The New England Patriots’ philosophy has generally been to focus only on the game they play in any given week, ignoring past or future results. But as they head into Philadelphia to face the Eagles on Sunday, the Patriots future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady is not even pretending to have forgotten the last time these two teams squared off. That showdown came in Super Bowl 52 — and ended with the Eagles scoring a stunning, 41-33 upset for the first Super Bowl victory in franchise history, and first NFL title since 1960.
“You assume I’m over it?” Brady said in an interview, quoted by MassLive. “Come on, now! That’s a lot of mental scar tissue from that year. That was a tough game.”
Even New England’s normally stoic head coach, Bill Belichick, admitted that the Super Bowl loss still haunted him.
“Those games – sure, they stick with you,” Belichick said, as quoted by MassLive. “You remember some of the wins, but I think the losses stick with you more.”
The Patriots bounced back to defeat the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl 53.
In fact, the Patriots have not defeated the Eagles since 2011, also losing a regular season matchup in 2015, 38-25.
But as the 8-1 Patriots come out of a bye week following their first loss of the season, on the road against the Baltimore Ravens, they head into Philly as 3.5-point favorites over the Eagles, according to Covers.com. Despite a 5-4 record, the Eagles sit in first place in the NFC East.
But the Eagles are also coming off a bye week and have won two straight, to push above the.500 mark. Fourth-year quarterback Carson Wentz, the Eagles’ first-round pick — second overall — in 2016, has thrown for 15 touchdowns in nine games, against only four interceptions, according to Patriots.com.
Those numbers are actually slightly better than Brady’s. The legendary 42-year-old Patriots quarterback has completed 14 touchdown passes and thrown five picks in his nine starts.
The Patriots’ smothering defense will attempt to force Wentz out of the pocket, where he becomes a far less comfortable passer, Patriots.com predicts. But pass protection has also been an issue for Brady, who has been forced into a higher rate of throwaways than in past seasons. Wide receiver Julian Edelman has been Brady’s only consistent target, with 63 catches for 663 yards and four touchdowns.
The New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles game kicks off at 4:25 p.m. EST at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, on Sunday, November 17. The game will be televised by CBS.