Just Brees-ing Through: Why the Saints are My Super Bowl Pick

Just Brees-ing Through: Why the Saints are My Super Bowl Pick

As week 13 approaches, the playoff picture is starting to take shape. In the AFC, the true contenders look to be the Patriots, Steelers, Chiefs and Chargers. In the NFC, the Bears, Rams, Vikings and Saints are looking like they are leading the pack.

The Saints – to put it bluntly – are legit. If you watch them play anyone (except for the Bucs in Week 1), they are far and away the best team in the league. As we all know, the best team does not always withstand the rigours of the playoffs. When watching them play, however, it is clear that the Saints are built to compete.

The Saints are my Super Bowl pick, and here are the reasons why: Continue reading

Cincinnati Bengals 2018 Season Preview

Giving my season preview for the Cincinnati Bengals 2018 NFL Season including my win-loss record prediction, bold predictions, statistical projections and analysis of the team’s strengths, weaknesses, and key players Andy Dalton, A.J. Green, and Joe Mixon. Are the Bengals a playoff sleeper?

Green Bay Packers 2018 Season Preview

Giving my season preview for the Green Bay Packers 2018 NFL Season including my win-loss record prediction, bold predictions, statistical projections and analysis of the team’s strengths, weaknesses, and key players Aaron Rodgers, Davante Adams, and Clay Matthews. Are the Packers true Super Bowl contenders?

Super Bowl LII: Preview and Prediction

Championship weekend has produced the final two teams in the grueling NFL season.  Representing the AFC, we have the New England Patriots (shocker).  However, the NFC has the underdog Eagles, who dominated in the NFC Championship against a top-notch Minnesota defense.  Let’s take a look at how both teams got here, look at some individual matchups, and I’ll tell you the Super Bowl winner.

Philadelphia Eagles: The Offense

Going into the 2017 season, most NFL pundits had either the Giants or Cowboys winning the NFC East.  The Eagles were considered a “sleeper team” that had a great young QB in Carson Wentz, but were probably a year away from contention.  However, Wentz passed for 33 TDs to 7 interceptions before his ACL injury.  If he didn’t go down with that tear, we’d likely be talking about him as the MVP, not Tom Brady.  Instead at QB, the Eagles have Nick Foles.  If Philadelphia manages to protect Foles, that will be huge.  This is the bright lights of the Super Bowl, Foles has never done this.  Brady has been here when Foles was 13.  If the Patriots pass rush manages to get to Foles, the Pats will likely win this game.  As for the rest of the offense, mid-season acquisition Jay Ajayi has been a good compliment to LeGarette Blount, and Corey Clement can get involved in the backfield as well.  Alshon Jeffrey had a great NFC Championship game, and has truly helped the Eagles offense.  Nelson Agholor shedded his “bust” label, turning in a solid season.  Zach Ertz has emerged as one of the league’s best tight ends.  Top it off with an o-line that features Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, and you have quite the offensive attack.  Jason Peters may have been injured, but H. Vatai (don’t make me spell out his first name) has done a solid job of replacing him at the crucial left tackle position.

The Defense

The Eagles defense is the strength of their team.  If the Eagles are to pull the upset for the third straight game, Brandon Graham, Fletcher Cox, Chris Long, and the other guys up front must have a great game.  Calais Campbell didn’t do enough in last week’s game against the Pats.  The way to beat Brady in the Super Bowl is get after him.  No one knows that better than the Giants, and their formula for beating the Patriots will be cited ad nauseam.  While the Eagles secondary played great against Minnesota, their test goes from Case Keenum to Tom Brady.  Patrick Robinson and Ronald Darby must play the game of their lives.  The Pats likely won’t dominate the first half.  However, they might implement a trick play in the second half, much like they did against the Jags.  Philadelphia’s linebackers must stop the screen game of the Pats.  James White had 14 receptions for 110 yards in last year’s Super Bowl.  That’s a little under 8 yards a catch, and that’s how Tom Brady plays his game.  You hear the word “surgical” a lot.  Tom Brady carves apart defenses, and the Eagles have to be wary of that.

ap-eagles-defense-cowboys.jpgPhoto Courtesy: AP Images

Final Thoughts on Philadelphia

Doug Pederson has done an excellent job this year as head coach.  His penchant for making gutsy calls has helped the Eagles plenty this year, and he has established a “winning culture” that every coach talks about.  It’s only his second year as a head coach, and he’s already in the Super Bowl.  That’s impressive.  This game could be so close it ultimately comes down to a field goal.  Jake Elliott has had a great rookie season, but he’ll obviously be feeling a lot of pressure come Sunday.  Overall, the Eagles have embraced the underdog label quite well.  Can they carry that against the Patriots though?  Well, let’s discuss how New England got here.

