The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles kick off the official second week of NFL preseason action on Thursday night in a clash between two Northeastern foes. New England won its opener, 22-13 over the Washington Football Team, while the Eagles fell, 24-16, to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Thursday’s tilt is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30 p.m. EST inside Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. The Patriots are a 1.5-point road favorites, while the over/under scoring total is at 39.
What to Know – New England Patriots
In the second half of the preseason opener, the New England Patriots outscored Washington, 16-6, to come away with the victory last Thursday night in Foxboro. The Patriots have a lot of question marks on offense this year, but New England fans should be satisfied with the early results.
Projected starting quarterback Cam Newton saw some action in the opener, but rookie quarterback Mac Jones saw the bulk of the snaps. The former Alabama Crimson Tide star completed 13-of-19 passes for 87 yards and looked solid in his debut against a stout defense. Jones should again see a majority of snaps under center for the Patriots against the Eagles.
Another rookie, running back Rhamondre Stevenson, stole the show with ten carries for 127 yards and two touchdowns. The 6’0, 227-pound fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma did much of his damage on the ground with a 91-yard touchdown run near the end of the fourth quarter.
Expect more of the same from the Patriots in week two, utilizing a strong ground game to open up the passing attack for the quarterbacks. A lot of reserves logged significant time on defense in week one, and the starters should gradually dial up the playing time beginning this week.
What to Know – Philadelphia Eagles
The Philadelphia Eagles took a 16-7 halftime lead into their preseason opener against the Steelers only to see it evaporate in the second half after being outscored 17-0 in the second stanza. Philadelphia attempts to rebound in game two in their second-straight home game of the preseason.
Philadelphia backup quarterback Joe Flacco spent most of week one under center, firing 10-of-17 passes for 178 yards and one touchdown. The Eagles’ projected starter Jalen Hurts, started the game and played the first two series, completing 3-of-7 passes for 54 yards. Expect Hurts to log a few more series Thursday night against the Patriots.
The Eagles’ offense had the ball for just 18 minutes and 42 seconds of the contest, completing just 42 plays to the Steelers’ 80. Philadelphia turned the ball over twice and got only ten first downs. They’ll need to step it up offensively against a tough Patriots defense if they want a chance to come out with a win.
The Pick is In
Flacco is a two-time Super Bowl champion with significant NFL experience, and that usually is a receipt for success in preseason contests. That was not the case last week, as the Eagles were unable to get much going offensively.
Mac Jones looked poised in his NFL debut and should give the Patriots confidence in opening the playbook as the preseason progresses. Pittsburgh rushed for 152 yards against the Eagles, so the Patriots’ backfield will be licking their chops.
The Pick is In: New England Patriots -1.5