When Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Carson Wentz tore his ACL, it looked like Philly was done for. Now, they are anything but. When Wentz was healthy, they were a force to be reckoned with. They had both the defense and the offense. When they were to play the Minnesota Vikings, most people, (including me) thought there was just no way. Critics of Nick Foles—the Eagles’ backup QB—said that there was no way an inexperienced playoff QB could beat a team as good as the Vikings. The final score was 38-7. Eagles. The Philly police put Crisco on the street poles to prevent the fans from climbing them, but that didn’t stop them. The fans climbed on the poles and celebrated for hours.
The Patriots also had a tough path to get to Super Bowl LII. First, they played the Tennessee Titans. It did not go well for the Titans. The Titans lost, 35-14. Then, the Jacksonville Jaguars. Many people were surprised that the Steelers lost to the Jags. The Jags then trolled the Steelers for looking ahead to the Patriots. The Jaguars’ main offensive weapon is rookie running back Leonard Fournette. Their defense is amazing. Their secondary, dubbed the “Jackson 5” has Barry Church, Tashaun Gipson, Aaron Colvin, A.J. Bouye, AND Jalen Ramsey. Their D-line has Malik Jackson, Calais Campbell, and Yannick Ngakoue. They also have Paul Posluszny, Myles Jack, and Telvin Smith as linebackers. In all, that defense is fast, young, and lethal. The Jaguars were a tough opponent t0 beat. The Pats were down 14-10 at the half and faced a double digit deficit. A touchdown catch by Danny Amendola, a key swat by Stephon Gilmore, and a game-sealing run by Dion Lewis gave the Patriots the W.
Next, I will break down the offense, defense and special teams into categories and give one team an advantage for each category.
Rushing: Both teams have decent rushing attacks, though neither has a workhorse running back (like Todd Gurley II). I would give just a teeny edge to the Eagles with Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount on that one.
Passing: The Patriots have Tom Brady. The Eagles have an injured Carson Wentz. And a healthy Nick Foles. With Carson Wentz, (the healthy kind) I would say Brady by a little. Now, Brady wins by a lot.
D-line: Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are hard to beat, and Tre Flowers, Alan Branch, and Deatrich Wise just don’t do it for me. I’d give this one to Philly.
Linebackers: With the addition of ex-Steeler James Harrison, and Dont’a Hightower, New England gets this one. The Eagles do have a strong linebacker team with Jordan Hicks and Danell Ellerbe, though.
Secondary: Though the Patriots have Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler, I’m going to give Jalen Mills, Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod the nod for this one.
Kickers and Punters: Jake Elliot (Eagles) and Stephen Gostkowski (Patriots) are basically tied, but adding in Donnie Jones (Eagles) and Ryan Allen (Patriots) give the Eagles the advantage here.
Returners: Amendola and Dion Lewis (Patriots) are both better-than-average returners. The Eagles just don’t have anyone like that. Advantage: Patriots.
While the Eagles look like they have more advantages, for me there is only one factor: The Eagles containing Tom Brady. The Eagles have more individual categories, but Tom Brady on a great night will erase all of that. If they contain Brady, they have a better-than-average chance.