Gameday: QB Keeper

November, 27, 2011
11/27/11
11:00
AM ET
AP Photo/Matt Slocum
The Patriots have to keep pressure off quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday.
Forget about Vick vs. Vince. The Patriots' main quarterback concern Sunday in Philadelphia is protecting Tom Brady:
Keeping Brady upright is something the Patriots have struggled with at times in recent weeks. After allowing a mere four sacks over the first four weeks of the season, the Patriots have surrendered 15 sacks over their past six games.

It's no secret that teams that have been able to pressure Brady have given themselves the best chance at success against New England. And the Eagles, with a deep defensive line rotation, seem to have the personnel to do just that.

Philadelphia entered Week 12 tied for fourth in the NFL with 29 sacks this season, highlighted by 10 from defensive end Jason Babin (fourth-most in the league). What's more, the Eagles rank third in the league in sacks per opponent pass attempt, putting the opposing quarterback on the ground on 8.92 percent of dropbacks (only Baltimore and Washington have been better).

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And here's a look at our keys to Sunday's game, including a focus on the punt coverage unit:
Second-year punter Zoltan Mesko is having a solid season, ranking eighth in the NFL in net average (40.1); in 35 attempts, he has just two touchbacks, with 11 inside the 20-yard line. Mesko figures to be an important weapon for the Patriots, as DeSean Jackson can be dangerous when given the chance. Jackson hasn't had big results this season in 12 returns (a 51-yarder is his long), but he's capable of being a game-breaker.

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