7 Eagles gamers to look at in Sunday’s Patriots recreation


The Eagles arguably have the strongest roster within the NFL, holding a number of gamers on either side of the ball with Professional Bowl potential.

Jalen Hurts is likely to be the engine of the Eagles’ offense, however DeVonta Smith and A.J. Brown are integral to the unit’s success. (AP Photograph/Chris Szagola)

The Patriots formally kick off the 2023 season Sunday once they host the Eagles.

Many Patriots followers’ eyes can be on quarterback Mac Jones and the offense to see if he and the remainder of the unit have made any enhancements beneath Invoice O’Brien. On the opposite facet of the ball, extremely touted first-round decide Christian Gonzalez will make his NFL debut.

And, in fact, Tom Brady is again on the town as he’ll be honored throughout Sunday’s recreation.

However the Eagles may need probably the most proficient roster within the NFL. The reigning NFC champs are coming off a dominant 14-3 season and have a number of gamers with Professional Bowl upside on either side of the ball. Listed below are seven Eagles particularly for Patriots followers to keep watch over Sunday.

Jalen Hurts

Can the Eagles quarterback replicate his breakout 2022 season and have a fair higher 2023 season?

The reply to that query will greater than seemingly decide Philadelphia’s standing as a Tremendous Bowl contender this 12 months. Hurts has an opportunity although to place away any additional doubt on Sunday when he faces a Patriots group that statistically had probably the greatest defenses within the league final season, however struggled in opposition to prime quarterbacks.

Along with the Patriots’ incapacity to decelerate elite quarterbacks, they’ve additionally had a tricky time stopping cell quarterbacks over time, with Josh Allen, Lamar Jackson, and Justin Fields amongst these having large days on the bottom in opposition to New England in latest reminiscence.

Hurts is likely to be higher on the bottom than all of them. His 760 speeding yards final season was the fourth-most amongst all quarterbacks, however he trailed second place by simply 4 yards. He additionally rushed for 13 touchdowns, which was tied for second amongst all gamers within the league. His quarterback sneaks are nearly unstoppable, much like Tom Brady’s, as he’s ready to make use of his dimension and the Eagles’ sturdy offensive line to his benefit.

Hurts can also be an environment friendly passer, or a minimum of he was final season. He accomplished 66.5 p.c of his passes in 2022 for 3,701 yards with 22 touchdowns to simply six interceptions. His 101.5 passer ranking was the fourth-best mark within the league, too.

What’s even crazier to suppose is that Hurts arguably had the perfect recreation of his MVP runner-up marketing campaign within the Tremendous Bowl. He accomplished 27 of 38 passes for 304 yards with a landing, including 70 speeding yards and three speeding touchdowns to turn into the primary quarterback with three speeding touchdowns in a Tremendous Bowl.

If the Patriots are in a position to decelerate and even cease one of many favorites for MVP in 2023 on Sunday, it may very well be an indication that they’ve turned the nook defensively to show themselves as one of many league’s elite. In the event that they’re not, it may very well be the beginning of a protracted season as Hurts is simply the primary of many top-tier quarterbacks on the Patriots’ schedule this season.

A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith

Hurts is clearly a extremely good participant, however he additionally advantages from an especially proficient Eagles offense round him.

Fairly presumably no quarterback has a greater receiver duo to throw to than Hurts, too. Brown and Smith had been arguably the highest receiver duo in 2022, with each gamers recording over 1,000 receiving yards and 85 receptions. Brown was amongst one of many league’s finest, rating fourth in receiving yards (1,496), tied for third in receiving touchdowns (11), and thirteenth in receptions (88).

Smith, who received the Heisman Trophy catching passes from Mac Jones in 2020, wasn’t too far behind his Eagles teammate. His 95 receptions had been the Eleventh-most within the league whereas he was ninth in receiving yards (1,196) and tied for fifteenth in receiving touchdowns (seven).

Simply as how the Patriots have struggled in opposition to elite quarterbacks in latest seasons, they’ve additionally had a tricky time slowing down a few of the recreation’s finest receivers, too. Stefon Diggs, Justin Jefferson, Tyreek Hill, Tee Higgins, and others have all had large days in opposition to the Patriots during the last two seasons, proving to be a giant a part of New England’s losses in these video games.

Christian Gonzalez was drafted to a minimum of assist decelerate these sorts of receivers. The 2023 first-round decide couldn’t have requested for a a lot harder problem NFL debut than the one he’ll get on Sunday. If he’s in a position to stand as much as the problem, the Patriots can presumably begin considering that they may have their subsequent elite nook in a protracted line of them within the Invoice Belichick period.

