The Eagles have a big matchup with the Patriots this Sunday, and to get ready for it, I was able to ask Jamie Pacheco of MusketFire.com a series of questions regarding the game.
Jamie gives us some thoughts on Andy Reid and the “Dream Team” and weighs in on both Michael Vick and Vince Young. He also takes a closer look at some of the on the field matchups and identifies who he think could be an x-factor for the Patriots.
In the end, he gives us a very tight score prediction so make sure to check out who he believes will come out on top! Also, check out the questions I answered for Jamie by clicking here.
BirdsFan: Andy Reid is taking a lot of heat after assembling the “Dream Team” but failing to put together a very impressive season so far. What are your thoughts about Andy Reid as a head coach?
MusketFire: I think Andy Reid is one of the better coaches in the NFL. The Eagles likely would have been better served personnel-wise staying mostly with the status quo instead of trying to collect talent in a year they wouldn’t have time to practice with each other in mini-camps. I would give him another year with this roster, assuming it remains somewhat stable. The Redskins learned that you can’t collect talent and also have a “team.”
BF: Michael Vick has struggled a lot this year and Vince Young struggled as well but found a way to win, which he seems to have a knack for. Which quarterback would you rather face and why?
MF: I’d rather face Vince Young if I’m the Patriots. While he is a threat to run, he doesn’t have the big ability of Michael Vick. He’s also not as accurate as Vick can be, which is helpful considering the state of the Patriots’ secondary.
BF: Tom Brady has had a few games this season where he’s thrown multiple interceptions. What have defenses done successfully to force Brady into turning the ball over?
MF: I think those interceptions are more on Brady than they are the opposing defenses. He would never say this publicly, but I feel that he’s trying to make something happen and force the ball because he doesn’t trust the defense. I think he feels that he needs to put up as many points as possible in order for the team to have a chance to win. Former Patriot Rodney Harrison has echoed that sentiment in some interviews.
BF: After bringing in Nnamdi Asomugha, there has been a lot of question surrounding how the Eagles have used him. How would you use Asomugha against the Patriots offense?
MF: I’m not sure how comfortable Asomugha is in the slot, but if he could play there I’d have him shadow Wes Welker the entire game. If he’s going to remain on the outside receivers, he’s not going to be much of a factor because the Patriots utilize the slot receiver and tight ends so much.
BF: On Sunday, where will the Patriots have an advantage on offense? On defense?
MF: The Pats have an advantage on offense with their tight ends and Wes Welker. I don’t think that the Eagles have anybody on defense that matches up well against tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez. Look for Brady to find them early and often. On defense, the Patriots have an advantage on the defensive line against the Eagles’ offensive line. The problem is that the Pats’ d-linemen are big and not made for chasing mobile quarterbacks around, so I’m not sure it’s going to help them much against Michael Vick or Vince Young.
BF: Where will the Eagles have an advantage on offense? On defense?
MF: On offense, the Eagles have a huge advantage with their passing game. The Pats will have to commit somebody to spy on Vick or Young, which leaves the secondary more vulnerable to the pass. I don’t think the Pats have anybody that can cover DeSean Jackson, so he provides a big mismatch for the Eagles to exploit. On defense, the Eagles’ pass rush should be able to get pressure on Tom Brady. The offensive line has struggled giving Brady time early in games and with Matt Light’s status uncertain, that could exacerbate the situation. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Jason Babin to get a couple of sacks.
BF: What player could be a potential x-factor for the Patriots on Sunday?
MF: Rookie RB Shane Vereen got his first carries of the season Monday night and looked quick with the ball in his hands. The Patriots may try to incorporate him more into the gameplan, which serves duel purposes. Vereen gives the Pats a potential big-play threat on offense and can help establish a running game, keeping the Pats’ defense off the field by eating up the clock.
BF: Give me a score prediction.
MF: Pats pull out a narrow victory at the end and win 31-30.