New England Patriots @ Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, 21:25 GMT
Live on Sky Sports Action
Rested Patriots are always dangerous
New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is one of the best in the business, since moving to New England in 2000 he has a 263-90 record and has led his side to a 10 straight AFC East tiles. A big part of his success is down to his meticulous planning, and there is arguably nothing more dangerous than New England coming off their bye week. The Pats are 14-5 coming off a bye in the Bill Belichick-era, and they often win comfortably.
Those 14 wins have been by an average of 17.4 points per game, so quarterback Tom Brady and his teammates should have more than enough to cover the spread on Sunday night.
If there has been a criticism of New England this season it is that their offence hasn't really got going at all. Brady is a future Hall of Famer who is almost unparalleled when it comes to reading opposition defences; but, at 42 years old, he is starting to use some of his arm strength and has been relying on his pinpoint accuracy to lead the offence.
This means drives rely on short passing and a methodical running game to score points, again the bye week has helped the Pats here. Slot receiver Julian Edelman has benefited from a week of extra rest between games and is fully fit for the first time since Week 3, look for him to have a productive day.
Defence set for bounce back
In the first eight games of the season New England's defence were playing at an unprecedented level. They allowed just 61 points and only four touchdowns, even more impressively they scored four TDs themselves. Then, in Week 9, they ran in to Lamar Jackson and the Ravens.
Baltimore dominated the ball and ran out comfortable 37-20 winners to hand New England their first loss of the season. However, the Ravens' gameplan is almost entirely unique to them and centered around an incredibly mobile quarterback, the Eagles are a little different.
Philadelphia's offence, led by Carson Wentz is considerably more balanced than Baltimore's and while certainly a threat it is slightly more predictable. This should allow the likes of Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty and Kyle Van Noy to get after Wentz, particularly with starting running back Jordan Howard struggling with injury. The opportunistic Patriots defence have forced nearly three turnovers per game in 2019 and with Wentz prone to ball security issues at times I think they are good price to score a touchdown at 10/3.
Eagles rely on the Tight Ends
Philadelphia Tight Ends Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert have become the key part of the Eagles' offence this season. Ertz leads the team in receiving yards, while Goedert's three touchdowns sees him tied with Alshon Jeffrey and and Nelson Agholor for the most in the team. Jeffrey will miss Sunday's game with an ankle injury, heaping even more pressure on the tight end group to produce. Ertz, in particular, has a history of success against the Patriots. The 29-year-old caught the game winning touchdown in Super Bowl 52 as Philadelphia beat the New England Patriots in an instant classic and is a good price to perform again.
With Philadelphia lacking an explosive receiver to stretch the field Ertz is the go to man, and has been for some time. Much like New England, the Eagles will drive down the field with their short passing game featuring their tight end group regularly. With his receiving line set at 52.5 yards, I expect Ertz to cover that and he's not a bad bet to score a touchdown either.