New England Patriots: The Offense

Tom Brady’s new series “Tom vs. Time” couldn’t have had a better title.  This man is 40 years old, but is playing like he’s in his prime.  Now he’s after his 6th ring.  If the Patriots do in fact win this, I will consider this two separate dynasties.  That’s just the level of domination the Patriots have had over the league.  Brady’s backfield includes James White, Dion Lewis, and Rex Burkhead.  All three are great pass catchers, and that makes their aforementioned screen game deadly.  Brandin Cooks has been a solid target for Brady, but it’s Danny Amendola that captured attention in the AFC Championship.  He had an amazing game, and it’s players like him that exemplify “Do your job”.  Amendola will never be a super star in the NFL, but when his number was called, he delivered.  Rob Gronkowski will play in spite of a head injury, so Brady will have a wide variety of weapons.  The o-line doesn’t have superstars on it, but once again, they do their jobs.  Brady just has to do Tom Brady things to win this game.  The Patriots probably won’t get off to a great start in this game.  But we all know the old cliche, it’s not how you start… it’s how you finish.  No one finishes games better than TB12.

The Defense

New England’s defense lost Dont’a Hightower, one of their best players.  How did New England respond?  They had one of the NFL’s best statistically ranked defense after September.  September was a horrible month for New England’s defense, and the way they rebounded was truly incredible.  Still, New England had the 29th ranked defense in terms of yards allowed this season.  That’s 15 spots below the Browns!  However, the Pats had the 5th ranked defense in points allowed per game, at 18.3, compared with Cleveland’s 25.6.  That’s what separates the winners from the losers.

Trey Flowers has had a solid year as a pass rusher.  David Harris and James Harrison add a veteran presence to the defense.  We all know of Super Bowl hero Malcom Butler, and the safety tandem of Patrick Chung and Devin McCourty.  Their experience in the big game over Nick Foles could ultimately be the difference in Super Bowl LII.

Final Thoughts on New England

At this point, it’s all about adding to Brady and Belichick’s legacy of success.  Most football fans are willing to say Tom Brady is the GOAT, and that’s because he is.  He’s competing with other GOATs at this point (Michael Jordan).  Brady can tie Jordan’s # of championships this Sunday, and possibly even outdo Jordan and win 7.  Who knows?  With the way Brady looks, he may actually play into his mid 40s.  That is, unless Giselse doesn’t make him retire.

My Prediction: Patriots win 26-24

The Eagles underdog mentality and great defense will make many people pick them, them including Amazon’s Alexa device (feel free to ask her “Who will win the Super Bowl?” if you have one!).  However, Alexa picked the Falcons last year.  How did that work out?  History repeats itself, folks.  The Patriots are bound to win 3 out of 4, and complete a double dynasty.  To me, this game is won either when Stephen Gotskowski makes a last second field goal, or Jake Elliott misses one.

Tom Brady of the New England Patriots holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after defeating the Atlanta Falcons 34-28 in overtime during Super Bowl 51.Photo Courtesy: Getty Images

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

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.

Who will win the Super Bowl LII MVP?

Who will win the Super Bowl LII MVP?

With Super Bowl LII about a week and a half away, the main question is who will win. Will the Patriots eclipse their sixth championship? Can they Eagles finally get their first ring? Today, we look at who can possibly win the title of Super Bowl MVP.  Continue reading

Will we see an AFC Championship Rematch?

Will we see an AFC Championship Rematch?

As far as seeding goes in the AFC playoffs, the Patriots (#1) and the Steelers (#2) are still the two best teams in the conference.  Continue reading