The Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots in the season opener and the Week 1 NFL lines make me feel like I am being “Punk’d” like a guest on the old MTV show. Despite an underwhelming offseason, the Patriots are just four-point underdogs against the defending NFC champs, per the BetUS NFL point spreads.
In other words, Vegas is saying that the absence of former Pats offensive coordinator Matt Patricia is worth a lot of points in the NFL odds. The over-under is set at 44½ points in the Vegas NFL odds.
Even if you are unsure that the Eagles will be able to experience the same sort of success in 2023 as the team did one season ago, there is little comparison between the Philly and New England rosters.
Jalen Hurts has now had an entire year of the Eagles placing full confidence in him as the team’s QB1. Philadelphia’s top offensive weapons of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert all return. All signs point to the Eagles upgrading their rushing attack by trading for D’Andre Swift and signing Rashaad Penny while letting Miles Sanders walk in free agency.
The world is sleeping on what D’Andre Swift is bringing to the Eagles. pic.twitter.com/KWQkw1tcJT
— Way Outside The Nest Podcast (@outsidethenest_) September 1, 2023
Eagles Defense Has Become Georgia North
The bigger story is how an already strong Eagles defense got even better this offseason. Essentially, the Georgia Bulldogs have become the minor league development team for Philadelphia’s defense. The Eagles selected former Georgia standouts Jalen Carter and Nolan Smith in the first round and followed it up with cornerback Kelee Ringo in the fourth round.
Carter is of particular note as the defensive tackle was once in the running to be the No. 1 pick before off-field woes dropped the star to No. 9. The three rookies join fellow former Bulldogs JordanDavis and Nakobe Dean, who were already on the Philly roster.
The Eagles now have an embarrassment of riches of pass rushers, which is bad news this week for Mac Jones. New England already has questions about its offensive line making late trades to try to shore up depth at the shaky position group heading into Week 1.
Patriots Going All-In on Mac Jones But Should They?
New England appeared to make a statement by releasing quarterbacks Bailey Zappe and Malik Cunningham, making it clear this is Jones’ team. The Patriots later re-signed Zappe and Cunningham, but the message was clear that Jones’ role as QB1 is not in danger.
Throughout the offseason, New England has doubled down on its commitment to Jones by avoiding making any significant quarterback moves. The Pats are hoping that Patricia’s absence alone an the addition of offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien should help Jones make improvements in 2023.
Yet, it is fair to wonder if Jones’ ceiling allows for New England to ever be much more than a potential Wild Card team in the postseason. If the Pats’ offensive line play does not improve, it will not matter who is New England’s quarterback.
Take Eagles to Cover vs Patriots
The Eagles are the better team, and the Patriots hosting the Week 1 matchup in early September is not enough to scare me away from the four points. I’m feeling the Eagles more than Bradley Cooper’s character in “Silver Linings Playbook.”
— TixBangBoom (@TixBangBoom) February 27, 2013
There is enough confidence in Philadelphia handling New England that I would also look at some of the adjusted lines that provide more of a payout if the Eagles win by a larger margin.
Fly Eagles Fly.