I had this whole blog written up about today’s game, and it got erased thanks to an error, so screw it, I am keeping it short and simple.
The Eagles have an awesome defense. They rank in the Top 5 in overall defense, passing, and rushing yards allowed. Their front is awesome, and they can put pressure on a quarterback without having to blitz.
The Patriots defense ranks near the middle-to-bottom half in the league, yet, they don’t care much about stats, only about putting up a W at the end of the day, and they are very good about that. Very good about keying on a team’s best weapon and somehow taking him away or at least, containing him.
The Eagles offense was on a roll all season long until Carson Wentz got hurt, then they went into survival mode, that is, until the NFC Championship game when Nick Foles air-raided the Vikings defense.
The Patriots offense has their moments. Other than the amazing 1st quarter they had against the New Orleans Saints, they typically start off very slow and tend to pick things up in the second half.
A couple of quick notes:
1- The Patriots have never scored in the 1st quarter of any Tom Brady Super Bowl…that will change today.
2- The Eagles “underdog” mentality aids in their mentality for this game. It almost turns into a “we’ve got nothing to lose” game plan, which could lead to trick plays and all-out pass rushes.
3- Coaching, coaching, coaching. Atlanta failed last season to simply run the ball two more times after getting inside the Pats 25-yard line, which would have meant a field goal attempt and a possible 31-20 lead with about three or so minutes to play. The Patriots exploited the running back-linebacker mismatch as James White went crazy out of the backfield.
This is what wins these games. Coaching, preparedness, and eliminating mental mistakes, like dropped passes, penalties, and bad play calling.
I mentioned in my Playoff Predictions that I didn’t think Philly would beat anybody with Foles or Sudfeld, and this wasn’t so much because of their play, but because of the teams they were likely playing in the playoffs (Atlanta and later Minnesota), and I admit, I was WRONG. Big time.
But the Vikings and Falcons aren’t the Patriots. New England has a history of keying on a team’s best weapon and either taking him out of the game plan, or boxing him in. The Pats will key on Zach Ertz and Alshon Jeffrey and you’ll probably even see Patriots cornerback Eric Rowe cover Ertz a little bit.
For the Eagles, they’ll have to deal with all of Brady’s weapons, including Rob Gronkowski, who returns after missing most of the conference title game with a concussion. And that’s a matchup problem, along with Hogan, Cooks, Amendola, White, Lewis, Burkhead (assuming he plays).
Bottom line, it’s coaching and execution. I think this will be the first Super Bowl that the Patriots and Tom Brady win by at least 7-points. It won’t be pretty, not at all, but I believe, they’ll win.
Pats 24, Eagles 16
Enjoy the Super Bowl!