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Patriots vs Eagles: Week 2 NFL preseason preview

Matt Johnson

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The New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles kick off Week 2 of the NFL preseason schedule with an exciting matchup between young quarterbacks Mac Jones and Jalen Hurts. We preview the biggest matchups, provide game info and examine key details of the Patriots vs Eagles matchup below.

Patriots vs Eagles: What you need to know

Find out where the Patriots and Eagles land in our NFL power rankings

Let’s dive into our Patriots vs Eagles preview.

Mac Jones vs Jalen Hurts

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Philadelphia Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

While Cam Newton is still the projected starter for New England, Mac Jones will be running the show in this game. We’ll see a lot of Jones and Jalen Hurts in this game, with both quarterbacks needing the preseason snaps and coaching staffs happy to let them learn through their mistakes.

Check out Sportsnaut’s Philadelphia Eagles season preview

  • Unleash the Hurts Philadelphia isn’t naming Hurts its official starting quarterback, but the decision is made. The second-year pro is the leader of this team and there have been some positive reports out of training camp. Expect Bill Belichick to make him beat the Patriots from the pocket.
  • Mac Attack: After generating rave reviews in minicamp and building upon that momentum in training camp, Jones looked sharp in his NFL debut. A 68% completion rate is great, but we do want to see that 4.6 ypa rise dramatically in Week 2.

Advantage: Philadelphia Eagles

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Patriots’ secondary vs Eagles’ wide receivers

Patriots vs Eagles
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

One of the best parts of the preseason is players earning for roster spots and their position on the depth chart. It is a central element to the Patriots vs Eagles matchup, with Philadelphia’s wide receivers and New England’s cornerbacks needing to prove themselves on a big stage.

  • Quez’s Quest: With DeVonta Smith sidelined and other receivers dealing with injuries, Quez Watkins gets his chance to shine. A sixth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the 6-foot receiver took a bubble screen 79 yards to the house in the preseason opener. Another strong game might secure a 53-man roster spot.
  • Last Shot: New England drafted JoeJuan Williams with high expectations in Round 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft. Midway through training camp, he reportedly found himself on the roster bubble. Coming off a strong performance (one INT, two passes defended), let’s see if the 6-foot-3 cornerback builds on the momentum.

Discover where the Patriots land in our 2021 NFL defense rankings

Advantage: New England Patriots

Patriots’ offensive line vs Eagles’ defensive line

Patriots vs Eagles
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

It always starts in the trenches, no matter if it’s a preseason game or the Super Bowl. New England’s offensive line certainly displayed dominance in the preseason opener and it will be put to the test once more against Philadelphia’s defensive front.

  • Patriots protect: In the preseason opener, the Patriots offensive line allowed just one sack on 30 pass attempts and helped the running game eclipse 170 yards. If we see a similar showing, that will be a great sign for an offense that will depend heavily on its O-line this season.
  • Rookie Showcase: Milton Williams, Philadelphia’s third-round pick, generated some buzz early in camp. Making his preseason debut, the 6-foot-3 defensive tackle proved he is a force to be reckoned with. It’s only a matter of time before that power and athleticism make him a starter.

Advantage: New England Patriots

The bottom line: The Patriots vs Eagles clash is going to be a must-see game for all NFL fans. It’s an opportunity to see young quarterbacks grow, smart coaches trying new things and so much more. New England has a clear edge thanks to coaching and overall roster depth, but an extended look at Hurts and Jones is what really matters.