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Patriots vs. Eagles: Pregame Six Pack

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Some pre-game thoughts for the Patriots 4:15 PM game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field:

  • The Patriots haven't allowed a 100 yard rusher since Peyton Hillis in week ten of the 2010 NFL season.  Today's match-up against LeSean McCoy figures to test the Patriots' run defense significantly.  McCoy has already surpassed the 1,000 yard mark on the season and has rushed for 100 yards or more in half of Philadelphia's games this year.
  • I'm intrigued to see how Patriots center Ryan Wendell will perform against Cullen Jenkins and the defensive front of the Philadelphia Eagles.  Center Dan Connolly has been declared out, and Ryan Wendell will be inserted into the starting line-up.  Wendell has performed well in spot duty this season, and held his own in two starts last season.  Perhaps today's game will help determine if the Fresno State product has an opportunity to start in 2012 and beyond.
  • The Patriots aren't the only team with issues in the secondary.  The Philadelphia defensive backfield has struggled all season and now, their best cornerback, Nnamdi Asomugha is a game-time decision with a knee injury.  Domonique Rodgers-Cromartie is also questionable with an ankle injury.
  • Today could be a big opportunity for the likes of Taylor Price and Julian Edelman to prove that they are legitimate receiving options.  Chad Ochocinco has been ruled out of the Eagles game with a hamstring injury, so snaps for the third receiver position look to be up for grabs (second receiver Deion Branch is also questionable).  On the flip side, if one of these players sees a significant share of snaps and fails to produce, it means that it could be time to re-evaluate the personnel at the position.
  • The Eagles are a team that is still very talented and virtually playing for their playoff lives.  That scares me.  This team can get to the quarterback, control the line of scrimmage, and run the ball at will.  Vince Young may not be a great quarterback, but he's proven he can win when it counts.  The Patriots are playing a desperate Eagles team, and they need to be sure to come out of the gates strong.
  • Greg's Prediction: Patriots 27 Eagles 17.  The Patriots are playing a lot better than the Eagles are, and they should be able to handle them despite all of the injuries to their defense.  I'm a bit nervous about the game with New England on a short week, but ultimately, I think the Patriots will be prepared to win in a comfortable victory.