The Patriots' defense sparkled in their preseason opener but their prolific offense sputtered. Tom Brady and company will look to get on track Monday night when the Eagles invade Foxboro. What do the odds makers have to say about this matchup, and how should we place our NFL picks.
Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
under the cloud of his son's untimely passing, coached the Eagles to a raucous
24-23 squeaker over the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 1 of the preseason. Alex Henery booted a 51-yard field goal with
only twelve seconds remaining on the clock as the Eagles rallied around their
head coach and stormed back from a 13-0 deficit.
damper on Philadelphia's triumphant day, besides the tragic death of Garrett
Reid a few days earlier, was the injury bug striking once again on Michael Vick's left thumb as he banged it on
his final pass of a very short day. Vick's offense stalled twice as he went three-and-out in his only two
series of the day. Though the X-rays
proved negative and Vick is slated to play against the Pats, nothing can be
taken for granted when it comes to the fragile QB.
Eagles' quarterbacks saw action but the team's 3rd round pick in
this year's draft Nick Foles took the reins from Vick and looked like an
All-Pro when he completed a 70 yard touchdown strike to Damaris Johnson and for
his next trick, drilled a 44 yard TD pass to Mardy Gilyard. The Eagles were up briefly 14-13 in the 3rd
quarter but fell behind again until veteran Trent Edwards got a chance to strut
his stuff and connected on a 16 yard toss to Jamel Hamler.
starters, wide out Jeremy Maclin, safety Nate Allen, tight end Brent Celek and
defensive ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole all watched from the sidelines due to
injuries while defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins left the field with a hamstring
New England Patriots (1-0)
saw his longtime bodyguard, left tackle Matt Light, retire at the end of last
season and was quickly reminded of his absence when the Pats 1st
rounder in 2011 and Brady's brand new blind side tackle Nate Solder got beat by
Saints sack-master Will Smith. Brady's
night was expectedly short but the three Patriots quarterbacks got little going
against a New Orleans defense that ranked 30th last season against
the pass. Second year running backs
Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley were the
lone bright spots on a stagnant New England offense.
Patriots defense was a pleasant surprise as they limited the high octane Saints
to just two field goals in their 7-6 home victory. The Pats top pick in this year's draft
Chandler Jones gave Saints All-Pro tackle Jermon Bushrod fits, causing him to
take two penalties for holding and forcing 5 quarterback hurries. The news was not all good on the Patriots
defensive front as linebacker Dane Fletcher suffered what appeared to be a torn
figure to get a few more reps this week than last so Brady may be champing at
the bit to atone for his mediocre showing last week. New England will have the home field
advantage for the second straight week and this new look, revamped, revved up
defense may be a bit daunting for Eagles quarterback Nick Foles who is looking
to be Vick's backup this season. If the
Philadelphia coaching staff is smart they are going to employ Michael Vick
carefully during the preseason and keep him upright for the regular season
NFL odds makers had opened the Pats at -3.5, but that number has actually fallen to -2 at most betting shops. The total has also seen movement, and after opening at 39, it has been bet up to 41.
While there is no doubt the Patriots juggernaut
will recover from a lethargic opener, the same cannot be said for the Eagles
who do not possess the vast array of offensive talent that Brady has at his
disposal. With our NFL picks this week, we will look for the Patriots
to rise up, and light up, the scoreboard.
NFL Picks: Patriots -2 ½ is the pick.