Eagles And Patriots On Monday Night Football

By: Willie Bee | Monday, August 20, 2012

It has been 11 days since the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots were on the gridiron, and both teams should be itching to go when they close out the second week of the NFL preseason schedule on ESPN's Monday Night Football.

Kickoff from Gillette Stadium in Foxborough is shortly after 8:00 p.m. (ET), and the Pats are 1-point favorites after opening at -3½.  Monday's total has been bet up a couple of points to 41 at most establishments charted by Don Best Pro Odds.

Both teams are coming off narrow 1-point victories in their preseason openers.  The Eagles rallied for a 24-23 home decision over the Pittsburgh Steelers in a clash of Keystone State crews.  Philadelphia closed as a 1-point favorite after laying a field goal on the opening line.  New England nipped New Orleans by a 7-6 count, with the Patriots giving up four points on the closing spread which opened -2½.

The final margin of victory was about the only thing the two games had in common. 'Under' bettors went home happy in the Saints-Patriots contest that never came close to the 37½-point mark after starting off at 40, while 'over' 35 wagers easily cashed in the Philly-Pittsburgh tilt.

It was a defensive struggle from the outset in Foxborough where the Saints got a 1st-quarter field goal to account for the only scoring in the first half.  New England QB Tom Brady played just two series, one ending with him fumbling to help New Orleans set up its first field goal of the evening.  Backup QB Brian Hoyer came on after that and eventually led the Pats on their only scoring drive of the game in the third, a 14-play, 87-yard performance that ended with a short TD strike to Britt Davis.

Michael Vick also saw just two series worth of action for the Eagles, both times three-&-out.  A couple of long drives by Pittsburgh still had the Philly QB on the field in the second quarter, and Vick injured his left thumb on his final play.  He is expected to be on the field Monday night when Philadelphia head coach Andy Reid says Vick will play at least the first half.

Mike Kafka relieved Vick and couldn't get anything going the rest of the second quarter, tossing one interception and also suffering a fractured left hand that will sideline him for possibly the rest of the preseason. Nick Foles, the rookie out of Arizona, came on in the second half for the Eagles and eventually got them on the board after they trailed 13-0 at halftime.  Foles tossed two touchdowns and finished the day 6-of-10 for 144 yards.  The 3rd-round pick is expected to play most of the second half on Monday and has ascended to No. 2 on the depth chart now with Kafka injured.

In addition to Kafka being out, Philadelphia will also be without LB Casey Matthews (ankle), DE Jason Babin (calf) and WR Riley Cooper (collarbone).

New England is reporting only a couple of minor injuries.  First-string halfback Stevan Ridley suffered a minor knee injury during practice last week while wideout Jabar Gaffney is dealing with a thigh issue.  Both players are expected to see limited action on Monday.

The Eagles and Patriots last met in the preseason three years ago when New England scored a 27-25 victory in Philadelphia.  That game was played just after Vick signed with the Eagles to return to the NFL following a two-year suspension following the 2006 season.

Their most recent regular season encounter was last November, also in Philadelphia.  New England spotted the Eagles 10 points before pouring it on Philly in a 38-20 rout.  Brady threw for 361 yards and three TDs, two to Wes Welker, while Vick sat out with broken ribs.

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