The Patriots (0-1) head to Philadelphia this week to take on the Philadelphia Eagles (0-1). New England returns to Lincoln Financial Field just 23 days after defeating Philadelphia 24-12 in a preseason matchup in the first football game at the Eagles new home. Despite the teams' recent preseason history, they will face off in the regular season for just the second time in over 12 years.
The Patriots will look to prove that last week's season opening loss in Buffalo was not representative of the kind of football they're capable of playing. After falling behind early to an improved Bills team, the Patriots came up empty despite marching into Buffalo's half of the field on five of their six second-half possessions. This week, New England hopes to close out its drives and find the momentum that proved to be elusive in the season opener.
With 15 games left, the long haul of the NFL season is still just beginning and the Patriots know that seasons are not won or lost in a single game.
"That's not us," said quarterback Tom Brady after the season opener. "We have to be better and we will be better. There's confidence that we're a different team than that."
This week against the Eagles, the Patriots take aim at putting their opening struggles behind them before returning to Gillette Stadium for the home opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 21.
TELEVISION: This week's game will be televised by CBS. The game can be seen locally on WBZ-TV Channel 4 in Boston. Greg Gumbel will handle the play-by-play duties and Phil Simms will provide analysis. Armen Keteyian will provide reports from the sidelines throughout the game. Following the game, the Fifth Quarter postgame show can be seen on WSBK-TV Channel 38 in Boston.
RADIO: WBCN 104.1 FM is the flagship station for the Patriots Rock Radio Network. Play-by-play broadcaster Gil Santos is in his 27th season as the voice of the Patriots, and calls the action along with Patriots Hall of Famer Gino Cappelletti. In 2003, Santos and Cappelletti celebrate their 20th season as a broadcast tandem.
NATIONAL RADIO: This week's game will be broadcast nationally by Westwood One Radio. Dave Sims and Jack Ham will call the action from Lincoln Financial Field.
PATRIOTS VS. NFC
New England is 7-2 in its last nine games against NFC opposition, dating back to the 2001 season. The seven wins in nine games includes the Patriots' Super Bowl XXXVI win over St. Louis. The Patriots have won three straight games against the NFC and finished 3-1 in their four interconference games in 2002, defeating the Chicago Bears 33-30 (Nov. 10), the Minnesota Vikings 24-17 (Nov. 24) and the Detroit Lions 20-12 (Nov. 28). Their only loss against the NFC was a 28-10 decision against the Green Bay Packers (Oct. 13). The Patriots posted a matching 3-1 record against the NFC in 2001.
A RATING VICTORY
The Patriots lost to the Bills last weekend, but still claimed a viewership victory. In a sports-dominated weekend in Boston, the Patriots claimed the top spot in the weekly television ratings, scoring a 20.0 local rating (46 share). Nationwide, Week One games claimed the top ratings spot against all programming for the week in 28 of the 30 NFL markets.
The Patriots and Eagles will meet for the ninth time in the regular season and for just the second time since 1991. Philadelphia has won five straight games in the series, with the Patriots' most recent victory coming in 1978. The Eagles are one of only four NFL teams that the Patriots have not defeated since Robert Kraft purchased the team in 1994. The teams have faced off just once over that span, with the Eagles claiming a 24-9 win at Veterans Stadium in 1999. Despite their lack of recent regular season matchups, New England and Philadelphia have clashed frequently in the preseason, having played six times in the past nine years. The Patriots currently own a five-game preseason winning streak dating back to 1996. The two teams squared off this preseason, with the Patriots taking a 24-12 win in the first football game at Lincoln Financial Field on Aug. 22, 2003.
The Patriots will return to Lincoln Financial Field just 23 days after their 24-12 win over the Eagles in the preseason on Aug. 22. In a scheduling rarity, the Patriots will play both the Eagles and the Washington Redskins on the road in both August and September. The last time the Patriots played the same team at the same venue in consecutive months was in August and September of 2000, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers traveled to Foxborough twice in three weeks.
The Patriots and Eagles have faced off in the regular season just once since the beginning of the 1991 season. New England played Philadelphia in 1999 in the teams' only meeting in the past 12 seasons. With the new NFL scheduling format that took effect last season, the Patriots and Eagles will now face off once every four years, eliminating the scheduling aberration. This season, the Patriots will get reacquainted with some old foes as they play four teams they have played two times or less since the beginning of the 1991 season.