Super Sunday

The editors give you their Super Bowl LII final score predictions

By on January 31, 2018

Logan Reardon – Sports Editor:

Nothing compares to Super Bowl Sunday. The anticipation. The excitement. The friends. The family.

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But when your team is in the big game? Well, that raises everything to another level.

Now, I’ve been blessed with the team I root for. The Patriots are going to their NFL-record 10th Super Bowl (eight of my lifetime), and every time feels like the first. It’s truly remarkable.

Even after the “turmoil” described in the ESPN article by Seth Wickersham, the Patriots only got stronger. Two playoff games, two convincing wins. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft sure looked like they were getting along fine after another comeback victory in their seventh straight AFC Championship game.

On the other side, there’s the Philadelphia Eagles, a team that nobody expected would be here before the season began. It started with likely MVP quarterback Carson Wentz leading them to an NFL-best 11-2 record before tearing his ACL.

Eagles fans were so confident early in the season. They had plenty of reason to be. Wentz was balling and that defense looked unbeatable. But with Wentz’s injury came the end to all that premature coronation.

The Eagles were presumed to be dead. They finished the regular season 2-1 with unconvincing wins over the lowly Giants and Raiders and un ugly 6-0 home loss to the Cowboys. But backup quarterback Nick Foles has stepped up in every way imaginable in Philadelphia’s two postseason wins.

That leads us to Brady vs. Foles in Super Bowl LII.

So, who wins?

It’s not as easy as it seems on paper. The greatest coach and quarterback of all time against a backup quarterback? Doesn’t seem like it should be all that close. But it will be.

Philadelphia has one of the best defenses in the NFL. They will make plays, no doubt. Guys like Chris Long (a former Patriot), Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Jenkins are all game-changing defensive players that will give the Patriots problems.

The Eagles offense looked unstoppable against a previously vaunted Minnesota defense in the NFC Title game. Foles seemed like a guy that could absolutely win a Super Bowl.

In the end, the game will come down to the turnover battle. If New England takes care of the ball, it should handle Philadelphia.

In the first three quarters of their last two Super Bowls, the Patriots turned the ball over four times and were outscored 52-23. The Patriots won the fourth quarter and overtime of those games by a combined score of 39-0.

Take care of the ball and strike early and the Patriots will be in great shape.

And as a Patriots fan, I know we get no pity, and I know that everybody outside of New England will be rooting vehemently for a Patriots loss. But man, I really want another Super Bowl.

The pick? Patriots 28, Eagles 20. Brady gets his sixth. Biased? Maybe a little, but I truly think the Patriots are the better team, and that will show come Sunday night.

 

Conor Roche – Associate Sports Editor:

Like Logan, I too have been blessed as a Patriots fan. Even though this is Brady and Belichick’s eighth time in the big game and they’re only a win away from winning a sixth Lombardi Trophy, there are things that get me more excited than watching the Patriots play in the Super Bowl. And this may be the most important Super Bowl for the legendary quarterback and head coaching duo.

Brady, 40, and Belichick, 65, are at that age where retirement becomes more and more of a possibility with each passing season, meaning that there is a good chance this is the last time we them in the Super Bowl.

Another Super Bowl victory would also mean a lot in terms of history. A sixth title for the Patriots would tie them for the most Super Bowl victories for a franchise with the Pittsburgh Steelers. A win would give Brady his sixth, which would give him the record for the most by a player, and Belichick his eighth, the most for any coach, player or owner.

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The Patriots opponent, the Philadelphia Eagles, have had the opposite amount of success in their history. This is only the third time the Eagles have made it to the Super Bowl in their history and have yet to win the big game as they lost to the Oakland Raiders and the Patriots in their first two appearances.

This year’s Eagles team is very similar to the movie character, Rocky. Both hail from Philadelphia and have underdog stories as the Eagles were the first No. 1 seed to be underdogs in their first two playoff games ever.

It’s been well documented by now that the Eagles are without their MVP, Carson Wentz, and the surprise resurgence of Nick Foles has helped to get them to this game.

But their defense has also been a huge reason why they’re in the Super Bowl. In their two playoff games, the Eagles have allowed just 17 points (8.5 points per game). Their defense also ranked fourth in the NFL during the regular season, allowing just 306.5 yards per game.

However, the Patriots continue to boast one of the league’s top offenses as Brady led the league in passing yards this season and will probably be named league MVP on Saturday night. Not only will the Eagles have to stop Rob Gronkowski, the best tight end in the game, and Danny Amendola, who has been a clutch postseason performer, they’ll also have to worry about Dion Lewis and James White out of the back field.

The Patriots also proved against the Jaguars that they could do well enough against a strong defense to win the game.

I expect the game to have similar ending as the first Rocky movie, where the underdog from Philadelphia hung in until the end, but the favorite prevailed.

 

Jordan Wolff – Associate Sports Editor:

The 2017-18 postseason has been one of the more memorable ones we’ve had in a long time. Especially since the four starting quarterbacks on Championship Sunday were Foles, Brady, Keenum and Bortles.

With heartbreak and tragedy, comes triumph and victory, which is what Brady proved once again despite being down in the game for three quarters. Foles turned back the clock to 2013 when he showed he can still light it up against one of the best defenses in the NFL in the Minnesota Vikings.

Now we turn our attention to Feb. 4, one of the most important days of the year: Super Bowl Sunday.

Coming from a New York Giants fan perspective, you are stuck between a rock and a hard place because these are two fanbases you can’t stand, and to watch them in the Super Bowl makes you sick.

With that said, I have a tremendous amount of respect for what Kraft, Belichick and Brady have accomplished.

Belichick starting out as the coach of the Cleveland Browns, defensive coordinator of the Giants and Jets, and overcoming his failures their to cement a legacy as arguably the greatest head coach of all time.

Kraft turning the Patriots from the laughing stock of the NFL to a total dynasty. A simple sixth round pick from the University of Michigan being able to take over the starting job for Drew Bledsoe and win five Super Bowl rings.

The Eagles, with a second-year head coach Doug Pederson, were able to develop Carson Wentz into a budding young superstar. Signing receivers like Alshon Jeffery from the Bears and Torrey Smith from the 49ers was huge. Nelson Agholor and a vengeance from 2004 when they lost to the Patriots will motivate the Eagles. The defense has carried them through the postseason with a backup quarterback.

It will be the Patriots 27, Eagles 17.

Tom Brady’s will eventually pick apart the fiery Eagles defense, and Nick Foles won’t be able to do enough to match the Pats offense.

While I give a ton of credit to the Eagles for getting this far with a QB that was supposed to retire, they will learn just like the rest of the NFL that the Patriot Way leads them to success whether you see as just or unjust.

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About Logan Reardon

Sports Editor