The Patriots are the Perfect Opponent for the Eagles in Super Bowl LII
Rejoice Philadelphia Eagles fans. You got exactly what you needed when the New England Patriots came back to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship Game. No, really.
I know the Patriots, with Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, are possibly the greatest dynasty in NFL history, but the Eagles aren't playing the Patriots dynasty. They are playing the 2017 New England Patriots team, and they just aren't that good.
Oh sure, Belichick is the greatest coach in NFL history and Doug Pederson is only in his second year, but that doesn't mean this is a complete mismatch. OK, maybe it does, but the Eagles roster from top to bottom is better than New England's roster. And really, the coaches can only do so much. I don't remember anybody calling Belichick the greatest coach in the NFL during his time in Cleveland. Funny how that works, isn't it?
Tom Brady is universally proclaimed to be the GOAT (Greatest of All Time), but for me, I'll take Joe Montana over Brady any day. First of all, there is all that cheating the Patriots got caught doing. Deflating footballs doesn't sound like much, but it is against the rules. Plus, if it didn't help Brady, they wouldn't do it. Taking video of your opponents practices, so you can steal their signals and know what plays they are calling during games, is also against the rules. Brady may not have actually done those things, but he knew about it and benefited from it. That tarnishes his legacy. There is also the little fact that Brady is 5-2 in Super Bowls. Joe Montana never lost a Super Bowl. He is a perfect 4-0. So while Brady is a great QB, let's not get carried away. He's beatable.
Speaking of which, the way to beat Brady is to hit him....repeatedly. Those two Super Bowl loses were to the New York Giants and their unrelenting pass rush. This Eagles team has a pretty damn good pass rush too, led by DT Fletcher Cox. The Eagles don't have one player with huge sack totals, since they rotate their defensive linemen, but they come in waves. And with Cox penetrating through the middle, Brady will not be able to step up in the pocket to find open receivers. Oh, and the Patriots offensive line stinks.
There is also the fact that the Eagles always try to make teams one-dimensional by taking away the run. With the No. 1 run defense in the NFL this season, they did that fairly well. Fortunately for them, the Pats don't even try to run because they aren't any good at it. So the one thing Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz tries to do to offenses is already what the Patriots want to do. That means the Eagles will be playing to their strength in the Super Bowl.
Are you Glad the Eagles Are Playing the Patriots in the Super Bowl?
When the Eagles have the ball, they will be facing a terrible New England defense. The Pats are ranked 29th on defense and the Eagles just lit up the scoreboard against the NFL's No. 1 defense, the Minnesota Vikings, in the NFC Championship Game. Even with a backup QB, the Eagles offense should be able to move the ball on New England. Of course, Nick Foles isn't your average backup QB. He has been on fire in the playoffs. Foles has completed 49 of his 63 passes (77.8%) in these playoffs for 598 yards and 3 TDs, without an INT. Then there is the fact that the Eagles are a great running team and the Patriots can't stop the run.
And let's not forget that Nick Foles isn't Donovan McNabb, so he won't be running two-minute drills that take five minutes and puking in the huddle.
Really, the only reason anyone would be afraid of the football matchups is if they are just blinded by the Brady and Belichick mystique, which is ridiculous.
But enough of the stats. The real reasons Eagles fans should be happy their team is facing the Patriots in the Super Bowl are revenge and dogs.
There is no question that the Patriots cheated the Eagles out of a Championship in Super Bowl XXXIX. That was the height of their Spygate cheating and the evidence against them was so damning, the NFL was forced to fine and penalize New England. Eagles players from that team tell stories of how the Pats were calling out their plays before they even lined up. That's because New England knew the signals coming in from the sideline. That kind of behavior deserves some payback. If the Jaguars didn't choke on their lead in the AFC Championship Game, the Eagles would have been denied the opportunity for sweet revenge.
Next up is dogs; as in underdogs. The Eagles players have made it their mantra that it's us against the world. They used the widely-held opinion that they were dead and buried after the Carson Wentz injury as a rallying cry. They went so far as to purchase dog masks and wear them after their upset victory over the Atlanta Falcons in the Divisional round of the playoffs. The fact that the Eagles were the first No. 1 seed in NFL history to ever be the betting line underdog at home in the Divisional round only helped their cause.
Then the Eagles were underdogs against in the NFC Championship Game against the Minnesota Vikings and their dominant defense. The Eagles crushed the Vikings and out came the dog masks once again. Hell, players were even wearing them during their Super Bowl interview sessions this week and Eagles fans everywhere are wearing the dog masks. It's now a thing.
But if the Jaguars had hung on to beat the Patriots; the Eagles would have been favored in the Super Bowl. You can't really play the whole underdog card if you're the favorite. I mean, what would the players and fans have done with all of their dog masks if everybody thought the Eagles would beat the Jaguars? The story-lines are just better this way.
So there you have it. Proof that the Eagles are better off playing the Patriots than the Jaguars in Super Bowl LII. Boring matchups (that favor the Eagles) aside, this is what every Eagles fan needs. Revenge against the Evil Empire of the NFL. A continued use for that rubber dog mask you just bought. And, as the great Rick Flair always said. "If you want to be the man, you have to beat the man. WOO!"
Or is that "Woof"?