Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots Free Pick- 8/9/13

Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots Free Pick- 8/9/13
2013-08-09 06:30:00 EDT

The Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots face off on Friday in Philadelphia as both teams kick off their 2013 NFL preseasons.

The Philadelphia Eagles figure to be one of the more interesting teams to watch this season as Chip Kelly and his up-tempo offense start their first year. Kelly has several QB’s to chose from with incumbent Michael Vick, Nick Foles, Matt Barkley, and ex-Oregon QB Dennis Dixon. LeSean McCoy is one of the best running backs in the NFL, but Bryce Bitemn showed flashes of briliance last season and Felix Jones was brought in along with Chris Polk. At wide receiver with Jeremy Maclin out and Riley Cooper on “leave’, the Eagles are still stacked with DeSean Jackson, Jason Avant and two interesting players who could be stars in Arrelious Benn and Damaris Johnson and others who can play like Greg Salas and B.J. Cunningham. Brent Celek is a dependable tight end and Zach Ertz and Clay Harbor will compete for time.

Defensivey, the Eagles run a 3-4 so up front it is Fletcher Cox and Clifton Geathers at the ends and Isaac Sponga on the nose with Vinny Curry, Damion Square, Antonio Dixon and others all looking to get in on the action. Trent Cole, Connor Barwin, Demeco Ryans, and Mychal Kendricks make up the starting linebackers for Philadelphia, while Casey Mathews, Emmanuel Acho, and Jjamar Chaney are among the large group competing for a spot. In the Eagles secondary, Kenny Phillips and Patrick Chung enter the fold at safety and Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher are the corners, but look for Trevard Lindley, Brandon Boykin, and Earl Wolff to lead the youth movement.

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The New England Patriots goal this season, like every season, is to win the Super Bowl, but they may not have the guns to get there. Tom Brady is still among the top in the NFL at QB and Ryan Mallett backs him up, but the wildcard here is Tim Tebow who may be used in various spots in the New England offense. Stevan Ridley still has a lot to prove at running back and Shane Vereen and LeGarrette Blount will surely be pushing him for playing time. The reciving group may be the worst Brady has had to work with as Danny Amendola and Mike Jenkins are hardly inspirational targets. Names like Julian Edelman, Aaron Dobson, and Kamar Aiken just aren’t going to keep defensive coordinators up all night. Rob Gronkowski is the top tight end in the NFL when he is healthy, but that is less and less often so Jake Ballard and Daniel Fells will be called upon to contribute more.

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On defense, it’s tough to be much better in the middle of the defensive line than the Patriots with Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly, while Rob Ninkovich and Chandler Jones round out the line and Jermaine Cunningham is the primary backup. Jerod Mayo is a tackling machine at linebacker and Brandon Spikes and Dont’a Hightower have injected youth into the unit, while Jamie Collins, Mike Rivera, and Dane Fletcher provide the depth. Aqib Talib and Alfonzo Dennard are the corners and Steven Gregory and Devin McCourty are the safeties, but the pats also have names like Adrian Wilson and Kyle Arrington waiting in the wings.

This one all comes down to if the coaches want to win or not and it is way more important for Chip Kelly in his first NFL game to make a positive impression o the home citemd than the Pats who are basically the same system we have been watching for a decade. Look for Kelly’s enthusiastic bunch to take this one.

Mitch Wilson's Free Pick:
Philadelphia Eagles -3
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Mitch Wilson

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