The problem of slowing down Brown and Smith was made harder for the Patriots in latest days although. Jack Jones suffered a hamstring harm at follow and received’t go well with up for Sunday’s recreation, leaving New England with little depth behind its seemingly beginning nook group of Gonzalez, Jonathan Jones, and Marcus Jones.

Haason Reddick

Whoever the Patriots choose to play at proper deal with on Sunday will seemingly go up in opposition to one of many league’s finest cross rushers.

Reddick was the highest canine for a Philadelphia cross rush that led the league with 70 complete sacks final season. He was accountable for 16 of them, which was tied for the second-most within the league. He was additionally credited with 68 complete pressures (through Professional Soccer Focus) en path to forcing a league-high six fumbles.

Reddick did a lot of his harm when lined up in opposition to the opposing group’s proper tackles final season. Nonetheless, he was additionally generally used on the other facet of the road and even blitzed up from up the center to create pressures and sacks.

In what may very well be an indication of luck for the Patriots, Reddick had thumb surgical procedure final month. Whereas he was a full participant at follow this week after lacking time in the last few weeks, Reddick remains to be recovering from the surgical procedure.

“You are taking the hand, hey, wrap it up, we’ll discover a method,” Reddick instructed reporters on Thursday. “We’re going to be adaptable to that. A minimum of, I’ve to be. That’s what it means to be adaptable. Go on the market, no matter is thrown your method, don’t get flustered. Don’t get annoyed about it. Discover a solution to it.”

Jalen Carter

The Patriots’ offensive line, which was their most questionable unit throughout coaching camp and the preseason, can be examined throughout on Sunday.

Along with Reddick, the Eagles boast a number of different prime defensive linemen. Defensive ends Josh Sweat and Brandon Graham have been considered amongst a few of the finest on the place over the previous few seasons whereas Fletcher Cox is likely to be the perfect defensive deal with within the recreation during the last decade.

There’s a brand new intriguing participant so as to add to that group of defensive linemen: Jalen Carter. The Georgia product was touted by many scouts and draft analysts as the highest participant within the 2023 NFL Draft. However his involvement in a velocity racing incident in January that led to the deaths of two individuals (amongst different issues) induced Carter to fall to the No. 9 decide, permitting the Eagles to commerce up a spot to draft him.

The unanimous first-team All-American final season was a significant motive for the Bulldogs’ historic defenses during the last two seasons. He recorded 69 complete tackles, six sacks, and 15.5 tackles for loss over Georgia’s two nationwide championship-winning campaigns in 2021 and 2022.

Because the 6-foot-3, 314-pound behemoth within the center embarks on his NFL profession, Carter’s earned rave evaluations from Eagles teammates up to now. Edge rusher Nolan Smith, who performed with Carter at Georgia, stated Carter’s “a monster” defensively whereas cornerback Darius Slay known as him “child rhino” throughout coaching camp.

Carter solely performed 9 snaps throughout the preseason, so he hasn’t actually even gotten a lot of a check run within the NFL but. So, Sunday’s recreation may very well be the way in which he introduces himself as a possible stud for offensive traces to take care of for years to come back.

Darius Slay and James Bradberry

The Eagles almost stated goodbye to certainly one of their Professional Bowl corners over the offseason, giving him a last-minute contract restructure to keep away from having to launch him to clear up cap area.

Now 32, Slay’s constantly been one of many recreation’s finest corners courting again to his days with the Detroit Lions. He’s recorded three interceptions in every of the final two seasons as quarterbacks have struggled to generate large performs when throwing in his route. Opposing quarterbacks accomplished 41 of 75 passes (54.7 p.c) for 504 yards, 4 touchdowns, and three interceptions with a 76.8 passer ranking once they focused Slay in protection final season, per PFF.

As Slay was almost proven the door, the Eagles gave Bradberry a giant contract over the offseason, signing him to a three-year, $38 million take care of $20 million assured.

Bradberry had a standout season in his first 12 months with the Eagles in 2022 after he was launched by the Giants, recording three interceptions as quarterbacks accomplished fewer than 50 p.c of their passes when focusing on him in protection, per PFF.

However many NFL followers seemingly know Bradberry for the blunder he made within the Eagles’ Tremendous Bowl loss final season. He dedicated a holding penalty whereas protecting now Patriots receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, which allowed the Chiefs to run the clock down earlier than kicking the game-winning area objective.

Smith-Schuster poked enjoyable at Bradberry for the play a few days later as he obtained right into a social media spat with Slay and different Eagles gamers. Nonetheless, Bradberry gave up simply two receptions on three targets for 16 yards when he lined Smith-Schuster within the Tremendous Bow, in accordance with PFF.

We’ll see who’ll get the final snicker between Smith-Schuster and the Eagles’ secondary on Sunday.