Know Your Enemy: Will the Patriots give the Eagles a run for their money in week 1?

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The Eagles are set to take on the Patriots at 4:24 ET today. While the matchup may seem to favor Philadelphia, the Patriots are still coached by one of the greatest coaches in the history of the sport. New England has chosen for this game to be the one where they honor Tom Brady which could be a plot to help motivate the current team and change their direction.

FILE – New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gestures during a promotional event, June 22, 2017, in Tokyo. Brady is putting on a Delta Air Lines uniform, at least figuratively. Delta said Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2023, that it has agreed to bring the former star quarterback on board as a long-term strategic adviser. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko, File)

Philadelphia on the other hand is motivated by something greater, another trip to the Super Bowl. After suffering a defeat at the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs, the Eagles retooled their roster and have infused it with some interesting pieces. Among these pieces are Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith, both of whom were selected in the first round and could provide a true spark to an already dominant defensive line.

Let’s take a look at the matchup at hand for the Eagles, Who are the 2023 New England Patriots?

Patriots Coaching Staff

Head Coach: Bill Belichick

Offensive Coordinator: Bill O’Brien

Defensive Coordinator: Steve Belichick (does not have the official title but calls the defensive plays)

The Eagles hold a 7-6 all-time regular season record against the Patriots but have lost four of their last five regular season matchups against New England. The Eagles have not won a regular season game against the Patriots since 2015.

Patriots Offense:

CINCINNATI, OH – DECEMBER 21: Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (19) warms up before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals on December 21, 2020, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH. (Photo by Ian Johnson/Icon Sportswire)

It may be a make-or-break year for Mac Jones but that isn’t entirely his fault. The Patriots never prepared for life after Tom Brady and they are currently feeling the residual effects of it. Jones is a bit of an unbalanced QB that could lose his spot at the snap of a finger.

The Patriots did add some offensive firepower this season for Jones in Juju Smith-Schuster, Mike Gesicki, and Ezekiel Elliott but is that enough? Apparently, Juju’s knee is a ticking time bomb and no one knows what Zeke has left in the tank. Then there’s Mike Gesicki who has the talent to be a good TE but has yet to be properly utilized.

Patriots Defense:

Eagles vs ravens devonta smith nfl preseason
PHILADELPHIA, PA – AUGUST 19: Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith (6) runs a route in the first half during the game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles on August 19, 2021 at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Patriots have always had a good defense under Bill Belichick. They’re consistent year in and year out but what do they have to offer against this Eagles offense? They will be missing one of their top CBs in Jack Jones for week 1 which isn’t something that you want to hear when facing DeVonta Smith AND A.J. Brown. The Patriots can still be a threat though. They invested in their defense in this draft by selecting CB Christian Gonzalez, DE Keion White, and LB/S Marte Mapu.

While the defense will have its growing pains this season, you still can’t underestimate them when their head coach is a bonafide first-ballot Hall of Famer and quite possibly the greatest coach of all time.

X-factor: Rhamondre Stevenson/Ezekiel Elliott

FILE – Dallas Cowboys running back Ezekiel Elliott (21) looks for running room as he rushes with the ball during an NFL wild-card football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Jan. 16, 2023, in Tampa, Fla. A person familiar with the terms tells The Associated Press that three-time Pro Bowl running back Elliott has signed a one-year deal with the New England Patriots worth $4 million. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the move. (AP Photo/Peter Joneleit, File)

Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliot could cause a headache for the Eagles’ defense if the team is unable to stop the run. Containing that dynamic of the Patriots offense is key to the Eagles fluttering Mac Jones. If the Pats can establish the run game early on then it could be a long day for the Eagles defense.

Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire