The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles continue their 2021 preseason schedules when they meet up for a rematch of Super Bowl LII. The Eagles won that game 41-33 in 2018, but there will be no Tom Brady or Nick Foles in this contest. The Pats’ are slight -1.5 road favorites for Thursday night’s contest.
Patriots Off to Solid Preseason
Bill Belichick likes to get the winning mindset established early for his teams, going 3-1 in three of the last four preseasons. That victory mentality continued to show last week when New England scratched out a 22-13 week 1 win over Washington.
Cam Newton actually took some snaps in the preseason opener, completing 4 of 7 passes for 49 yards but failing to lead the Patriots on a TD scoring drive. Rookie Mac Jones out of Alabama got a bulk of the work going 13/19 for 87 yards, but also couldn’t lead New England into the end zone. The Patriots led just 9-7 going into the 4th quarter.
One player who really took advantage of his time on the field was Rhamondre Stevenson, the 4th round pick out of Oklahoma that ran the ball 10 times for 127 yards. A bulk of that was on a 91 yard TD with just over a minute left, but Stevenson will be a threat against the Eagles defense late in Thursday’s game.
Can Eagles Find Their Offense?
Philadelphia did not get off on the winning track last week, falling 24-16 to the Steelers in one of just a handful of games that went ‘over’ the betting total. The Steelers ran for 152 yards and threw for another 258, which does raise some concerns for the Eagles defense on Thursday night.
Jalen Hurts gets his first-ever preseason after the 2020 exhibition was canceled, going 3 for 7 for 54 yards. Hurts just missed on what could have easily been a 98 yard TD pass and also had two balls dropped which would have improved on his numbers. Philly has some experience at the backup QB position, as Joe Flacco came in and went 10/17 and threw a 79 yard TD pass at the end of the 1st quarter.
Philadelphia ran the ball just 11 times in their preseason opener, although they were at a bit of a disadvantage as the Steelers already had a game under their belt playing in the hall of fame game. #10 draft pick DeVonta Smith did not play against Pittsburgh (knee) and may sit again vs. New England.
Which former Alabama QB will have the better night? Hurts was just a little off from having a very productive night, while Mac Jones showed some obvious nerves while relying on check downs in his NFL debut last week. It sounds crazy, but Joe Flacco may be the difference in this one, up against the Patriots backups.
Eagles 17 – Patriots 13