The Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots clash in their second preseason game on Aug. 15. The Eagles and Patriots are common preseason opponents and practice partners, and often get to meet in the regular season as well. Given that Philadelphia and New England also have a Super Bowl history as well, the Eagles have had to look up at the Patriots for quite a long time.
Of course, the Patriots haven't won a single Super Bowl since beating the Eagles in Jacksonville on February 2005. The chances of a Super Bowl rematch 10 years later appear slim, although New England has higher hopes to get there no matter who it plays. As for Philadelphia, winning a playoff game or two this year would be enough to take the next step in the Chip Kelly era, in hopes that it will eventually go as far as the Andy Reid/Donovan McNabb era -- and one step further.
The Eagles won't go that far if Nick Foles can't take the next step with them, or can't at least prove that his 27 touchdown, two interception campaign last season wasn't a fluke. The fact he threw two interception in one quarter alone against the Chicago Bears on Aug. 8 wasn't the best opening statement. Doing better against the Patriots would help Foles quiet any early concerns.
If Mark Sanchez outperforms him for the second straight game, however, it might raise a few eyebrows. Sanchez has to be particularly motivated to face his old rivals in the Patriots -- especially since his infamous "butt fumble" against them on Thanksgiving 2012 virtually ended his career with the New York Jets.
The Eagles' defense really needs to make more of a solid showing, after it failed to stop anyone from the Bears. Since Tom Brady doesn't get much preseason action, it may make things easier. Still, Brady may need to play at least a few series after sitting out last week against the Washington Redskins.
Once the Eagles and Patriots part ways, time will tell if New England sets the bar even higher for Philadelphia in another regular season, and beyond. Their preseason paths will cross first at 7:30 p.m. est at Foxboro.