Patriots vs. Eagles: 6 Bold Predictions

2 of 7

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

6. Pats will hold DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews under 50 yards

Thanks to continued strong play from interior defensive linemen Alan Branch and Malcom Brown, the Patriots will hold Eagles running backs Murray and Mathews to under 50 rushing in this game.

Murray’s first season with the Eagles has been a far cry from his 1,800-yard 2014 campaign. He’s averaging just 3.5 yards per carry; 42 qualified running backs are gaining more yards per attempt than Murray.

Cyrus Geller: AFC Playoff Picture: Pats still in driver’s seat

As for Mathews, he’s actually been a much more effective ball carrier than the player above him on the depth chart. The former San Diego Chargers running back is averaging 5.7 yards per rush on 75 attempts, so the Patriots will have to hold him on check. And they will.

The return of Jamie Collins to the lineup will provide an immediate boost to the run defense, and the unit will rally around his return in the absence of Dont’a Hightower.

Keep in mind that although the Pats got torched by C.J. Anderson last week, they have been solid against the run this season, allowing just under 100 yards on the ground per game (97), the 11th-fewest in the league.

The other contributing factor to the Pats limiting Murray and Mathews will be the scoreboard. Philly will be playing from behind throughout this game, so they won’t run the ball very much.

Next: 5. Punt return for recent signing Johnson