The 2023 season kicked off when the Detroit Lions upset the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs at home. Now we look ahead to Sunday with the New England Patriots set to begin their season on Sunday as they host the reigning NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Quick glance at the injury report shows a very healthy Philadelphia Eagles squad with no one listed as questionable, but the Patriots can’t say the same. Cornerback Jack Jones is out, with both starting guards Cole Strange and Mike Onwenu listed as questionable and starting left tackle Trent Brown battling an illness with an unspecified game status. This Philadelphia front is one of, if not the best in the league, and being down potentially 40 percent of their starting offensive line does not sit well for New England
This is going to be a trench battle for both teams, and New England is overmatched in both. Philadelphia has an elite defensive front and elite offensive line, while the Patriots are fighting health on their offensive line with a less-than-ideal defensive line. Matt Judon and Josh Uche are a very good edge duo, even an underrated one. Their interior leaves a lot to be desired, with an aging Lawrence Guy leaving third-year player Christian Barmore being the primary guy. I don’t see New England giving Philadelphia’s offensive line any trouble at all. Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson and Jordan Mailata headline the group, with Landon Dickerson and Cam Jurgens holding down the guard spots, there isn’t a weakness on the line.
Looking at the matchup the other way, Philadelphia has a deep rotation on defense with Hasson Reddick, Josh Sweat, Dereck Barnett, and Brandon Graham coming off the edge. On the interior, they’ve got Fletcher Cox, Milton Williams, Jordan Davis, and Jalen Carter. They can keep everyone fresh. New England has both of their starting guards listed as questionable and Trent Brown has been battling an illness all week as well.
Another key matchup is in the secondary, where New England’s receivers will be absolutely shut down by Philadelphia’s defensive backs. Darius Slay and James Bradberry will have no problem shutting down Juju Smith-Schuster and DeVante Parker. Rookie Christian Gonzalez and Jonathan Jones will have their hands full with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. New England just won’t be able to keep up
Prediction: 31-20 Philadelphia Eagles
Philadelphia should win this one pretty easily. They’re better in every way outside of coaching, but not even Bill Belichick can close this gap in roster talent. Even when looking at the quarterbacks, Jalen Hurts is multiple tiers better than Mac Jones. With that, and the disparity between rosters, this shouldn’t even be close.