Pats v. Eagles: The Inception Game

Posted: November 25, 2011 by mzyohai in NFL, Opinion, Patriots, Prediction
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Mike: If there was a trap game in the Pats’ remaining schedule, this is it. The turkey-stuffed Pats come into Philly, where the team with the most erratic group of bandwagon fans, has a chance to score back-to-back wins against winning teams. These teams are coming off wildly different games. The Eagles pulled off another upset in New Jersey on Sunday Night reminiscent of last year’s reprise of the Miracle in the Meadowlands. The Patriots choke-slammed the Chiefs last week, after giving the Boston Faithful some trepidations in the first quarter.

Nick: I’m not sure how you define a trap game, but this match-up against the Eagles doesn’t fit my definition (or Admiral Ackbar’s, for that matter). For me, a traditional trap game is when a team overlooks its upcoming game against a weaker team and turns an eye towards a tougher opponent down the road. The Patriots follow this week’s game in Philly with a home game against winless Indianapolis. For all the problems and shortcomings of the Dream Team this year, I hardly think the Pats are looking ahead in preparation for a showdown with Curtis Painter and the Colts. Besides, it’s a hallmark of Belichick’s teams to stay focused on the game at hand and not get caught up in past or future match-ups.

Mike: It’s a trap because I think it’s very possible for the Pats to be thinking playoffs and underestimating the level of desperation in Philly. But I think the Colts game is going to be an emotional one because the Pats will thoroughly enjoy a good beat down of the old thorn-in-the-side. They could look ahead to that as well. But I’ve already told you how I hate side-stories in sports.

What remains to be seen is if the Eagles defense will perform like they did last week against the Giants, who beat the Pats in Week 9. Will Vince Young be able to convert third downs and string together another 18-play drive?

As a Jets fan I’m very happy to say that Asomugha has been a bust for Eagles. But, with the Patriots playing the Eagles, I’m not feeling very confident in this Eagles secondary. Asomugha was carted off the field at practice with a knee injury and Rodgers-Cromartie has a high-ankle sprain and is unlikely to join the fray this Sunday. Even though these corners have been anything but lock-down this season, as they were widely touted, I don’t foresee second-string CBs stopping the Brady-Gronkowski connection.

Nick: I must say that with Thanksgiving still in mind, I’m very thankful for the Eagles recent slate of injuries. Wow, that sounds even more coldhearted than I thought. Let me explain – I’m not glad the Eagles players got hurt, because I don’t wish harm upon other human beings (just Mark Sanchez, Joakim Noah, and a 40-years-younger Archie Manning – go straight to the source and kill two birds named Peyton and Eli with one stone).

No, I am merely thankful that the Patriots will get the opportunity to face a secondary with as many no-name scrubs as their own. Guys like Joselio Hanson (that’s a first name?), Brandon Hughes (as in “Who’s that?”), and rookie Curtis Mash (is he related to the TV show?). Those all sound like perfect names for Brady to pick apart one by one like a hitman.

Mike: But riddle me this. One of the over-hyped advantages the Eagles thought they’d have this season was the ability to use the blitz more freely. It stands to reason that if your #1 and #2 corners can handle any wide receiver singlehandedly, then that frees up safeties and defensive backs to add pressure on a the QB. Yet, the Eagles have allowed a 98.3 passer rating and have only 1 interception when blitzing. I might criticize the Patriots’ defense, but that stat line is ABYSMAL for even peewee leagues. If the Eagles allow Brady a passer rating of 98.3, there will be a beat-down in Philly this week. Maybe having the star-names out will give Philly an opportunity to re-think their defensive schemes and actually mount some sort of pressure this week.

Nick: If the Eagles do decide to dial up some of those ineffective blitz packages, I’ll be like a kid on Christmas (that means I’m really excited, to translate from Christian-talk to Jew-speak). Untested cornerbacks on islands against Wes Welker and Gronk, with Brady throwing them the ball? That’s like Kevin Bacon in Animal House saying, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” In the example you have just viewed, the Eagles are Bacon (mmm, bacon), Welker and Gronk are the paddle, and Brady is the hooded guy doling out punishment with a cruel smirk on his face.

