This preseason may mean a little more to the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles than in years past.
Those two teams, both attempting to move past troubled offseasons, will kick off a Friday night preseason NFL doubleheader in Philadelphia (7:30 p.m., NFL Network).
On New England’s sideline, you have the aftereffects of a murder investigation that has tight end Aaron Hernandez locked up instead of on the field.
On the Eagles’ sideline, you have a locker room divided, after potential starting wide receiver Riley Cooper was caught on video making racially-charged, violent threats. Not exactly the first training camp new coach Chip Kelly envisioned.
A meaningless preseason game might be the best place to get away from it all.
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The Eagles opened as 3-point favorites, but were giving as many as five on Wednesday afternoon. The total could be found at 40 or 40.5. Philly is 6-0 SU in its past six preseasomn games while the Patriots are 0-6 ATS over the same time frame.
Kelly named Michael Vick the starter, but Nick Foles and Vick are expected to get significant reps to try to adjust to Kelly’s new system.
The two teams have been practicing together, and all reports indicated Tom Brady and the Patriots have been shredding the Eagles’ secondary. That explains the lofty preseason total of 40.5, the highest on the board.
Will Brady even play though?
Bettors would be wise to monitor Brady’s status carefully, leading up to game time. The early two-point movement of the line toward the Eagles would seem to indicate that there’s doubt.
Bill Belichick is 35-32 against the spread in preseason play, with a strong trend to the OVER (45-28).
Friday’s NFL Preseason Card
Jets at Lions (-3.5, 36.5), 7:30 p.m.
Dolphins (-1.5, 35.5) at Jaguars, 7:30 p.m.
Texans at Vikings (-1, 35)
Chiefs at Saints (-3, 36.5)
Cowboys (-1) at Raiders, 10 p.m.
Cardinals at Packers (-3.5, 35), 8 p.m.
Bears at Panthers (-3, 34), 8 p.m.