Here we are at the last game of the season! At what point did anyone think that the Philadelphia Eagles would be sitting in this position opposite the New England Patriots after the loss of Carson Wentz? There is no way anyone would have had the Minnesota Vikings missing out on a chance to be the first team to play for a Super Bowl in their own stadium. How about the amazing opportunity that the Jacksonville Jaguars had to keep the New England Patriots from a possible shot to win a sixth Super Bowl ring? Yet, here we are with two teams trying to make history in their own rights. One for a record tying six Super Bowl wins. Another for a first ever Super Bowl win. For my final pick of the season, here is how I am looking at the game.
PHILADELPHIA EAGLES VS NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS:
Let's start with the Philadelphia Eagles. This is the Cinderella story of the season. Philadelphia has gone from the bottom of the NFC East to the cream of the NFC crop. Everyone thought that the injury to QB Carson Wentz in week 14 would have the Eagles in a downward spiral for the rest of the season. With their record, the playoffs were a lock. Without Wentz, playing for the Super Bowl may not have been. Let's be honest, no one had that much faith in a quarterback that had one fantastic season back in 2013. In most cases like this, even the other players would drop back in production not having the leader they were used to at the helm. Not in Philly. Everyone stepped up and the coaching staff made the necessary adjustments to fit Foles's skillset. Defense will definitely be the key to a successful outcome for the Eagles. They will count on the likes of Brandon Graham (an import form Buffalo), Fletcher Cox on the strong left side and Chris Long, Vinny Curry, and Timmy Jernigan on the weaker right side. New England will try to exploit this weaker side, especially with the Nigel Bradham matchup against Dion Lewis. Malcolm Jenkins will be masking his blitzes against Tom Brady and make his presence known early. Offense will have it's share of success as well. Running the ball will be Philly's best bet with Jay Ajayi. There is no doubt that TE Zach Ertz and WR Alshon Jeffery will be making big plays against a not so impressive New England defense. The game plan should be to keep Tom Brady from getting the ball off quickly and keeping him off the field. There could be a real chance that the Eagles bring home their first Lombardi trophy.
Now, the New England Patriots. There key to success is head coach Bill Belichick. That is right. Sure the greatest of all time quarterback is playing for him, but it is all his planning and analyzing that is keeping the Pats alive. Let's face it, the Patriots have been here before. Eight times to be exact. They have walked away five time winners. Will they tie it up with the Pittsburgh Steelers with six? They are certainly hoping so. New England has not had one of the best seasons they have ever had, but nonetheless, they are playing for another championship. Defense has been their weakest link this season. Lucky for them, the offense has been awesome. TE Rob Gronkowski has been cleared from the concussion protocol to participate in the big game. This lightens the load on Danny Amendola, Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, and Dion Lewis. The plan is to get the ball out of Brady's hands as soon as possible. The Eagles will be rushing with force. The Pats defense is not as strong, but do no count them out to make a play here and there as well. Malcolm Butler, Patrick Chung, and Devin McCourty cover well and will make it difficult for Torrey Smith, Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, and Nelson Agholor. Trey Flowers and Eric Lee on the ends will be after Nick Foles without a doubt if not covered. There is no comparison to the way that Tom Brady thinks and executes though. The stitches have been removed from his hand and there seem to be no ill effects. He will make the throws necessary to keep New England on top.
This will be a close game. There is too much at stake for both teams. Records and history will be made one way or another tonight.
New England Patriots
I made this pick with my emotions more than the stats, film and/or history. There is something about Philadelphia getting their first Super Bowl win that I just cannot wrap my mind around. At the same time, I do not want New England to have another ring. When it came down to it, I would rather see the Pats with six than the Eagles with one. That is terrible, but that is how I am calling it.
Thank you all for following me this season. This was my first time making weekly picks in a blog. I enjoyed it even though at times it was a bit rough getting it out. Look for my recap of the 2017-2018 NFL season after the Super Bowl. I look forward to this again next year. As always, good luck to your teams and picks!
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