Often in sports and in life, we sometimes think about the ‘what ifs’. You can make a case that both teams have had their fair-share of ‘what if’s’. Starting with New England. What if Drew Bledsoe never gets hurt, what if the ‘tuck rule’ doesn’t exist and what if David Tyree drops that pass? Would the New England Patriots have the dynasty? As for the Eagles, what if Carson Wentz doesn’t get hurt, what if Nick Foles doesn’t return to Philly and what if LeGarette Blount and Chris Long stayed with the Patriots? All of these ‘what ifs’ have led us to the NOW.
In one corner, the greatest coach/quarterback combination in NFL history trying to win the franchise’s 6th Super Bowl since 2001. In the other corner, we have a band of ‘underdogs’ from the city of brotherly love, who are out to capture the franchise’s first championship since 1960. With the eyes of world watching, will see Tom Brady do it again and capture another Lombardi Trophy and add to his already legendary status or will the Cinderella story, which has been the Eagles, beat the odds again and FLY back to Philly with their first-ever Super Bowl trophy.
Here is what we need to watch for….
The Patriots have ruled that Rob Gronkowski will play after suffering a concussion during the Pats’ win over the Jags in the AFC Championship game. Though they lost Julian Edelman early in the season, Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan have stepped up big in Julian’s absence. Let’s not forget the Pats now have deep-threat Brandin Cooks. Tom Brady showed no signs of slowing down with the laceration he suffered in his hand that required some stitches. The biggest X-Factor for the Pats will be RB Dion Lewis, who is a factor not just in the rushing game, but in the passing game as well. Matt Patricia’s defense will try to do what they do best, play fundamentally sound football, limit the penalties and put pressure on Foles and make him make the big mistake.
The Eagles may have as many weapons as the Pats have. Foles will have Jay Ajayi and LeGarette Blount to carry the load to take the pressure off Foles. When Foles needs to throw, he will have some reliable targets like TE Zach Ertz and wideouts Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor and Torrey Smith. The Eagles boast one of the league’s best defenses. Eagles will hope that Fletcher Cox and Chris Long will be able to disrupt Tom Brady and the New England passing attack much like the Giants did in their two wins over the Pats in the Super Bowl. The Eagles have a very good secondary. It’s led by Malcolm Jenkins, Ronald Darby and Patrick Robinson and they will have their hands full, but have risen to the challenge all season long.
If Carson Wentz was playing, I would give a slight nod to the Eagles just because of how Wentz was playing before he went down with the ACL injury. Foles is a big question mark and we might not know what to expect from him. Meanwhile, Tom Brady is on the other side and even at the age 40, he is still playing like a MVP. That’s why I am going with the Patriots to win a close one, yet again.
Final Score Predictions:
Patriots 27 Eagles 23
MVP: Tom Brady