Jibber Jabber: 53 and 3 – Super Bowl LII Preview

Opinion

Chad T. Jones, Public Affairs Officer

Welcome to Super Bowl Week, Jabber Nation!

As promised, we’ll get into the matchup between the hated, but great, New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles, who are just hated greatly.

The obvious answer to the question of who will win is New England. They are in their record 10th Super Bowl and gunning for their record-tying sixth Lombardi Trophy. The Steelers have six, and Pats are currently tied with the Cowboys and 49ers with five titles.

They have the greatest — and best looking — quarterback of all time: Michigan grad Tom Brady.

They have the greatest coach in football history: “The Hoodie” Bill Belichick.

And some will strongly argue, they have the greatest group of refs the league could provide.

So I guess that means the preview is over and I can go on about how great Das EFX’s 1992 album “Dead Serious” is and how the song, “They Want EFX,” is on my top-25 list. (Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics)

One of the songs on that album is “Straight out the Sewer,” which is where several members of the Eagles fan base comes from (minus Mr. Tony Davis, who is one of the nicest men I’ve met). The city is great with outstanding food, museums and a big bell.

More relevant to the topic, and as much as this hurts to write, this year’s Philadelphia Eagles team is on the verge of greatness.

Team is a key word when describing this year’s Eagles, who have swept through the playoffs in spite of losing all-pro QB and MVP candidate Carson Wentz in Week 14.

CBS Sports rated the top players in this year’s game, and seven of the top 10 players are on the Eagles’ 53-man roster, along with 12 of the top 20.

The top-rated postseason quarterback ever, Nick Foles, is the 30th-ranked player in Sunday’s game. True, Foles has only started three playoff games, but in those games he’s 72 of 96 (75 percent) for 793 yards, five touchdowns, zero interceptions. His 116.3 rating is the highest in post-season history for a QB with at least 90 passing attempts.

For those of you who know a bit about football history, see former Giants QB Jeff Hostetler.

More than Foles, the reason Philadelphia can win is they are great in the two places where teams must be good if they want to beat New England: defensive line and offensive line.

Michigan Man Brandon Graham, along with fellow D-linemen Fletcher Cox and Vinny Curry, are more than good enough to get consistent pressure on Brady — the only thing Tom Terrific hasn’t been able to overcome in the Super Bowl. (See Brady’s two losses against the New York Giants.)

Offensively, center Jason Kelce, guard Brandon Brooks and tackle Lane Johnson are stellar, especially in the run game, which Philly will need if they want to limit Brady’s touches.

Another thing the Eagles can perch on is the fact that New England finds a way to keep things close in the Super Bowl.

The combined point differential in Brady and Belichick’s seven previous Super Bowls is 26 points. The largest margin of victory was 6 points in last year’s game, which New England famously won with a touchdown in overtime.

So chances are, this game will be close. The key will be if Philadelphia’s second-year coach Doug Pederson keeps the pressure on New England throughout the game. More times than not, New England has come back because their opponents decided to protect their lead instead of grow it.

It’s easier said than done – just ask Atlanta – which is why the Patriots are on the cusp of becoming the greatest team in NFL history.

Final score: New England, 32 – Philadelphia, 30

MVP: Tom Brady

If you have comments on this or anything to do with sports, contact me at chad.t.jones.civ@mail.mil or hit me up on Twitter @CTJibber.

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