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By John McMullen, NFL Editor
(SportsNetwork.com) - Familiar preseason foes will meet in Foxboro on Friday when the New England Patriots play host to the Philadelphia Eagles.
For the second consecutive week the Patriots are conducting joint practice sessions with their preseason opponent in advance of the game as the Eagles arrived early to partake in preparation with New England on Tuesday and Wednesday in advance of the game.
"I'm looking forward to this week," said New England head coach Bill Belichick. "It'll be a big opportunity for our team and for each of us individually to improve on where we were last week."
The Pats need to improve after an ugly preseason opener without star quarterback Tom Brady. Washington easily handled New England, 23-6, last week behind backup signal caller, Kirk Cousins, who played the majority of the opening half and threw a touchdown pass.
The Pats rested Brady along with their key offseason acquisition, All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis.
Ryan Mallett started in place of Brady but was shaky in the first half, finishing 5-of-12 for 55 yards through the air. Jimmy Garoppolo, a rookie out of Eastern Illinois, who won the 2013 Walter Payton Award as the top player in FCS, was 9- of-13 for 157 yards. That included a 26-yard TD pass to Brian Tyms late in the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia, meanwhile, also fell in its preseason opener, losing a 34-28 shootout in Chicago.
The Eagles started slow behind Nick Foles, who was intercepted just twice in 317 passing attempts last season, and matched that total by getting picked off twice in his three possessions under center.
Backup Mark Sanchez was far more efficient, connecting on 7-of-10 passes for 79 yards and leading the Eagles' second-team offense to 14 points courtesy of Matthew Tucker's two touchdown runs.
Rookie wide receiver Josh Huff added a 102-yard kickoff-return touchdown for Philadelphia.
"Well, the kickoff return was set up by my teammates," said Huff, who was drafted by the Eagles in the third round out of Oregon. "I couldn't have done it without them. That kickoff return was something special for me and my teammates."
Last season, the Patriots held joint sessions with the Eagles in Philadelphia prior to a 31-22 New England win. In all, the Pats and Eagles have met 21 previous times in the preseason with New England holding a slim 11-10 advantage in the series.
08/13 11:39:51 ET
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