Sunday, January 28, 2018

2017-18 NFL playoff predictions (Part 4 – Super Bowl)

This is it. The Super Bowl, the final duel, the duel of the fates. After an action-packed series of playoff games, the final showdown is set for Super Bowl 52 in Minneapolis:

New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles 

This is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX, when the Patriots defeated the Eagles 24-21 back in 2005. The Eagles have not won a Super Bowl, having appeared and lost in both Super Bowl XV and XXXIX. The Patriots have finally returned to the Super Bowl for the third time in four years.

How the Patriots reached the Super Bowl

After their astounding comeback win against the Atlanta Falcons (also known as the Atlanta IT WAS 28-3s), the Patriots enjoyed another successful regular season, finishing with a 13-3 record. Aside from a trio of losses to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Carolina Panthers, and the Miami Dolphins, the Patriots asserted their dominance once again this season. The Patriots demolished the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Divisional game, but suddenly the Patriots struggled against the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game. Not an issue for Tom Brady, as the Patriots roared back from a ten-point deficit to win 24-20 and ensured the Patriots will appear in back-to-back Super Bowls.

How the Patriots can win the Super Bowl

You see what the Vikings did in the NFC Championship game? Don’t do that. The Patriots need to stop the Eagles’ rushing attack lest Jay Ajayi break through and charge for the endzone. The Patriots also need to break through the Eagles’ seemingly unbreakable offensive line and neutralize Nick Foles before he can make big plays. As always, the Patriots can count on Tom Brady to work his magic; if the Patriots O-line holds strong, Brady will have no trouble outmaneuvering the Eagles defense.

How the Eagles reached the Super Bowl

The Eagles finished first in the NFC with a 13-3 record. The Eagles were almost unstoppable through the regular season, losing games only to the Kansas City Chiefs, the Seattle Seahawks, and the Dallas Cowboys. Aside from the losses, the Eagles dominated all on fronts, boasting the best offensive line in the league and posting 457 points, third only to the Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots. In the playoffs, the Eagles maintained a strong defense to defeat the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in the NFC Divisional game, and then annihilated the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship game. The Eagles have fallen twice before in the Super Bowl to the Raiders (XV) and the Patriots (XXXIX); on this day, they will accept nothing less than a Super Bowl victory.

How the Eagles can win the Super Bowl

Unless this turns into a rout reminiscent of Super Bowl XLVIII, the Eagles are unlikely to repeat their performance against the Vikings. The Eagles can count on a balanced attack of rushing and passing to overrun the Patriots defense. If the Eagles can maintain the strength of their offensive line, Nick Foles will have no problems. The most serious problem for the Eagles is Tom Brady; if they can’t stop him, this game is over in a hurry. Brady and the Patriots roared back from a 28-3 deficit in Super Bowl 51, so the Eagles cannot underestimate their opponents; the Patriots will exploit any weaknesses they can find. The Eagles must find a way to neutralize Brady and force the Patriots to make costly mistakes, both of which are nearly insurmountable tasks. Nick Foles and the Eagles need to play at their absolute best if they want their first Super Bowl win. If all else fails, the Eagles can dress up as the New York Giants.


I do not expect a repeat of last year’s chaotic Super Bowl, but I do still expect another high-scoring affair with touchdowns galore from Brady and Foles. Strong defenses from both teams will ensure the game does not turn into a runaway affair. Once again, the Super Bowl will be a battle to the brink, but only one team will stand this day.

And once again, it will be New England.

Patriots win, 34-24

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