Mike: Wow, your analysis there was really… insightful. Please inform me of more Christian traditions that have nothing to do with football.

Nick: Getting drunk. Oh wait, that has EVERYTHING to do with football.

Mike: I’m converting. Somebody splash some holy water on me — drinking is already my religion. But the Vince Young offense was more than impressive last week. But they only scored 17 points. Brady can easily outscore a team that only puts up 17, but will the Patriots defense be able to hold the Eagles like they held Tyler Palko?

Nick: I’m not so confident in the defense’s ability to contain the Eagles this week. Philly is a hyper-athletic offense built on speed that can explode for a big play at any time. That’s pretty much the worst match-up ever for the Patriots. Luckily for the Pats, the other potent weapons are crippled or out for the Eagles high-flying offense (do I get a prize for being the 1,000,000th person to write that?). Jeremy Maclin still isn’t close to 100% with shoulder and hamstring injuries. DeSean Jackson has a hurt foot that limited him in practice this week. Michael Vick hasn’t practiced and is unlikely to play.

Which brings me to Vince Young, Tim Tebow’s black predecessor.

Mike: Jesus was black?

Nick: No way. All people from Bethlehem at that time were pale skinned, blue eyed, and had straight light-brown hair with faint highlights. It’s a fact.

But I meant my comparison more in the sense that he’s a big, bruising, mobile quarterback who can’t seem to throw the ball with any semblance of accuracy, yet still somehow manages to win games. I think the Eagles will be able to move the ball against the Patriots (I also think the sun will set in the west tonight). But I also think Young will make some poor decisions.

Mike: You think he’ll end up on Sixteen and Pregnant?

Nick: Stop watching that show. Especially when I’m in the apartment. His bad decisions won’t surpass Mark Sanchez’s creepy underage girlfriend, but those decisions will likely hand the ball over to Brady via the art of the interception (a la Palko). Young threw three picks last week against the Giants, why should he stop now?

Unfortunately, LeSean McCoy will still play, and he has been an absolute monster this year (not much of a compliment when you think about it). He is already over 1,000 yards rushing on the season (the only one to do so thus far, meaning he’s the league leader in rushing). He’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry. He also has 12 total touchdowns (10 rushing, 2 receiving) and nearly 200 yards receiving to boot.

Mike: He’s also scored in every game this year. That’s a nice ace to have in your pocket if you’re the Eagles.

Nick: I can barely type my lower lip is quivering so much with fear. Will the Patriots front seven slow McCoy down so he produces numbers more like his namesake Colt? Or to ask more accurately, can they?

Mike: Well, I’m not ready to say that the Eagles win over the Giants is merely a product of their traditional second-half collapse. The Eagles played with desperation against a divisional rival (their stadiums are barely over an hour away from each other by car). Desperation with raw talent can be an impressive mixture. But looking at the Patriots’ losses this year, their opponents were not young, talented, and reckless. Instead they were veteran teams that were well coached. So I think to out-coach the man in cut-off sleeves, the Andy Reid is going to have to commit to the run. The Pats have the 6th highest yards allowed per rush. Exploit that, and the Eagles might have a chance.

Yet again, I don’t think I needed to go through this much analysis to remind myself that the Eagles lost to the Arizona Cardinals. Final Score: Patriots 27, Eagles 21.

Nick: I’m glad you brought up Reid. That overweight man is a two-minute drill disaster waiting to happen. Between his misuse of timeouts and his inane play calls in the red zone that always have his team kicking field goals from the 15, his in-game coaching is a detriment to that team. When all is said and done and I go down to the third level of the Dream Team, I inceptionize a Patriots win.

Final score: Patriots 30, Eagles 20

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