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Super Duel: Eagles Take On Patriots

Mill Woods

Posted on January 24, 2018 15:42

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The Philadelphia Eagles have exceeded everyone's expectations, capitalizing on their regular season success, which earned for them the NFC's number one seed and the coveted home field advantage. Now they face the strongest NFL team of the past 20 years: the New England Patriots.

The football world was mostly shocked by the convincing fashion in which the Philadelphia Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings. Although I picked the Eagles to win, I did not expect a blowout. The Eagles were hot on both offense and defense. Perhaps that was predictable — they finished the regular season ranked in the top 10 in both categories.

That balance by the Eagles bodes well for Super Sunday. I am hoping for a competitive game, not a blowout by either team — although it is unlikely to be as tight as last year's overtime Super Bowl game (the first ever).

The Eagles will need to play their best game to have a chance to defeat the only NFL team in the past 20 years that can legitimately be called a dynasty — the New England Patriots. In the AFC championship, I picked the Patriots to win, but their offense was even stronger than I expected against the tough Jacksonville Jaguar defense, especially after Patriots' star Rob Gronkowski left with a concussion for the second half. With the Super Bowl being held in Minnesota's enclosed stadium, the Patriot's fast offense will not be hampered by weather or a slow track.

I will not make a Super Bowl prediction just yet; I will save that for next week. I have correctly predicted 8 of the 10 playoff games, and am hoping to make it 9 of 11. But make no mistake about it: both teams have built a very strong case, making my choice difficult.

Why were the visiting Vikings favored over the Eagles by most experts? I think it was partly because during the regular season, the Eagles did not play as many top teams as the Vikings did. The Vikings played five teams that ended up in the playoffs: the Saints, Steelers, Rams, Falcons and Panthers.  he Eagles, in the regular season, competed against just three teams that went on to the playoffs: the Chiefs, Panthers and Rams. That fact, plus the Vikings' stout defense, probably helped convince many that the Vikings would overcome the Eagles' advantage in the cold and noise of Philadelphia.  

But, the week before, the Vikings looked slow and flat against the Saints — perhaps a sign of trouble. A miracle saved the Vikings from a home loss, but nothing could save them from the onslaught of the amped-up Eagles. Philly's playoff success was certainly helped by home field advantage — particularly their narrow win over the speedy Falcons on a windy day and a slippery field.  

Looking ahead to next season, the Eagles will face the entire NFC South — the NFL's strongest division with three playoff teams that won 10 games or more. Add the Rams and Vikings, plus the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans — two playoff teams from the AFC South — and perhaps you can see why I feel that the Eagles are unlikely to repeat as the NFC's top seed.  

Better capitalize on this year's good fortune. 

Mill Woods

Posted on January 24, 2018 15:42

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Source: KSDK

Some local high schools have gotten commemorative footballs from the NFL to celebrate Super Bowl 50.

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