Week 2 of this year’s NFL Preseason wraps up on Monday night when the Philadelphia Eagles invade Gillette Stadium in Foxboro to square off against the New England Patriots in a clash of two Super Bowl contenders. Monday night’s contest is slated to get underway at 8 p.m. (EST) and it will be broadcast nationally on ESPN. This is part of our weekly series where we will look at the Eagles games each week of the season and offer free NFL picks using Doc’s Unit Betting System.
Betting Lines by 5Dimes
Point spread: New England -2.5
Total Line: 40.5
Game Overview: Philadelphia
Philadelphia squeaked by Pittsburgh, 24-23, as a one-point home favorite last Thursday night on the strength of three second-half touchdown passes and a last-second field goal, but overall the Eagles hardly looked like a team that is ready to legitimately compete for a championship this season.
The sudden death of Head Coach Andy Reid’s 29-year-old son just four days before this game had to have had an impact on his team’s performance. However, as he works through his grief, Reid fully understands the importance of Monday night’s game. It will serve as the first-team offense’s only real opportunity to execute the game plan before the start of the regular season. The Eagles play Cleveland next Friday, which just so happens to be the same team they open the regular season against. Therefore they will keep things very vanilla against the Browns. The final preseason game against the Jets will be primarily used for evaluating talent to fill out the roster.
This should mean that the majority of the starters will play into the third quarter, which gives the Eagles a distinct advantage given that it is doubtful that New England will follow suit. Michael Vick threw for just six yards against the Steelers before leaving the game with a bruised hand, but he was back at practice this week and is expected to start on Monday night. Also, look for rookie quarterback Nick Foles to get the rest of the snaps after Vick’s backup Mike Kafka fractured his non-throwing hand this week. This should also work in the Eagles’ favor considering he went 6-for-10 for 144 yards and two touchdowns against the Steelers’ backups. Another performance like that would probably start a quarterback controversy for the No. 2 spot among the fickle Philly media and fans.
Game Overview: New England
This is another team that cannot be happy with its initial performance in the preseason after stumbling to 7-6 victory over New Orleans as four-point home favorites. New England’s first-team offense sputtered in limited action, as Tom Brady went 4-for-7 for 30 yards but was sacked once and coughed up a fumble after getting by Saints’ defensive end Will Smith. The one positive take away from this game was the play of the Patriots’ first-team defense, which made life miserable for Drew Brees as well.
Moving to this game, look for Patriots head Coach Bill Belichick to give his starters just enough time to work through the rust that obviously remains. A couple of solid series will mean the end of the night for Brady, as health remains the primary concern for a team that is focused solely at getting back to the Super Bowl.
The defensive starters will probably see more playing time, but they will be on the sidelines for the start of the second half. New England already lost linebacker Dane Fletcher for the season with a torn ACL and will be more than happy to let the guys that are still trying to make the team play as much as possible. Belichick’s motivation is not to win this game, but to survive it with all his players’ health intact.
Both teams realize this game is an excellent opportunity to find out how close to regular-season form they actually are, but the clear advantage goes to Philadelphia. It will basically flip-flop Games 2 and 3 of the preseason to try and put its best foot forward on Monday night. Expect New England’s starters to win the early battle, but in the end the Eagles win the war. Stick with a one-unit wager utilizing Doc’s Sports Unit Betting System on Philadelphia for Monday night.
Pick: #431 Take Philadelphia +2.5 over New England for 1 Unit
Season Results: -1 Unit, -$110
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