The New England Patriots are hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in a Week 1 showdown, and the home team knows it will be no easy feat to take down the defending NFC champions. As they prepare for Sunday's game, the Patriots are focusing on how to stop a solid Eagles defensive line.
"At the end of the day, we just have to go out there and compete, try and control what we can control, and understand that we're going against a bunch of beasts," Jones said, via WEEI.
Not only are the Eagles a challenge given their line, but Jones is coming off a season of offensive struggles and mediocrity at best. The Patriots were 26th in yards per game (314.6), 26th in total yards (5,348) and were middle of the road in multiple offensive categories including total points (364) and points per game (21.4).
And the Patriots' offensive line is banged up. Riley Reiff, a candidate to start at right tackle, was put on injured reserve after getting hurt in the preseason finale. The status of starting left guard Cole Strange is also in question for Week 1 as he works his way back from injury.
The Patriots offensive line has not had the best showing in preseason, allowing three sacks in Week 1 against the Houston Texans and two in the final preseason game against the Tennessee Titans. The offensive line has struggled to give Jones enough time to make something of the play and create space for the running backs.
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No one was safe last season against Philly's defense, which recorded a league-high 70 sacks. Meanwhile, Jones was sacked 34 times in just 14 games in 2022, 11th in the NFL.
Last year, the Eagles had a +8 turnover differential, third best in the league. Their defense had 17 interceptions and 10 forced fumbles.
The Eagles' spread the wealth and utilize multiple players on defense, rather than rely on just a few stars. They had four players with 10+ sacks in 2022: Hasson Reddick (16.0), Josh Sweat (11.0), Javon Hargrave (11.0) and Brandon Graham (11.0). They added Jalen Carter with the No. 9 overall pick, while Hargrave exited to the 49ers in free agency.
Patriots head coach Belichick spoke on how many capable players the Eagles have.
"Their front is a very dominant front," Belichick said. "They're the best pass rushing front in the league by, I'd say, quite a bit, with good depth. So they can roll those guys out of there pretty comfortably and bring in other guys that are just as explosive, dangerous. They have a great combination of power and speed in the pass rush front."
Jones and Co. will see a familiar face on the other sideline in Matt Patricia, an Eagles defensive assistant who also served as defensive coordinator for New England in the past.
The 25-year-old quarterback called going up against Patricia "a great challenge."
"As a competitor, you want to go out there and not think too much," Jones said. "Play fast and play my game. [Patricia is] a great coach. He's coached in a lot of big games and stuff like that. They've got a great defense with a lot of great players."