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Patriots at Eagles NFL Pick with Analysis
John J. Raspanti
The New England Patriots travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in a key match-up for both teams. The Patriots (7-3) have rebounded from two close losses to post convincing wins over the Jets and Chiefs by the combined score of 71-19. Quarterback Tom Brady' has completed 65 percent of his tosses and thrown 25 touchdown passes. BenJarvus Green-Eliis has gained 541 yards on the ground. The strength of the Patriot offense lies in Brady's ability spread the pigskin around. Little tough guy Wes Welker has 74 catches. Wily veteran Deion Branch has caught 39 passes and scored five times.
Brady's go to guy has become second year player Bruce Gronkowski. The second year player has caught 56 passes and crossed the goal line ten times. His twenty touchdowns in twenty six career games broke the record set by Mike Ditka. New England's much-maligned defense has improved in the last few weeks. Cornerback Devin McCourty leads the team with 59 tackles. Safety Patrick Chung has 55 tackles while Kyle Arrington has chipped in with 48. Big defensive end Andre Carter has nine big sacks. His teammate, former Bear castaway Mark Anderson has sevens sacks.
The Eagles (4-6) knew they had to defeat the Giants to keep their slim playoff hopes alive. They did just that by the score of 17-10. With starter Michael Vick's ribs still hurting, Vince Young started at quarterback against the Giants. Young completed 23 of 37 passes for 262 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw three interceptions. Vick, who sustained two broken ribs in the Arizona game, could be a game time decision. The Patriots have been practicing as if both quarterbacks are playing. Eagle running back DeSean McCoy broke the 1000-yard threshold last week. His 5.4 yards per carry leads the league.
Wide receiver Jeremy Macklin has 46 catches for the year. Deep threat DeSean Jackson and tight end Jason Avant have caught 70 passes between them. Linebacker Jamar Chaney has 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles and 66 tackles. Monster defensive end Jason Babin will be after Tom Brady all day. His 10 sacks are fifth in the league.
The Eagles victory over the Giants last weekend was a total team victory. Their effort needs to be greater if they hope to upset the Patriots. The Eagles are only 1-4 at home this season.
Bettorsworld bottom line - Tough spot for the Eagles with the injuries, specifically to Vick. But we can't underestimate Vince Young either. The guy has a 30-17 record as a starting QB in the NFL. It's not as if the Eagles are forced to start a rookie. Although I read an interesting article this week that takes a look at Vince Young's record against eventual playoff teams, which is 5-10. If you're interested, you can read the article here.
The Eagles, despite their early season misfortunes, are still very much alive in the NFC East. They have a win over the Giants and a win over the Cowboys, the two teams ahead of them and still get another crack at Dallas. They are 4-6, two games behind Dallas and New York and have winnable games the rest of the way.
But, there's no wiggle room. Sure, we've seen teams win divisions at 8-8 but realistically, one more loss would likely finish the Eagles. Let's also not mistake the Eagles for a "hot team". They have won 1 game after dropping their previous 2, and one of those was to the Cards.
Call this one a gut play because the season to date stats would put us on the Pats here. But the feeling here is, the Eagles are still a talented team and have been in every game this year. The Pats are always going to vulnerable defensively this year and as long as that hold true, a team like the Eagles will always have a very good chance at a win. We'll back the desperate home dog here. Eagles +3
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