In a rematch of Super Bowl LII, the New England Patriots (8-1, first in AFC East) travel to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Philadelphia Eagles (5-4, tied for first in NFC East). Both teams are coming off a bye and now return to action in what is one of the most highly-anticipated matchups of Week 11. Here is a preview for Sunday afternoon’s marquee matchup, including odds and a pick.
By the Numbers
Through nine games, the Patriots have been as dominant as anyone. New England is second in points per game with 30 and first in points allowed with 10.9. The Patriots’ defense, which is also first in yards allowed and third-down percentage, helps make up for the fact that they’re just 15th in yards on offense with 366.8. They’re also just 23rd in average rushing yards per game with 92.9, but they throw for the seventh-most passing yards per game. The Patriots also have the second-fewest passing yards allowed per game.
The Eagles are one of the most wildly inconsistent teams in the league, and their stats thus far back that up. Philadelphia is 13th in points per game with 24.9 and 19th in yards per game with 347 yards. But the Eagles are one of the best teams in terms of running the football and on successfully converting third downs, ranking 11th and 3rd in the NFL, respectively. On defense, they are top 10 in yards allowed and rushing yards allowed but struggle consistently against the pass and rank 19th in points allowed with 23.7 per game.
1. Carson Wentz vs. Patriots D: The Eagles quarterback is going to face his toughest test of the season in the New England Patriots. Wentz has been fairly solid this season, throwing for 2,060 yards and 15 touchdowns with just four interceptions. But now he’ll face a Patriots team that has a league-leading 19 interceptions and is fourth in sacks with 32. It’ll also be New England’s first time seeing Wentz, as the QB was sidelined with an injury during the Super Bowl in 2018.
2. The Eagles running backs: Earlier this week, Philadelphia lost Darren Sproles to a season-ending injury. To fill his spot on the roster, the Eagles brought back Jay Ajayi, who was on the Super Bowl team two seasons ago and on the team last year before tearing his ACL. Ajayi is joining Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders in the Philadelphia backfield, and the trio will be relied upon heavily on Sunday. Howard and Sanders have combined for 861 rushing yards and seven touchdowns, and now face a defense that has allowed 135 yards rushing in four of its last six games, including 210 to the Ravens in their lone loss.
3. Patriots Receivers vs. Eagles Secondary: The Eagles have a weakness on defense, and it’s in their secondary. Meanwhile, the Patriots have a group of receivers that’s starting to get deeper. New England will have Julian Edelman, who has 663 receiving yards and four touchdowns, as well as newer acquisition Mohamed Sanu. They’ll also have N’Keal Harry available to make his NFL debut. Harry was New England’s first-round pick in April, giving Tom Brady another weapon to work with. Playing in a tough environment in Philadelphia, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Patriots having to throw the ball more often than normal, and we’ll see if they’re able to exploit Philly’s suspect secondary.
The Patriots are fairly healthy, with a small number of players listed as questionable. The notables include safety Patrick Chung and defensive tackle Danny Shelton. Otherwise, New England should be good to go for Sunday.
Howard is questionable for the Eagles, but other than that, the injury report is a lot less full than it has been. However, a couple of key players, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and linebacker Nigel Bradham, have been ruled out.
Odds and Pick
In this hugely-anticipated game, the Patriots are -3.5 on the road. But this game is more evenly-matched than it may appear, and it has the makings of a classic. I will side with New England, especially with the extra week to prepare. But I think the Eagles cover and make this a one- or two-point game. So give me the Eagles +3.5, but the Patriots to win outright.