Eagles at Patriots Preview: How The Eagles Get A Win

After losing their first game of the season the Patriots welcome the slumping Philadelphia Eagles to town in Week 13.

On paper, this should be an easy win for the Pats, as the Eagles look like a team that has given up on the season and possible their head coach.

Over the last few seasons the Eagles have seen their roster go through a big transition offensively.

Nick Foles was swapped for Sam Bradford, LeSean McCoy for DeMarco Murray, and Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson for Jordan Matthews and Nelson Agholor.

The Eagles downward trend didn’t start in 2015, however. Since Week 14 of last season, the Eagles are just 5-10, compared to 19-9 in Chip Kelly’s first 28 games in Philly.

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The problems have been exacerbated over the last two weeks. The Eagles were outscored by the Buccaneers and Lions by a score of 90-31 in Weeks 11 and 12.

They gave up 45 points to each, including five touchdown passes to both Jameis Winston and Matthew Stafford. By far the worst two-game stretch in the Chip Kelly era.

Having said that, here are some ways that the Eagles can get a win in Foxboro:

On Offense

Run, Run, Run the football:  The main difference between the 2015 Eagles and the 2013-2014 Eagles is an effective rushing attack. From 2013-2014, only the Seattle Seahawks averaged more yards on the ground per game than the Eagles (142.4 YPG for Philly). Despite having one of the best rushing attacks in the NFL, the Eagles traded lead back LeSean McCoy to Buffalo, and replaced him with last years leading rusher DeMarco Murray. It hasn’t been a smooth transition for Philly or DeMarco, as the Eagles rushing average dropped from its 2013-2014 total to 114.5 rush YPG this season.

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If Chip Kelly wants to keep his team in the game, and his defense off the field against Tom Brady, Murray and the rushing attack has to be the point of emphasis on offense. The Patriots were playing without their top two linebackers in the 2nd half last Sunday night, but gave up a season-high 179 rush yards and 3 TDs to Denver. The Patriots run defense improved greatly from the start of the season prior to the injuries, in fact they were 2nd in the NFL in rush defense prior to the Broncos game. However, at times the Patriots have given up easy yardage on the ground, and that’s what the Eagles will have to count on.

On Defense

Dominate In The Trenches: The strength of this Eagles defense is most definitely their defensive line. The secondary has struggled mightily all season to stop opponents through the air, but until the last month or so they have been very stout up front. When the Eagles don’t rush the passer, it leaves that shaky secondary out to dry on the back end. The Eagles mustered just three QB hits on 40 Matthew Stafford drop backs in Week 12 (2 sacks). The Lions ability to protect Stafford gave him all day to allow his receivers to uncover down field. If the Eagles defense has any shot of slowing down Tom Brady they will have to get their pass rush going. The main man to worry about for the Patriots along the Eagles d-line is Fletcher Cox. The 2012 first round pick has developed into one of the league’s premier defensive lineman. Cox has the entire package, with the ability to stop the run and great pass rushing skills. Cox can dominate a game defensively, and will need to have one of his best performances of the season on Sunday.