Pre-Game Thoughts: Patriots at Eagles

Derek Havens
November 26, 2011 at 09:00am ET

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The New England Patriots travel to face the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. The Pats have started their season 7-3, but they have a tough challenge against an NFC East opponent in week 12. The Patriots have a bit of an injury bug, so their depth could be tested. Here are a few thoughts on the upcoming game. -

Bill Belichick and the Patriots face another tough task in Philadelphia this Sunday. (FILE:Icon/SMI)

- Don't expect a lot of defense: In all aspects of this game, I am definitely not expecting to see a ton of great defense. With both team's possessing some of the most potent offense's in the NFL, a defensive game would be surprising. I expect both team's to put up points, but whatever defense plays better could be the deciding factor. One caveat for this game, however, is most of the time when a high scoring shoot out is expected, it rarely lives up to the hype.

- Don’t take your foot off the gas: This game has all the makings of a shoot out, so I do not want the Patriots to relax and play conservative offense. The Eagles have some serious firepower and can put up a lot of points in a short amount of time. New England needs to play their style of smart and disciplined football. Hopefully, if the opportunity presents itself, the Pats can capitalize.

- Running game in focus: The Eagles have a game breaking running back in LeSean McCoy. Andy Reid has never been one to focus on the running game, but McCoy is one of the best tailbacks in the NFL this season and is a true human highlight reel. For more information on McCoy, check out my previous post "Scouting Report: Spotlight on LeSean McCoy."

- Pressuring Vince Young is key: I am going under the assumption Michael Vick will not be able to play with his two broken ribs, which thrusts Vince Young into the starting quarterback role. I would love to the Patriots to continue to generate consistent pressure and force a couple of turnovers. With LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson and the other weapons the Eagles possess in their arsenal, New England's pass rush ability be a huge factor in the game.

With all of these thoughts taken into consideration. I believe the Patriots can win this game, but there are some definite concerns. The Pats are still banged up, but Philadelphia seems to have more issues at the moment. While I believe the Patriots could struggle, I am confident they get the win on the road. My prediction is Patriots – 31,  Eagles – 27.

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