NFL 2018 Season - Week 16
 

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Small Consolation
by Dennis Ranahan

The last time they met it was for the Super Bowl Championship … tonight it is a meaningless contest during second week of the preseason action.

When they met last February the underdog Philadelphia Eagles won their first Super Bowl title with a rousing offensive performance over the defending champion New England Patriots. Tonight, in Foxboro, the Patriots are once again favored by four points and the stakes are not nearly what they were six months ago.

No team has less to prove with preseason results than do the Patriots and their stoic head coach, Bill Belichick. He and his team have won more Super Bowls than any coach and team in history. Therefore, to think that New England would be out tonight to gain some measure of revenge by winning a preseason game is at the least highly questionable.

But, then again, these are men who take pride in what they do and could easily carry a grudge that perhaps they even wouldn’t outwardly be aware of. For sure, if one team did have more to prove, more to gain, by the final score tonight it would be the home standing Patriots.

Last week, in their preseason opener, New England fell behind the visiting Washington Redskins 17-0 early in the second quarter, then rolled to 26 unanswered points enroute to a nine point win. While the game didn’t mean anything, don’t you know that the starting unit in that contest, the squad that fell behind the Redskins and trailed 17-3 at halftime, is out for redemption in their second straight home game.

What we have tonight is an Eagles team off a Super Bowl season heading to Foxboro to meet a Patriots squad with something to play for and the personnel to get it done. If New England’s second and third string players were good enough to outscore Washington 23-0 in the second half, and the starting squad is motivated to atone for last week’s poor performance along with the hidden revenge for last season’s Super Bowl setback … well, preseason or not, we’ve got elements that make a wager on the Patriots a darn right good football investment.

Now, while I know that tonight’s contest involves the two conference champions from 2017, they are also a pair of teams that my numbers say will miss the playoffs this year.

More on that conclusion in a few weeks when we reveal the teams we think will meet in this season’s Super Bowl. First things first, and right now, laying the points tonight in Foxboro and expecting the Patriots to down the Eagles is the call.

Qoxhi Picks: New England Patriots (-4) over Philadelphia Eagles