The big game is finally here. The Patriots and Eagles will square off in an epic bout Sunday in Minnesota for the Lombardi Trophy. It’ll be Tom Brady looking to win an unprecedented sixth Super Bowl while Philadelphia is trying for its first in franchise history.
Our staff here at Niners Wire has made their brilliant predictions for the world to see. Whoever picks the game correctly will get a statue built outside our headquarters, in their pose of choice, and a lifetime supply of peach citrus Fresca. Bad predictions will lead to a Walk of Atonement from San Pedro Square to Levi’s Stadium and back on Valentines Day.
The Patriots are five-point favorites, according to Bovada, as of this posting. To the picks!
The Patriots sustained dominance is hard to bet against. Assuming tight end Rob Gronkowski is completely healthy following a concussion in the AFC Championship game, Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will have to be creative in how he deals with such a physically dominant downfield threat. The Eagles’ linebackers don’t have the speed or technique to handle Gronkowski in man. If the safeties are expected to deal with Gronk, then Danny Amendola and James White will likely be matched up against linebackers. In either case, it’s a losing proposition. Throw in the best head coach of all time and I’ll take the Patriots, 27-17.
The biggest stage in football has become commonplace for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The vast majority of the Patriots roster pulled of the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history last season. The Eagles were impressive while stamping out a jaded Vikings team, but they can’t account for the experience New England brings to the table. And forgive me if I’m not ready to put my faith in Nick Foles. Patriots, 24-17.
The Patriots struggled with the Jaguars, and the Eagles can do what the Jags do offensively but at a much higher level. There’s a universe where the Eagles go up three scores and manage to not blow it. There’s also a universe where Nick Foles and the Eagles never make out of the divisional round after nearly losing to Atlanta. That performance, along with some other clunkers at the end of the season, are sticking out much more than their stellar NFC championship game. It’ll take a perfect game from the Eagles to dethrone the Patriots and I don’t think we’ll get that from them. Patriots, 27-24.
The Patriots’ defense has struggled throughout the season mostly because of an un-athletic front seven that matches up poorly with the Eagles’ talented offensive line. Philadelphia hasn’t had to pare down the offensive playbook with Foles replacing Carson Wentz – and its defense is one of the three best in the NFL. It can match Brady’s no-huddle attack by rotating through an incredibly deep D-line that poses the biggest threat to New England’s repeat bid. The Pats will be playing a backup at right tackle in LaAdrian Waddle or Cameron Fleming with Marcus Cannon on injured reserve. That’s a bad formula against these Eagles. Brady is the greatest quarterback of all time but Philadelphia has the best roster in the NFL top to bottom. Julian Edelman’s absence is finally going to rear its head. I’m going against the grain and picking the upset, fully expecting an angry 41-year-old Brady to come back and light the league on fire next year after his third Super Bowl loss to an NFC East team. Philadelphia won’t have a team next year because the city will collapse into itself at 2:36 a.m. Monday. The underdog is 8-2 straight up in the last 10 Super Bowls. Eagles, 23-19.