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Thursday February 3rd, 2005 Page updated 4:00PM CDT

By: C. McDermott
Handicapper For



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SuperBowl XXXIX

Date Sunday, February 6th, 2005
Kickoff 6:30 p.m. (et)
Site ALLTEL Stadium (76,877) -- Jacksonville, Florida
Surface Natural Grass

Television - FOX
Announcers Joe Buck, Troy Aikman, Cris Collinsworth and Pam Oliver

New England (14-2-0) at Philadelphia (13-3-0) INDepth Preview

Field - Grass of ALLTEL Stadium

Philadelphia are 7 point underdogs. The total for this game has been set at 46.

Home Record -New England 9-0; Philadelphia 9-1
Away Record -New England 7-2; Philadelphia 6-2

Versus N-F-C New England 4-0
Versus A-F-C Philadelphia 2-2
Versus Playoff Teams New England 7-1; Philadelphia 4-2
Playoff Record New England 15-10; Philadelphia 16-15
Current Win/Loss Streak New England 4W; Philadelphia 2W
Current Playoff Win/Loss Streak New England 8W; Philadelphia 2W

All-Time Series Philadelphia (6-3)
Last Meeting September 14, 2003 (New England, 31-10 at Philadelphia)
Series Streak Philadelphia has won five of the last six meetings.

New England most recently...
After a win are 8-2
After playing 49ers are 2-5
After out gaining opponent are 8-1

Philadelphia most recently...
After a loss are 7-2
After playing Bengals are 1-3
After out gaining opponent are 8-1

My Call Straight UP - Pats

My Call Against The Spread - Pats

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SuperBowl XXXIX


Comments: 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. 1-ranked defense.

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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