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Super Bowl Predictions

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Super Bowl- Sunday- Eagles vs Patriots at 6:30 on NBC

Ian’s Take:

Here it is, the final game of this crazy 2018 season. A match up featuring the team to beat, which is Brady and the Patriots, against a team that has been called underdogs ever since their star QB went down but has silenced all critics, the Foles led Eagles. There are so many factors to discuss heading into Sunday which could decide the huge game, but let’s start with one of the biggest matchups of the night, Josh McDaniels against Jim Schwartz. Schwartz is going to need to design quite the defensive playbook for Sunday in order to contain all the weapons lining the Patriots sideline. Schwartz and the rest of the Eagles defense looked great while playing against Keenum and the Vikings. The Eagles all season have been a fan of off-coverage and used it against the Vikings. It worked great against a mediocre QB in Keenum who is afraid to make those difficult and challenging throws, but Brady is not a mediocre QB. Off-coverage is what Brady thrives on, being dared to make a dangerous throw is what he wants. Tighter zones along with a powerful 4 man rush including Fletcher Cox will have to get to Brady and force him under pressure. The 4 men up front are going to need to completely pressure Brady while not allowing their run game to take shape as that will allow the Eagles to focus in one the main job at hand, containing Brady. Next, we have Nick Foles. He stepped into the biggest game of his life 2 weeks ago and destroyed while throwing 3 TDs, 0 int, and put up a 93.5 QBR. He is going to need to generate a performance like this against a Patriots defense that has allowed the 5th least amount of points all season. The mastermind of Matt Patricia will for sure put together a master plan of all different sorts of looks in order to get Foles startled. The huge factor, turnovers. The Eagles thrive on them, they need them in order to win. If the Eagles can force the Brady, to cough up the ball and make him make bad throws, the Eagles are in great shape as they were top 5 this season in turnover +/-. The Eagles ability to make the field as short as possible for Foles will be crucial in order to take as much pressure as possible off of your back-up QB. With that said, the turnover margin is also pretty important for the Patriots as they know how to punish teams. The Patriots under Belichick, are 159-15 when they have a positive turnover differential (via espn.com), so yeah, the Eagles are going to need to protect the ball. The last big factor will be special teams. The Patriots won last week off of the huge special teams performance from Danny Amendola (and a little help from Brady), as he was able to give Brady and company such a short field to work with on the Patriots final drive. The Patriots punting and kicking units will need to be on point as they need to make Foles go the length of the field as much as possible and make him beat you. Even though everyone keeps saying the Patriots are heavy favorites, out of all 5 Tom Brady super bowl wins, 4 of them have been within 4 points, and one within 3. Eagles fans, your team’s chances are still great and it will be a great game till the end. The Patriots will be in their road white jerseys, as silly as it may seem, the team that has worn white for the super bowl has won 12 of the last 13, so the Patriots have that small phycological advantage. At the end of the day though as great as the Eagles coaching staff is, it’s the greatest coach-quarterback duo in NFL history against a backup QB.

Patriots 27-23 Eagles

Wyatt’s Take:

Two weeks ago, the championship games were decided, and now we are here. The Eagles are coming into Super Bowl Sunday riding the underdog train, against a Patriots team that never seizes to come back in big games, no matter the deficit. Against the Jaguars in the AFC Championship game, the Patriots were getting dominated for most of the first half. Until about midway through the third quarter, the game shifted, and the Patriots led by Tom Brady continued to make game winning, come from behind plays to cap off a 24-20 win. The Eagles on the other hand, looked as if they were going to lose handedly to the Vikings based off the first two drives, but once the Vikings went up 7-0, the Eagles rattled off 38 unanswered points en-route to an easy blowout win.

Led by their fantastically schemed offense and talented defense, the Eagles appear to be the more complete team heading into this one. Head coach and play caller Doug Pederson looks like he truly is comfortable with Nick Foles, and their defense’s depth allows them to fly around the field, like they did against the Vikings. Nonetheless, I just don’t think the Patriots can be picked to lose a Super Bowl. They’ve been there so many times before, and that does sound cliché, but it matters. The experience of heading into a media-hyped week unlike any other plays a factor in the matchup Sunday, and having the resilient and dominant team the Patriots have, I see them coming out with a close win this weekend. The Eagles defense led by Jim Schwartz is a great one. They are well coached and talented at all levels, but I do think they have some key weaknesses, like all defenses have. The secondary, although they played great against Minnesota, can be attacked, and if Tom Brady gets into his rhythm with guys like Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola, the inevitable Brandon Cooks big play is bound to happen. The Patriots do also have Gronk, who is a mismatch against any team, but I think the Eagles have the right personnel in Malcom Jenkins along with their talented middle linebackers to contain Rob Gronkowski. Now I do think the Eagles offense is going to be able to put up some points against the Patriots defense, a lot of that rests on Nick Foles’ shoulders, but the running game is also going to play a key factor in their success.

Patriots 34-30 Eagles

 Varun’s Take:

This Super Bowl pits two great teams against each other, the two number one seeds from each conference. The Patriots have the championship pedigree, but the Eagles have embraced the underdog mentality, something that should serve them well in this game. Their fierce pass rush should help them in this game as well. If you look at the last team that beat the Patriots in the playoffs, it was the 2015 Broncos, who beat up Brady with relentless pressure. The Eagles have seven guys in Brandon Graham, Chris Long, Derek Barnett, Vinny Curry, Fletcher Cox, Timmy Jernigan, and Beau Allen. That’s a great pass rushing group that should get incredible pressure against an average Patriots offensive line that has struggled at times this year. Look for the Patriots to run a quick-strike, horizontal passing offense similar to the one they ran with players like Julian Edelman and Wes Welker. On the other side, the Eagles can move the ball on the Patriots if Nick Foles can be an efficient game manager. If he can protect the football, avoid negative plays, and make open throws off play-action, the Eagles could have a chance to march down the field. In the red-zone however, the windows Foles will have to throw into will shrink, forcing him to make bigger plays. If he can make those plays, this game will swing towards the playoffs. These are two evenly matched teams, but at the end of the day, Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have the advantage in terms of experience, something that will lead them to their sixth Super Bowl title in a tight game.

Patriots 21-17

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Super Bowl Predictions