Three weeks before the NFL season begins anew for 2018, the preseason gives us a chance to look back on last year’s finale. The Patriots and Eagles face off in the second week of full preseason action, with both teams facing question marks on their respective returns to glory.
The Patriots are a four-point favorite on Thursday according to OddsShark.com. More action is coming in for the Eagles, despite the OddsShark computer predicting a decisive victory for New England. The point total is set at 43, with the under a slight betting favorite.
In their preseason openers, the Eagles mustered two touchdowns but were otherwise blown out by the Steelers. The Patriots, on the other hand, erased a 17-0 deficit to rally and defeat the Redskins 26-17 in exhibition action.
For both teams, issues at quarterback loom large over the season. The biggest concern is over Carson Wentz, who is still recovering from last year’s knee surgery. Wentz has yet to face 11-on-11 action, and it is still unknown whether he will be ready to start Week 1 against the Falcons. That game is in exactly three weeks, but Wentz will be evaluated after Thursday’s game and could see an increased workload in the near future.
Tom Brady has been curiously absent with a back injury, though he will play Thursday against Philadelphia. A back issue kept Brady out of the opener, but an increased workload this week was a positive sign. The issue for Brady in the future could be a dearth of talent at wide receiver. The Patriots picked up Eric Decker last week, and the former Titan could make his debut tonight.
Eagles vs. Patriots Prediction
For the preseason, I care about the impact the starters can have on the game. For me, the biggest absence in this game will be the Philadelphia offensive line. They’ll push New England around while they’re out there, but they shouldn’t be on the field for very long.
As far as preseason betting is concerned, I’m ok with throwing money at the Patriots every week. They may not have the most talent, but I put enough trust in Belichick and the coaching staff to put themselves in the best position to win.
That being said, it gets much easier to back New England knowing Tom Brady will make an appearance. In case you forgot, Super Bowl 53 shattered just about every offensive Super Bowl record in existence. These teams haven’t changed much in the offseason, and I expect both teams to be able to score Thursday.
Give me the Patriots against the spread, before I start fading it in the regular season.
Prediction: Patriots 26, Eagles 17