The Patriots are on a quest for their
third Vince Lombardi Trophy in four seasons,
whereas the Eagles are making only their second
Super Bowl appearance ever, having lost to Oakland
in the big game 24 years ago.
New England enters this game on a high, having
won 16 of 18 games this season, including back-to-back
impressive performances in the postseason. They
held the No. 1 offense in the NFL, Indianapolis,
to three points and then followed that up by
scoring 41 points on Pittsburgh’s No.
Against Philadelphia, the Patriots will rely
on QB Tom Brady and RB Corey Dillon to control
the action offensively. Brady has proven to
be cool vs. blitzes and heavy pass rushes, and
that ability to stand in the face of pressure
and make plays will serve him well against an
Eagles defense that is known for its exotic
blitz packages. Look for Dillon and fellow RBs
Kevin Faulk and Patrick Pass, along with TEs
Daniel Graham and Christian Fauria, to chip
and help out blocking the Eagles’ edge
rushers, Jevon Kearse and Derrick Burgess.
Dillon will be the workhorse against an Eagles
run defense that was much improved after inserting
Jeremiah Trotter into the starting lineup at
middle linebacker but is still not an elite
run-stuffing unit. Dillon’s ability to
pick up four to five yards per carry will open
up the play-action game and allow Brady to take
shots down the field and test the Eagles’
talented but young cornerbacks.
Despite their dearth of Super Bowl appearances,
the Eagles come into this game with plenty of
postseason experience. They have won seven playoff
games in the last five seasons, including advancing
to the NFC title game four years in a row.
McNabb has put his faith in WRs Mitchell, Pinkston
and Greg Lewis, and the receivers have responded
with some nice play down the stretch. Offensive
coordinator Brad Childress has divvied up Owens’
old patterns among the three guys, though none
has the run-after-the-catch ability that Owens
does. TE L.J. Smith may also have to take on
a bigger role now that fellow TE Chad Lewis
has been placed on injured reserve with a Lisfranc
sprain of the foot.
McNabb has made big strides as a pocket passer.
He has run fewer times this season, and what
makes him so dangerous is his ability to escape
pressure and throw on the run. Play-action made
up a big chunk of the team’s attack against
the Falcons. Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson
brings pressure from all angles. Kearse had
7½ sacks to lead Philadelphia, but 17
different Eagles had sacks this season. The
secondary features third-year CBs Lito Sheppard
and Sheldon Brown. Sheppard made the Pro Bowl,
but he can be vulnerable to double moves and
receivers who run precise routes.
The wild card in this matchup could be Eagles
WR Terrell Owens. A game-changer when healthy,
Owens will be only 6½ weeks into the
recovery process from surgery on his right ankle
when Super Sunday arrives. TO says he's "81%
healthy" and raring to go. But we'll see.
I'm thinking he's playing in this game because
its a once in a lifetime chance for a marquee
player like Owens. Will he make a play to impact
the game? I highly doubt it, but would love
to be prooved wrong, because I really like T.O.
Enjoy the game folks. Here's my call.................
I'm taking the Patriots
27 Eagles 17 --- MVP Corey Dillon
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