Philadelphia Eagles (4-7 SU, 4-7 ATS) vs. New England Patriots (10-1 SU, 5-4-2 ATS)
NFL Week 13
Date/Time: Saturday, December 6, 2015 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
by Scott, NFL Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PHI +10/NE -10
Over/Under Total: 49.5
The Philadelphia Eagles come into Foxborough to face the New England Patriots on Sunday. The Eagles are in the midst of a rough patch, having last played on Thanksgiving where they were slaughtered by the Detroit Lions, 45-14. Now they have to go off to face New England, who lost their first game of the season on Sunday night in a 30-24 overtime road loss to the Broncos. They will be looking to get back in winning form this week against the struggling Eagles.
The Eagles are not simply struggling; they are in really big trouble. In giving up 90 points in their last two games, they set a franchise record. In the last two games, they have been outscored by a ghastly 59 points. There are other teams in the league struggling and teams who havent been able to make it work, but the Eagles are in a league of their own in the past two weeks. Its one thing to allow the most points in franchise history, but when that record is set against Tampa Bay and Detroit, its time to hit the panic-button.
On Thanksgiving, the Eagles looked like they didnt want to be there. And thats in what appeared to be a winnable game with the division still in play with no one in the NFC East even at .500. And despite that, they showed up looking they were not ready to go. Its a disheartening situation on Philly. Head coach Chip Kelly looks dejected on the sidelines and appears to be alienated from his players. Its been a total failure this season.
Philadelphia looks to get Sam Bradford back in there this week, which does improve their chances, though he has been less than dazzling this season. The changes on offense just havent materialized. The ground game has shown signs of life at points this season, but DeMarco Murray hasnt really fired in 2015. Its a pretty middling offense overall and theyve gone under 20 points in 4 of their last five games. Thats not good when working with a defense that cant get much of anything right.
The Philadelphia defense has allowed 90 points in their last two gamesto a pair of offenses in Detroit and Tampa that possess a fraction of the menace New England brings to the table. They are showing alarmingly low levels of fight left in them and if they hope to make something of the last five games, a big turnaround will be required. The effort just isnt there. The defense seems immune to moments of urgency, unable to will themselves to get key stops or anything in the way of a positive development. Against a Detroit offense still working things out, they gave up 6 consecutive scores on Thanksgiving.
This doesnt set up particularly well for Philly, being that theyre not likely to be catching a New England team sleeping. If the Pats had just won last week, theres a chance they could have been overlooked after looking so awful for the past few weeks. But maybe there is some fight somewhere left in those bones and Kelly was able to use the extra few days of rest to get this team on the right track mentally. Those dubious of that possibility are certainly within good reason. Why would they get it together now?
By the same token, New England could be in some trouble themselves. They are noted for their ability to soldier through personnel issues that would destroy most teams. By the same token, their offense figures to slip with so many weapons being out. They caught a break with the news that Rob Gronkowski will only miss a game or two with what turned out to be a knee strain. But with Gronk out, along with Julian Edelman and Dion Lewis, and Danny Amendola now listed as questionable, their main aerial weapons are all out and its going to require guys like TE Scott Chandler, Brandon LaFell, and others to do the heavy lifting.
Still, one gets the feeling that Brady could make it work with just about anyone. This is a team that has scaled major heights before with nondescript players occupying the skill positions. So one shouldnt expect a collapse. Belichick and Brady always seem to come up with something, despite how badly theyre being bit by the injury bug. But on Sunday, though they managed to get the game to OT against Denver, the current lack of offensive power was fairly evident.
The defense has also been getting hit with injuries, with Jamie Collins having missed three games. LB Donta Hightower is listed as doubtful. But they still have enough menace on that side of the ball to be an effective unit. With 35 sacks, they are rushing the passer with flair, as Chandler Jones is among the league leaders with 10.5 sacks. They get turnovers and come up with big plays, despite not getting the job done in overtime last week.
New England figures to carry a fair amount of urgency into this game. Its remarkable how shot out of a cannon Brady is this season. The Pats are far ahead in the AFC East and there is no let-up. Brady is still fiery and you could tell the late-game officiating had him red as a beet. Through the season, you see him getting on guys, screaming at players and officials. Hes not giving an inch and one should expect him to perform well this week against a dicey Philly defense.
The double-digit point spread in favor of New England is a toughie, either way you go. Almost all NFL teams go through a season with peaks and valleys. With the injuries, maybe these next few weeks will be New Englands valley. But is Philadelphia the team to bring this out? Just when I start making a case for the Eagles, I cant shake the image of them not trying their best last week and coming into Gillette Stadium to face an irritated Pats team seems like a strange spot for that to get better.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the New England Patriots minus 10 points.
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