PHILADELPHIA – Tom Brady talked up the Philadelphia Eagles more than Vince Young.

Brady and the AFC East-leading New England Patriots (7-3) visit Philadelphia today in their second meeting since the Super Bowl in February 2005. The Patriots beat those Eagles 24-21 for their third NFL title in four seasons.

Listening to Brady and his teammates discuss the upcoming game, you would think they’re getting ready to play Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens and Brian Dawkins again.

“They’re very talented, there’s no question about that,” Brady said. “You look at their defensive stats and their offensive stats, they’re as good as any team in the league. They can play with anybody. They’ve had two pretty significant blowout wins and then the rest of the games have been very close. It’s not like teams are running away from these guys; they’re in every single game. They’re a tough team in all phases.”

As usual, Brady was echoing his coach’s thoughts.

“They’re good across the board, they’re well-coached, they’re a hard team to get ready for because of the number of things they do and they do them at a high level,” Bill Belichick said. “They are good in all phases of the game. They have a lot of outstanding players.”


That’s a lot of praise for a team that’s 4-6 and one loss away from being all-but-mathematically eliminated from playoff contention in a season that began with enormous expectations.

It was Young who put a bull’s-eye on the Eagles when he called them a “Dream Team” after signing a one-year contract to be Michael Vick’s backup. By now, Young and his teammates have heard plenty of jokes regarding how this “Dream Team” is a nightmare and so on.

Despite adding a slew of high-profile players — cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was the prize of the free-agent market — to a group that was coming off an NFC East championship, the Eagles haven’t lived up to the hype. They’ve lost 4 of 5 home games, blowing fourth-quarter leads in each loss. Overall the Eagles are 1-7 at home since beating Houston last Dec. 2.

“They’re talented,” said Patriots cornerback Kyle Arrington, a former Eagle who leads the NFL with seven interceptions. “By no means does their record reflect their talent.”

All that talent hasn’t helped Philadelphia in the standings. The Eagles are third behind Dallas (7-4) and the New York Giants (6-4) in the NFC East. However they’re 3-1 against division opponents and have a chance to win the East if they win their last six games.

Young saved the Eagles’ season by leading them to a 17-10 win at the Giants last Sunday. He may have to fill in again for Vick, who broke two ribs in a Nov. 13 loss to Arizona.

The Patriots have the worst-ranked defense in the NFL. Those numbers don’t mean much to Young.

“You’ve just always got to have respect for Belichick and for his team,” Young said. “They’re going to always try to have a package for you and try to take some of our guys out of the game. You’ve just got to be patient with these guys. You’ve got to just take your time and drive down the field and try not to turn over the ball and all these types of things, and convert on third down.”


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