We started writing our Super Bowl Preview on Monday of this past week, but with travel schedules and a general malaise over the game, it took us until Friday to finish it…and today to post it. But, here it is, in all its glory, to preserve our predictions and see who (if anyone) gets bragging rights…
Tony: I forget every year just how enjoyable that first weekend is without football each year. Apparently there is sitll one game to play, but as a Minnesotan, I can’t say I’ve heard much about it
Andy: LOL. Do you even like football? Yeah, I’ve heard more in the last week about how bad Eagles fans are than I have about the game itself. And it’s true, they are neanderthals, by and large. But it’s time to get to the game — if for no other reason than so you can get to further enjoying your offseason away from this game you seem to both love and hate so much.
Tony: I do love football…but a game featuring one fan base that has gone from one most loveable losers (across all sports) to insufferable, entitled doucheclowns (across all sports) in less than a generation, against a fanbase that actually revels in the fact that they are neanderthals…makes it tough to care. Add in that the team I wanted to see in the Super Bowl once again ripped my heart out, AND I apparently have to endure a full week of non-stop local media coverage of it…well, I wish I had tickets to the Carribean.
Andy: At least the Vikings ripped it out fast this year instead of waiting until they had a lead late or a chance at a game-tying field goal … well, nevermind. Yeah, I agree, it’s a bad match-up in terms of which team I would like to see win. So it goes. We have to be professionals here … (snicker, guffaw).
Tony: Screw professionalism…I’ll start being professional when I start getting a paycheck around here. Maybe. In the meantime, I say we keep making our Super Bowl preview about Minnesota. And maybe Jacksonville. I mean, all the northeastern jagoffs can say all they want about how terrible a Vikings-Jaguars Super Bowl would have been for ratings, but does anyone outside of New England or Philadelphia really care about this game? Not like ratings will be down, and I suppose there are plenty of fans that don’t really realize how big of nimrods Eagles fans are that will tune in to hope that the mighty Patriots fail, but that’s got to be the biggest draw to the game, right?
Andy: The hope that the Patriots will fail? Yeah, I imagine that will be among the biggest draws. It’d be a little different if Carson Wentz was still playing. It’d be old guard vs new guard, etc. Can the young guy come in and overtake the old guy. But that’s out the window. I suspect the same alure isn’t there with Nick Foles at QB. I heard someone on the radio the other day say the Eagles are probably better than New England at every position other than QB. Do you buy that?
Tony: Better than? No. Equal to? Maybe. The first position that argument falls apart is TE, if Rob Gronkowski plays. I like Zach Ertz, and would probably rather have him on my team (fantasy and real life), but Gronk is the better player in a single game, as long as he isn’t trying to injure the other teams DBs. Outside of that, they’re fairly equal at RB (both have a stable of ok backs, not a great one), and slightly above average WR. I probably give the edge to the Eagles on both lines. As for linebacking and defensive secondary…not sure I could name anyone on either team, to be honest.
Andy: I would guess the guy was grouping TEs and WRs into a receiver category, but yeah, you could be right. Still, Ertz, on a good day, is about as close as you are going to get to Gronk as anyone else in the league other than maybe Travis Kelce. At RB, I think Dion Lewis and Rex Burkhead are fine, but Jay Ajayi has more breakaway ability and I think LeGarrette Blount is a better bruiser than what the Pats throw out there. I do think the Eagles’ defense as a whole is better than New England’s is, though the Patriots, once again, have managed to figure out how to be competitive on that side of the ball most of the season after looking the first couple weeks like warmed over dog crap.
Tony: You do have to wonder a little bit as well about the Patriots coaching staff, with Josh McDaniels heading to Indianapolis and Matt Patricia heading to Detroit, will there hearts be in it? It sounds like crazy speculation, but we’ve seen time and time again coordinators who are clearly on their way out seemingly drop the ball at big times like these. Kyle Shannahan and Pat Shurmur being two recent examples.
At the same time, the Patriots have two things going for them that the Eagles can’t even get close to approaching–Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Despite protests from some Eagles fans, who will probably grunt to disagree while picking their knuckles up off the ground just long enough to hurl a beer at anyone who says otherwise, Nick Foles isn’t even worthy of being the guy that lets the air out of the ball for Brady, and Belichick doesn’t even need to break out his sleeveless sweatshirt to coach circles around Doug Pederson’s frat visor.
Andy: Yep, I think we’re on the same page here. Whether they are or aren’t, Philadelphia could be 10 times better than New England at every other position on the field and on the sideline. Brady and Belichick are equilizers. And I have no worries about their coordinators, either. Those guys know the score. They know they can take on their new teams starting in about five days. There’s another Lombardi at stake, an ever-increasing legacy for this team. The Patriots’ goal here is greater than beating the Eagles. It’s also cementing its place as the greatest dynasty of the salary cap era, one of the greatest NFL dynasties of all time — perhaps the greatest — and, yes, as one of the greatest sports dynasties in all of professional sports history. Like them or not, think they cheated a couple times to get here or not, there aren’t many teams in the history of sport who can match this run. I think it continues. Patriots 27, Eagles 19.
Tony: I actually don’t think they need to cement their place as the greatest dynasty of all time–I think that’s already done. We’re talking about a team that has made 8 Super Bowl appearances in 16 seasons, and already have won 5 of them. The only thing another win does is put them that much further ahead of any other team possibly reaching them…and the only other team in any sport that could have a chance right now would probably be the Golden State Warriors, who would probably be disqualified from reaching anywhere near the Patriots plateau unless they lose Kevin Durant, developed some more in house talent, and kept the winning ways going for another 10 years.
I actually think the more interesting stories if this Super Bowl might be 1) can the Patriots finally score in the first quarter of a Super Bowl under Belichick, and 2) can they win a Super Bowl by more than 6 points for the first time under Belichick. If they can’t do #1, I suspect they will struggle to do #2–they might even struggle to win. But if they can pull off #1, I think they walk away with it easily. And personally, I think they do–I think the Patriots win 31-13, and heaven help people in the streets of Minneapolis when whatever Eagles fans made it to town leave the building.