Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots
Sunday 2/4 @ 6:30 PM on NBC
Here we go folks, the most anticipated game of the year, the Super Bowl. Honestly I don’t expect this to be a thrilling, close game. I think for most of the game it’s close, but you’re going to know who’s going to win from watching the fist quarter. The key match-ups in this one are pretty clear cut. The Patriots offensive-line vs the Eagles defensive-line, and the Eagles running backs vs the Patriots linebackers. Without further delay here’s what I think the win conditions for each team are.
Philadelphia’s win condition: As I stated above the Eagles defensive line is going to control their fate in this game, if they can get pressure on Brady and disrupt his game flow they might be able to win. However that’s not all they’re going to need to do. In the defensive backfield they’re going to have to disrupt Brandin Cooks at the line of scrimmage to avoid the deep throws, and they can’t give up the short passes out of the backfield either. Offensively the Eagles are going to have to get their running backs going. If Jay Ajayi can get involved early he can make a big impact on the game in regards to their game plan. With the run game going the Eagles can then use their run pass option plays which Jacksonville was killing the Patriots with early in the AFC championship game. Overall the Eagles are going to need to stick to their game plan and not get complacent if they have a lead. Also they can’t give the ball over to the Patriots and Brady with good field position because they will surely take advantage of their opportunities.
New England’s win condition: The Patriots have a few things they need to improve on from last week if they want to beat the Eagles. First of all their linebackers need to stick to their assignments. Last week the Jags were killing New England early on with run options, play action, and passes out of the backfield. Part of that was because they were not sticking to their assignments and the Jags were exploiting the holes in the defense. Offensively they are going to need to find ways to keep Brady from being pressured. Personally I’d like to see them take advantage of the screen game as well as the double back sets where Brady gets more protection. If they can force Philly to play coverage instead of blitzing, Brady can find the holes in the defense through coverages or bad match ups with Gronk/White. Overall the Patriots have to not get exploited on defense early on, and if they do they need to be able to adjust like they did last week vs the Jaguars.
My pick: Patriots 31 Eagles 26. This is going to be a game of numbers, specifically turnovers. The team with less mistakes is going to win this game, and I think it will be the Patriots. The Pats will start slow like most of their games this year, maybe fall behind a couple scores, but when they figure out what they need to do to win, they’re going to do it. The Eagles won’t be able to react to these adjustments in time and the game will most likely end with a Nick Foles turnover. Ultimately I think Brady and Belichick get their 6th ring, further cementing themselves into NFL history as some of the greatest to grace the sport that is football.
Written by: Jon Tetreault ( @jtetreault13 )