How will Bill Belichick beat the “Underdog” Philadelphia Eagles?

Super Bowl LII is five days away, and both the Patriots and Eagles are trying to perfect their craft. The Patriots look to win their sixth title, while the Eagles attempt to win their first. This looks to be an exciting match, but there is one factor that gives the Pats and advantage: Bill Belichick. How will he fare against the “Underdog” Philadelphia Eagles?

Eagles DT Beau Allen and DE Chris Long with dog masks on, depicting their "underdog" mentality.

“The Hoodie” is among the best coaches of all time, and his legacy will become further strengthened with a win on Sunday. However, with the Eagles having a dangerous defence and an explosive offence, he has his work cut out for him. How can Belichick get it done this time? This article will provide five key points which will help the Pats eclipse a victory.

Patriots HC Bill Belichick.

1. Develop the run game early in order to wear down the defensive line. 

Anyone who knows anything about football knows Fletcher Cox is among the best in the business. He and this defensive line have wreaked havoc this season. In order for the Patriots to win, they must slow down Cox and Co., since one of Brady’s main weaknesses is to deal with pressure early. Remember when Michael Strahan, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora completely dominated Brady in Super Bowl XLII? Cox, Vinny Curry, Brandon Graham, Beau Allen, Chris Long and rookie Derek Barnett will perform that kind of pressure. It’s up to Belichick to create unique blocking schemes and to make the run game work early in order to slow down the front four.

Eagles DT Fletcher Cox.

2. Give the Patriots running backs a lot of rotation. 

Many question why the Patriots do not have a bell-cow running back and instead have a committee. My theory is that every running back has his own running style, so trying to game plan for multiple backs is difficult. Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz might be able to shut out Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead, but might not have an adequate game plan for James White, Mike Gillislee, or Brandon Bolden.

Depending on who emerges, one of the running backs will be able to figure out the Eagles defence. Then, they can become the fourth quarter running back to win the game.

3. Use Dwayne Allen as a blocker for the majority of the game. 

Rob Gronkowski could be out for the Super Bowl, and Dwayne Allen won’t be the big pass-catcher they need. However, Allen is an exceptional blocker and almost acts as a sixth offensive lineman. This will be necessary, since this dominant defensive line will be able to get after Brady.

Patriots TE Dwayne Allen.

4. Capitalize on the Eagles’ rookie mistakes. 

The one distinct difference between the Patriots and Eagles is the degree of Super Bowl experience each team has. Brady and Belichick have been there and done that, while the majority of the Eagles players have never been this deep in the playoffs. With that, Belichick will know that some of the younger Eagles will make some critical mistakes. Some players to look out for are: Jalen Mills, Nelson Agholor, Hal Vaitai and Derek Barnett.

The mistakes some young players could make might define their career, and it’s Bill Belichick’s job to capitalize on their mistakes.

Eagles CB Jalen Mills.

5. Put the pressure on Nick Foles. 

Nick Foles has shown that you can be an average quarterback and get to a Super Bowl. In the last four Super Bowls Belichick has been in, he’s faced: Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson and Eli Manning–twice. Nick Foles is a major step back from those quarterbacks, and he doesn’t receive pressure well.

Left tackle Hal Vaitai doesn’t have a lot of competition against this weak Patriots pass rush, but that doesn’t mean James Harrison won’t put it all on the table. If Foles is pressured, especially late in the game, the Patriots offence may have an easier time than most expected.

Patriots LB James Harrison.

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