The Patriots have an absolutely epic weekend coming up. Not only are they kicking off their 2023 season at home against the defending NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles, but Tom Brady is also coming back for a special ceremony now that he’s officially retired.
While the Brady stuff is cool and exciting, most Pats fans are wondering how the actual game will go. The Eagles are a better team in virtually all areas, after all, which is why Philadelphia is favored despite being on the road.
Will the Patriots be able to pull off the upset (or at least keep things close)? Or will the Eagles dominate from start to finish?
Here’s how we see this game playing out.
Patriots vs. Eagles Week 1 Predictions: Quarter by Quarter
With both teams possessing elite defenses and strong running games, we expect this game to start slow.
That’s especially true for the Patriots, who struggled mightily on offense in the first quarter last year. Granted, that was with Matt Patricia and Joe Judge calling the plays, but this will be the team’s first real quarter of action under new OC Bill O’Brien. New England’s first drive or two will likely stall out as the team searches for its offensive rhythm.
The Eagles will still be searching for their mojo too, of course. They have a new offensive coordinator as well and didn’t give their starters many reps during the preseason, so there will be some rust to shake off.
Don’t be surprised if both offenses look a bit out of sync early on, but we expect Philly to score first, likely with a field goal thanks to New England’s bend-don’t-break defense.
First-quarter score: 3-0 Eagles
Score through one: 3-0 Eagles
After settling into the game, both offenses should start to pick up the pace in the second quarter.
For New England, that should mean more passes from Mac Jones after what will likely be a run-heavy first quarter. Rhamondre Stevenson and Ezekiel Elliott will probably dominate touches early on, but Jones should be able to air it out more as the game progresses, especially if the Patriots fall behind early.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia starts to find its footing as well after a relatively quiet first quarter. Someone on the Eagles — likely A.J. Brown or DeVonta Smith — breaks loose for a big play and finds the end zone for the first TD of the game.
As expected, Philly takes a lead into halftime, although the game is still close.
Second-quarter score: 7-3 Eagles
Halftime score: 10-3 Eagles
The third quarter is when things will start to get interesting.
With the crowd still buzzing from Brady’s halftime ceremony, New England will come out firing in the second half. Bill Belichick is the master of halftime adjustments, after all.
The Eagles will fire back, however, after sniffing out some cracks in the Patriots’ defense. New England’s defense won’t be able to keep Philly’s playmakers quiet forever, and we should finally start to see some fireworks in this quarter.
Third-quarter score: 10-7 Patriots
Score through three: 17-13 Eagles
Both offenses keep firing in the fourth quarter, looking to land a knockout blow. The Eagles do, of course, while the Patriots commit a late-game turnover that seals their fate.
Both offenses revert to running the ball more this quarter to control possession, but New England has less success behind its weaker offensive line. The line falters late in the game and is unable to keep the pocket clean for Jones, resulting in an interception by the Eagles after one of his hurried throws is picked off.
The Patriots put up a good fight in front of their home crowd, but in the end it’s not enough.
Fourth-quarter score: 7-3 Eagles
Final score: 24-16 Eagles
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