Brady will claim sixth ring, lead New England to Super Bowl title over Philadelphia

If you were to show me the matchups for the championship weekend in the NFL, I probably wouldn’t have believed you. Jacksonville versus Tom Brady and the unbeatable Patriots: “That’s not going to go well,” I would’ve told you. Vikings and Eagles sound a little more believable if it were a wildcard matchup.

The Eagles, a team who nobody expected to make it past the second round after their quarterback went down for the season, manhandled the Vikings. Case Keenum, who needed to show the world he wasn’t afraid of the spotlight, wasn’t able to overthrow the charging Eagles defense. The Eagles squelched the Vikings’ early lead and never looked back.

Brady once again brought back the Patriots from a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter. Jacksonville, who gave the Pats a scare all game, was the better team until they needed to be.

Minnesota will be packed with Philadelphians and New Englanders, priming US Bank stadium to be both an entertaining game from the stands and the field.

The Eagles all season were regarded as favorites until Carson Wentz went down with an ACL tear. Wentz was the lifeblood of the team. The second year was the MVP front-runner and was expected to lead his team to the Super Bowl.

Now in comes Nick Foles. The quarterback from Arizona hasn’t been good since his 27 touchdowns in 2013. He never really stood out in his four performances leading up to the playoffs. He only reached a 90 passer rating once, but only threw two interceptions.

Against the Falcons in the divisional round, Foles showed flashes of the 2013 season. He threw for 246 yards and only seven incompletions, earning himself an even 100 passer rating.

But against the Vikings is where he really showed out. In the rout, Foles passed for 352 yards, three touchdowns and averaged 10 yards per pass. The Vikings defense is highly touted, and Foles picked them apart like he was playing back at Arizona.

And while Foles is a huge part of the Eagles succeeding, Philly’s defense has been nothing short of overachieving either. The Eagles’ defense, with Foles at the helm, have kept the game low scoring and close — exactly what the offense needs. To prevent Brady from torching the corners and lacing the orders, Philadelphia’s D-line is essential.

Jacksonville was able to get to Brady quick, limiting his options downfield and forcing the ball to the outside. It was either a screen pass for a few yards or an impossible sideline catch that was well defended by the corners.

The only problem is that the Patriots adapted. They started running weird flea flickers and elaborate screens. The Eagles will most likely play their defense like the Jags, but unlike the Jags, the Eagles need to keep the pressure on Brady and the receivers. If they let up like the Falcons, we might be facing another 25-point comeback.

The Patriots are a familiar face when it comes to February football. Brady seems unbeatable on the big stage, and Tom Belichick is never fazed. It’s hard to find holes in the Patriots, even when they aren’t as strong as they once were, but if they do have one weakness, it would be defense.

The Patriots have the 30th best passing defense and the 20th best rush defense. Good news is Foles isn’t your average, seasoned quarterback. Even though the Pats’ defense is the worst of the two, if the Patriots offense can keep up with the Eagles offense, I don’t see why the defense would hold them back.

The Patriots have a halo of clutchness that surrounds them wherever they go. No matter if they are down 25 in the second half or down 10 going into the fourth, the Patriots best quality is finding ways to get it down. They are either the luckiest team in the league, or Belichick knows what he’s doing.

It’s hard to bet against the Patriots. They always seem to squirm away from tight situations with a win in their hands. I think the Eagles are a better team. They have better players in almost every position except for quarterback, but that quarterback is also one of the greatest winners in the history of sports. As much as it pains me to say it, the Patriots will win Super Bowl 52.

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