Fifty-eight years is a really long time, especially when you compare it to just one year. Both the Eagles and Patriots enter Super Bowl LII with much different attitudes. The Patriots, an annual powerhouse fresh off their fifth title in fifteen years, are trying to do the unheard of by winning six Super Bowls under one coaching staff. The Eagles, a fanbase part of the greatest money making division in professional sports are still awaiting their first Super Bowl, yet hold their own in terms of pride and legacy within the NFL. This is a normal occurrence for the Patriots, but for Philadelphia, this might be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Fifty-Eight years is a really long time, but Eagles fans are the ones that can best deal with it. For that, I credit them.
I did well on picks during Conference Championship week with a 2-0 record, nailing both the Eagles and Patriots picks. Alas, it is much to late for me to improve this year as my season record has dipped from last year’s 170-95-2 record (0.642). This year, at 163-103 (0.613), picks have been a struggle. However, I can still finish with a winning record in the playoffs if I get the Super Bowl pick right. Currently at 5-5, I still underachieved compared to a 10-1 playoff record last year. Anyways, let’s pick Super Bowl LII.
Super Bowl LII – Minneapolis, Minnesota
#1 Philadelphia Eagles (13-3) @ #1 New England Patriots (13-3) 6:30 NBC
Nick Foles has been called the ‘indicator player’ for this game. His play will decide the outcome. Foles, fresh off one of his greatest performances against Minnesota, has a Rex Grossman-esque feel to him. Just like Grossman, he deserves to play in the Super Bowl, but can he perform at a high level during it? This is where the two split, as Grossman was never going to win Super Bowl XLI, but Foles can win this game. However, he won’t be the reason Philly wins, or loses. The Patriots aren’t worried about Nick Foles, he’s not Superman by any stretch. New England will approach this game defensively in one of two ways. One, shut down the Eagles run game and force Foles to make plays in the pocket, and give opportunities to the Eagles’ elite receiving corps, or Two, cover the receivers up, and see if Philly can run their way to a title. Either way, I think Foles will be the medium in this game. Foles is not going to kill the Eagles with costly turnovers, but I don’t expect him to torch the secondary like he did two weeks ago either. Due to that being a worry though, I think Bill Belichick will focus his defensive efforts more on the skills of Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey. The Eagles will run the football well, but will they stick with it? Andy Reid and his underlings, like Doug Pederson, tend to get pass happy when calling plays in big games. The Eagles’ offensive coaching staff must stay patient, and take whatever the defense gives them. In this case, it’s running between the tackles with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi. Tom Brady and company will struggle early on with the genius of Jim Schwartz’s defense, and the Eagles will find themselves winning. Like most Patriots Super Bowls, Tom Brady will have to lead a comeback. The Eagles up 11 points, start to get confident, and back come the Patriots. In an almost helpless hour for Eagles fans, Brady will tear up the Eagles secondary, and what was once a 21-10 lead, will become a 28-28 stalemate. The mismatch between the Eagles’ cover linebackers and the Patriots’ pass-catching running backs will be detrimental to Philadelphia. However, unlike Matt Ryan and the Falcons, the Eagles do not panic. Philadelphia has the veteran leadership that Atlanta lacked. After giving up a big lead, the Eagles slowly start to move the football. The top offensive line in football is able to fend off a fired up Patriots’ pass rush as Foles has enough time to go through progressions and deliver the football downfield. This offensive line is something that Atlanta missed big time in last year’s Super Bowl, and was the likely cause of their demise. At around midfield with time ticking down, Foles hits Alshon Jeffrey on a comeback route going out of bounds. This play is very similar to the one ran by Carson Wentz in week 3 against the Giants to beat New York, and at halftime by Foles against Atlanta in the Divisional Round. Once again Jeffrey makes the play, and Jake Elliot boots through the three most important points in Philadelphia sports history. Finally the NFC East can say it is the greatest division of all time, as it is the first in the NFL to have all four teams win a Super Bowl. Alshon Jeffrey takes home MVP honors, as he quietly makes up for most of the Eagles’ passing offense.
Pick: Eagles 31, Patriots 28
Photo Credit: Yes I can draw
All Rights Reserved – Nick Merriam – 2018