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Super Bowl LII Predictions: Eagles Have What it Takes

Mill Woods

Posted on January 31, 2018 17:16

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The New England Patriots are a postseason fixture, while the Philadelphia Eagles have been out of contention for many years. But things change quickly, especially in the NFC. The Eagles are now a powerhouse as well, so Sunday's Super Bowl promises to be a thriller. In a contest that I think is 'too close to call', I give a slight edge to the Eagles.

Picking this year's Super Bowl champion is no easier than it was last year. Everyone is familiar with the Patriots, but the Eagles - this season's red hot NFC team - have been out of contention for many years. Philly now has the players and coaches needed to compete with the best.  

These two teams are remarkably similar, in that both offenses ranked in the top 5 in scoring in the regular season. Their defenses were both in the top 5 in preventing other teams from scoring. Those are the statistics I find most useful. By those measures, the two teams are evenly matched.  

The Patriots played the tougher schedule in the regular season. They won 5 of 7 games against teams that ended up in the playoffs - the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Eagles won 2 of 3 matches versus teams strong enough to make this year's playoffs - the Chiefs, Panthers and Los Angeles Rams.

However, I feel that the Eagles' two playoff victories - over the Falcons and Minnesota Vikings - were more impressive than the Patriots' wins over the Tennessee Titans and the Jacksonville Jaguars.

It is my thought that we could be watching Hall of Fame QB Tom Brady in his last Super Bowl appearance. If nothing else, that idea makes me want to not miss a second of this epic battle. Patriot Head Coach Bill Belichick is a master at adjusting to the tactics of different teams, and I feel that the Patriots' unfamiliarity with the Eagles will require smart adjusting throughout the game. Brady is a master at countering pass pressure, and he will surely need that skill against one of the NFL's more deadly pass rushes.

For the Eagles, all eyes will be on QB Nick Foles, but I am not as concerned as some about Foles making mistakes. I certainly believe that Foles is fallible if he gets too much pass pressure, but I believe that could be said about any QB in the NFL. The Falcons showed last February that getting sacks and turnovers against Brady can be done. I think it almost goes without saying that turnovers could swing the outcome one way or the other.  

But if a large turnover differential doesn't swing the match, I think the difference will be big plays. More than watching to see how Foles handles the pressure, I will be paying a lot of attention to the play of the Eagles' talented running backs and receivers. These playmakers could blow the game open for the Eagles.  

While the Patriots are one of the NFL's strongest and most consistent teams, I give a slight edge to the Eagles because of the extraordinary talent of their playmakers. No predictions on the score, but I suspect it will be a close one.

Mill Woods

Posted on January 31, 2018 17:16

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