Eagles fans is that Hurts had a great practice session against the Pats and he will get the nod on Thursday. Trust me the coaching staff will do everything to make sure Hurts is the No. 1 guy with Flacco being the security blanket.
To aid their pathetic offense from last season the Eagles drafted Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith. A “freak accident” earlier this month in training camp put Smith on the sideline as he recovered. It appears as though he’s back and took part in the joint practices this week with a chance he could see snaps on Thursday. “I always think it’s necessary for guys to play in the preseason and go through that,” Sirianni said.
Patriots vs Eagles Prediction
Our picks: New England Patriots -1 and OVER 38.5
The stakes aren’t as high as they were when the teams met in Minneapolis a few years ago, but the game is important nonetheless. Overall the Pats have a stronger roster and better depth, but that hardly means anything during the preseason. Still, in what is close to the dress rehearsal I expect the Pats to open up offensively and the Eagles’ reserves struggled against Pittsburgh in last week’s loss.
View today’s NFL odds.