In 2019 the New England Patriots will have limited travel thanks to competition against the NFC East.
There’s been a lot of drama in that division during the offseason from the seemingly never-ending Ezekiel Elliott saga to the quarterback situation in New York. It will also be the first time the Patriots play the Philadelphia Eagles for the first time since Super Bowl LII.
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With the NFC East set to be a balanced division, how will New England fare?
This is the third installment in a running series.
Stay tuned tomorrow for analysis on the Texans and Chiefs.
Away: October 6, 1 p.m. (Week 5)
The Redskins boast a different look on offense this season with the return of Derrius Guice to form a two-headed monster in the backfield with Adrian Peterson. Case Keenum has been named the starting quarterback, but that could change by the fifth week of the season if Dwayne Haskins earns his stripes.
Tight end is the deepest position with Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis both adding a mix of experience and strong run blocking. But aside from them and slot receiver Trey Quinn, there’s not a lot of strong receivers Washington can rely on.
Washington’s secondary is loaded with Josh Norman, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Landon Collins. The trio will make it difficult for opposing quarterbacks to launch a passing offense.
OUTLOOK: If the Patriots can stop the running game and establish one of theirs on offense, they should be able to come away with a road win.
Prediction: The Patriots struggle early but find a way late to pull away.
New York Giants
Home: October 10, 8:20 p.m. (Week 6)
A short turnaround for Thursday Night Football is never easy, and it will be even harder this season against the Giants. New York has the most athletic player in football with Saquon Barkley. Eli Manning still has the reigns at quarterback for now but Daniel Jones is making a push for the starting job. He’ll have the likes of Sterling Shepard, Cody Latimer, and Bennie Fowler as receivers.
The Giants have even built a sneakily strong defense with Jabrill Peppers and Janoris Jenkins headlining the secondary and rookie defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence anchoring the line. At linebacker, Alec Ogletree and Lorenzo Carter will help in the pass rush.
OUTLOOK: The Giants and Patriots always play competitive, close games. The last time they met, New England needed a last-second field goal to win. And in 2011, the Giants beat New England at Gillette and in the Super Bowl.
Prediction: On paper, the Patriots win. But on the field, it won’t be an easy game. Still New England should take this one.
Away: November 17, 4:25 p.m. (Week 11)
New England has an extra week to prepare for the Eagles, but will it be enough? Philadelphia quarterback Carson Wentz is finally healthy and he’s got quite the arsenal at his disposal. Receivers Alshon Jeffery, DeSean Jackson, and Nelson Agholor along with tight ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert will be catching the passes. Out of the backfield, Jordan Howard will see the bulk of the carries with Darren Sproles and Corey Clement providing a dual-threat.
The defense is banged up already to start the year with six starters questionable for the season opener. While there’s time to get healthy, there’s also time for more injuries to pile up. But when healthy, the front seven is impressive with the likes of Fletcher Cox, Nigel Bradham, Brandon Graham, and Kamu Grugier-Hill to name of few.
OUTLOOK: Health is the big question mark for the Eagles this season. But against a healthy Eagles’ starting lineup in preseason last year, the Patriots starters looked fairly impressive. Tough to gauge the matchup on this sample size but still encouraging.
Prediction: The Patriots are traditionally good coming off the bye week and should be fine again this year with a revenge victory at Philadelphia.
Home: November 24, 4:25 p.m. (Week 12)
This is the most expensive Patriots’ home game of the season believe it or not. The Cowboys make a rare trip to New England with tough players on both sides of the ball. Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott are about the best dual-threat QB-RB combo in the NFL. Amari Cooper, Randall Cobb, Tavon Austin, and Jason Witten are the main receiving threats.
On defense. Demarcus Lawrence and Leighton Vander Esch are two of the best at their craft and will make establishing a run game difficult for the Patriots. Vander Esch’s speed over the middle as well will take tight ends out of the game as well.
OUTLOOK: The Patriots could have a field day in the passing game with a Dallas secondary lacking much of a punch. But stopping the ground game and guarding Cooper will be a tall task for the New England defense.
Prediction: While Dallas hangs around for a while, the Patriots eventually ware down the Cowboys.