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Philadelphia vs. New England: Patriots Preseason Week 2 Preview

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Philadelphia vs. New England: Patriots Preseason Week 2 Preview
Matt Rourke/Associated Press
The Pats and Eagles will square off after three days of joint practices.

Preseason is a time for evaluation, as individual progress remains more critical than bottom-line results.  After the vast majority of the projected starters sat against Washington, this week provides the first opportunity for the New England Patriots to evaluate the bulk of their 2014 core.

Unlike last season, when the Pats dominated joint practices against the Philadelphia Eagles, the reigning NFC East champions have provided significantly stiffer competition in 2014.  That's not a surprise considering how the Eagles offense thrived under Chip Kelly in his first season, while also showing defensive strides in the second half of the year as it adjusted to Bill Davis' 3-4 scheme.

Thus, the Pats should only improve after three practices and a game against an uber-efficient organization.  Tom Brady has stressed the importance of preseason reps, and Patriots fans are likely itching to see the starters after a slipshod showing from the reserves last week.

As always, the final score is typically the least important takeaway from preseason contests.  But that does not mean the entire process is irrelevant.  For Pats fans looking to glean something meaningful from Friday's contest, here's what to watch for.

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