ITB: Can Pats Coaching Compensate For NE's Disadvantages?
The defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles will open the 2023 season facing off against an always well-coached New England Patriots team.
On the latest episode of “Inside The Birds,” Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher detailed the key matchups to watch and provided a score prediction for Week 1.
Eagles Running Backs
Adam Caplan: “I would be absolutely flabbergasted if the backs don’t come out catching the football. You don’t make a trade for D’Andre Swift to make him just a runner…(Brian) Johnson doesn’t have a workload as a playcaller in the National Football League, but you can expect that is going to happen with these backs, especially with Swift and (Kenny) Gainwell…if Swift plays a minimum of 14 games, he will make a minimum of 50 catches. This guy is incredible catching the football, he is so smooth.”
Geoff Mosher: “I went back and looked at how many running back targets the Eagles had last year in the passing game, it was 59 or 60. You can argue they have two-times as many reasons to throw the ball because you have a guy like Swift.”
Mosher: “The Patriots always have a well-disciplined, playmaking backend of their defense. Bill Belichick always develops corners and safeties really well, he plays lots of corners and safeties. I have always thought that has helped their pass rushers…Jalen Hurts has to read what the Patriots are trying to do on the backed because that is where it starts with a Belichick defense.”
Caplan: “They just don’t have any playing experience. You have Trent Brown, the Patriots got his weight down to a manageable level. Calvin Anderson is starting for right tackle Riley Reiff. The Eagles have a really decided advantage here.”
Caplan: “This offense is the Ron Erhardt offense. The old Erhardt offense was strictly two tight ends, two receivers, shifts and motions. But O’Brien and Belichick changed it…they went heavy 11 personnel…Mike Gesicki is in there, he is a flex tight end, Hunter Henry can play ‘Y’ and also split out. The Eagles are no longer really good in tight end coverage, so that is one way if I’m O’Brien and Belichick gameplanning, I am going after the Eagles linebackers and safeties.”
Mosher: “I see the temptation to want to do that, but I don’t see the temptation to want to drop back that much when you have a right tackle and right guard issue.”
Final Score Prediction
Caplan: “It is going to be low scoring, it’s the first game of the year. I think it’s a close game. I think the Eagles match up very well against them. I am a little concerned with Haason Reddick playing with a wrap on his hand, we just don’t know how he is going to do with that. Belichick and (Jerod) Mayo will bring something different I’m sure, but I’m still picking the Eagles because they are the better team, I believe in (Nick) Sirianni. They are going to win with an odd score, 22-16.”
Mosher: “I do have some concerns with what the Patriots are going to be able to do through the intermediary air on first down. They are going try to come out in 12 personnel and have the Eagles respond with two off-ball linebackers and then try to throw at Zach Cunningham. But at the end of the day, that is still nickel and diming, I don’t think they are going to have too many big plays. I think scoring points is going to be very difficult for the Patriots because I just don’t think they have enough playmakers against this defense. The Eagles are facing a tough defense, but are so well rounded I think they will be able to put together some pretty good scoring drives and have a good plan. I am picking the Eagles to win 26-16.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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