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Patriots-Eagles matchup of the day: Wednesday

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By Kevin Fishbain

Here's a key matchup to watch in the Week 12 game between the Patriots and Eagles:

Eagles D-line vs. Patriots O-line

The aggressive Eagles front had three sacks and 10 quarterback hits in the team's win over the Giants last Sunday night and Jim Washburn's group will aim to pressure Tom Brady and slow the Patriots' attack.

The Eagles' pass rush starts with DE Jason Babin, who has 10 sacks, and will often line up in the wide-9 technique. Trent Cole and his five sacks bookend the line, and DT Cullen Jenkins has 5½ sacks from the interior.

The Patriots' O-line is usually a team strength, but it has struggled some this season, which was magnified in the first half against the Chiefs. Kansas City had struggled all year getting after the QB, but the Chiefs sacked Brady three times in the first half and forced a fumble. The Patriots' offense, outside the big touchdown to Rob Gronkowski, was completely out of sync in the first half of their Monday night win.

Getting penetration up the middle to keep Brady from stepping up in the pocket is key, and that's where Jenkins comes in. C Dan Connolly has proven to be a downgrade from veteran Dan Koppen. Meanwhile, OLG Logan Mankins leads the team in penalties.

On the outside, OTs Sebastian Vollmer and Matt Light will have their hands full with Cole and Babin. Vollmer completely whiffed on Tamba Hali last Monday night, allowing Hali to bring Brady to the turf. Light injured his knee against the Chiefs, so check his status for Sunday. If he can't go, rookie Nate Solder, who has been playing as a blocking tight end, would get the start.

Gronkowski might need to stay in and block if Cole and Babin have success early, and look for Brady to rely on quick passes to keep the Eagles' D-linemen from pinning their ears back.

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