Sports

CoA Super Bowl predictions

The Coat of Arms staff makes its Super Bowl predictions, with most expecting a thriller between the Philadelphia Eagles and the New England Patriots. Photo: Jason Pohuski/Cal Sport Media/Tribune News Service.

By Baily Deeter, Sam Fortenbaugh, Emilio Simbeck and Connor Van Ligten.

Baily Deeter: Eagles win 22-21

The Eagles have been through it all this year, losing Darren Sproles, Jordan Hicks, Jason Peters, Caleb Sturgis and, of course, Carson Wentz. However, they’ve relished the joy in facing adversity this year, winning as underdogs in both of their playoff games.

In the Super Bowl, the Eagles are even bigger underdogs against five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady. I’m willing to bet that the Eagles are pretty comfortable in that position. They don’t have Wentz, but Nick Foles is playing just as well as of late. He posted a 141.4 passer rating in Philadelphia’s dominant 38-7 victory over Minnesota in the NFC Championship, and he certainly has the ability to do the same against New England’s vulnerable secondary.

The Patriots almost lost to a mediocre Jaguars team, but they won because Jacksonville wasn’t creative in its pressure packages. Look for Jim Schwartz to dial up some creative blitzes to harass Tom Brady the same way the Dolphins did earlier this year. With Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham on the defensive line, the Eagles should be in Brady’s grill all night.

Brady will make his share of big plays, but the Eagles offense should be able to move the ball against New England’s mediocre defense. As has been the case in every one of New England’s Super Bowls, the game will be close. But at the end of the day, the Eagles will walk away with their first championship in franchise history.

Sam Fortenbaugh: Eagles win 27-20

The Philadelphia Eagles will continue soaring high in a 27-20 victory against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52. The Eagles are the hungrier team. Their season has been plagued with injuries, but they have proven they are resilient. Philly has never won a Super Bowl, so the fan base will be amped for the game.

In addition, many players have stepped up into major roles; for example, undrafted free agent Corey Clement out of Wisconsin, also a rookie, has filled the role of the third down running back after Pro Bowl running back Darren Sproles broke his arm and tore his ACL. Also with the injury of favorite to win the MVP Carson Wentz, veteran backup quarterback Nick Foles has risen to the challenge. Foles looked spectacular in the NFC Conference Championship; he had a 78.8 completion percentage, threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns and had a 141.4 passer rating.

The Eagles have been saving Jay Ajayi, who they acquired for a fourth round pick from the Miami Dolphins, all year for this moment. They scaled back his workload in the regular season to make sure he was fresh and ready to go in the playoffs, and he looked fantastic in their win over the Vikings. But Ajayi and Clement are not the only talented running backs on the Eagles’ roster. They also have LeGarrette Blount, who scored 18 touchdowns last season. Philly’s receiving core, led by Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz, has also looked fantastic. I simply do not see any way the weak New England defense will be able to slow down Philly’s high flying offense.

Doug Pederson, in just his second year as the head coach, has been completely outsmarting opposing coaches. Through their trick plays on offense and variety of defensive plays the Eagles run, teams can never adequately stop the Eagles. Philly’s phenomenal defense is lead by Pro Bowl lineman Fletcher Cox. Philly will be able to get to Tom Brady and rough him up before he has enough time to work through his progressions.

There will be a lot of pressure on the ageless Tom Brady, and I think it will finally prove to be too much for him to handle. The Patriots’ supporting cast around Brady is very weak other than standout tight end Rob Gronkowski. However, Bill Belichick and his coaching staffs are masters at making adjustments to counter opposing teams. This only plays into the Patriots’ hands because there is abnormally long halftime break during the Super Bowl. This is why I believe the Patriots will be able to scheme enough to keep the game close, but unless Brady has the performance of his life, the Eagles will prevail.

Emilio Simbeck: Patriots 28 - Eagles 24

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Junior. If you’re betting against him here, on this stage, you are wrong. The Patriots have won the past three playoff games where they have been down double digits. No matter what you throw at them, they’ll make it a game; I don’t think the same can be said for Nick Foles, regardless of his big game last week.

Even if the Eagles come out hot, there's no better staff at making in game adjustments than the three headed monster of Belichick, Patricia and McDaniels. The Eagles have been below mediocre against the pass all year, which does not bode well for them against the best quarterback to ever grace the gridiron.

Brady has a 137.7 passer rating when targeting receivers over the middle, and with Philadelphia's linebacking core already having issues in coverage, it will be nearly impossible to stay with veterans Amendola and Hogan who have a nose for open space and can always count on an on-time, automatic delivery. Even though the “Bird Gang” has had much success when coming with more than four on the pass rush, Tom Brady’s stats versus pressure have little drop off and are far and away better than any other signal caller in the league.

Yes, the Patriots’ defense has had its issues. But when it matters, they lock up. After making their halftime adjustments, the 2017 Super Bowl champions held the prolific Jaguars (who scored 45 the week before) to a pair of long field goals. They also made the Jags punt three times in the fourth quarter alone. Needless to say, it will be incredibly difficult for the relatively inexperienced Foles to produce for 60 minutes. Lastly, the elephant in the room must be addressed. The referees have undoubtedly favored New England on their quest for yet another Super Bowl, and I do not expect that to stop on Feb. 4. Like it or not, Touchdown Tom is finally going to get a ring for his other hand.

Connor Van Ligten: Eagles 38, Patriots 24

Nick Foles is too good right now. After shaking off the Jeff Fisher rust and regaining his 2013 form in the NFC championship game, this Eagles team is flying high despite the loss of MVP candidate Carson Wentz. Philly’s biggest strength is their depth on all fronts. Boasting a stacked WR unit, a criminally underrated front 7 and secondary, and a very effective rushing attack, this Eagles team has the talent on both sides to go toe-to-toe with the Patriots.

After absolutely embarrassing the 2nd-ranked Vikings defense, the Eagles should have no problem with the average-at-best Patriots unit. Doug Pederson’s offense tends to stay aggressive throughout the game, and the team should be ready to deal with any adjustments Belichick makes.

Although betting against Tom Brady is foolish, he can be beaten. A team with a good pass rush, good coaching, and playmakers on the offense. The Eagles have all of that. This will be a tough game for the Birds, but I believe in the abilities of Nick “7 touchdowns in one game” Foles to deliver the first ring in Eagles history. 

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