With the understanding that Super Bowl LII has been, “talked to death,” by now, here’s our quick indicators of who is likely going to or has won, between the defending champion Patriots and the Eagles.
Here we go with three such things:
– As we laid out prior to the AFC Championship game two weeks ago, the Dolphins blueprint, as the last team to defeat New England should be considered. They did so on Monday Night Football in December in Miami and in large part with their front seven, and specifically front four pass rushers constantly pressuring QB Tom Brady and making him uncomfortable.
The Jaguars had success in spots at getting hits and sacks on the future Hall of Famer, but in the end, New England did a much better job of protecting Brady as the game went wound into the fourth quarter. That’s when he had time to make short and intermediate throws and eventually got the Patriots in the end zone twice for the go ahead scores and eventually, the win.
Can Fletcher Cox, Vinny Curry, Chris Long, Derek Barnett, etc. create pass rush without having to blitz very much? If they get 10+ pressures, knockdowns, sacks as this game goes on, Philly has likely won their first Super Bowl.
– Next, self inflicted mistakes will decide this one. One thing that is common in Patriot victories or if you choose, their opponent’s losses. New England does not beat themselves. They almost never fumble, they rarely have false starts, Brady delay of games, jump offsides, commit unnecessary roughness personal fouls, etc.
In short, if you are going to beat them, you have to play a “clean” or close to it game.
Go back to the Jags two weeks ago. They did a lot of things right.
But, when QB Blake Bortles got a key delay of game on a critical 3rd down (after a timeout, no less) that stopped a drive in Pats territory that could have upped their 14-3 lead. It was self inflicted. They punted, New England got the benefit of the personal foul on Barry Church’s hit on Rob Gronkowski and then a pass interference on Brandin Cooks running long and it set them up for an easy TD to get right back in the game.
The Eagles must stay away from most, if not all, silly penalties, turnovers or lapses. It’s death, if they do not, because the best coached team in football will not make those mistakes, and they will take advantage of yours and beat you.
– Finally, there is no bigger guarantee of who wins this game than if it’s on the line in the final moments, the Patriots will find a way. (See Danny Amendola above for reference.)
The biggest obvious example is last February and the miraculous comeback from down 25 points in the second half against the Falcons to win their fifth Super Bowl. However, as referenced above, they did so just two weeks ago against the Jags.
In fact, those two comebacks are part of 11 such come from behind wins by Brady and New England in the fourth quarter of a post season game, since their amazing championship run started 16 years ago.
If Philadelphia gives Brady and the offense the chance, it’s over. The Pats, led by the best in the clutch in the post season ever, Brady, will find a way to score and win.
Get the lead. Keep scoring and run the clock while doing it. Most of all, don’t give hope to #12.
Ask the Jags, ask the Falcons. Ask, any of the victims littered on the path to the Lombardi trophy, you will lose in this scenario.
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