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Feb. 2, 2005

Super Bowl Prediction

by Michael Bushnell, Page Editor
For the Patriots to win:

1. Contain Donovan McNabb
If Philadelphia wins, it will be in large part due to one Donovan F. McNabb. We don't know the status of Terrell Owens, but if I had to bet (and I'm a betting man, believe me), I would say he won't play. He should"it's the Super Bowl!"but he likely won't. So, assuming what I wrote actually happens, McNabb is the Eagles' only real option on all types of offensive attacks. If he can run, he's fast enough to exploit the New England linebackers, even Teddy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel. He's just that good. That's why he has to be contained and pressured into making bad throws; a bad McNabb is a terrible Philly offense.

2. Play smart defense
After Owens, Philadelphia's group of receivers is nothing short of terrible. Chad Lewis is hurt; Freddie Mitchell had 23 catches all year, and Todd Pinkston is afraid to go over the middle and can't catch. So, needless to say, that's an advantage for New England, but one they can't forfeit by playing stupid. That being said, there's no reason to think that the Patriots will divert from their game plan the last three years now.

3. Spread the field in the passing game
New England does the screen pass as well as anybody in the NFL, and certainly as well as any team on the field this Sunday. Any body who saw the Patriots' mix of screens and deep out passes witnessed their offense break down the best defense in the game when it mattered most. Philadelphia's defense is very, very good, but on a neutral site, on grass, against a weaker D than Pittsburgh's, New England has yet another advantage to exploit.

For the Eagles to win:

1. Get production out of Owens beyond being a male cheerleader
And that's the whole game, too. Without Owens, the Eagles will need Pinkston to have an out of body experience"that is, play amazingly well"and if that's something they're banking on, then I've got the 14th Street Bridge to sell to them. Owens is critical for the Eagles if they want any shot of outscoring New England in this game.

2. Run, run, and run well
Philadelphia had the 24th ranked offense in the league this year, and that's not even close to being acceptable against a tough, unpredictable Pats defense. It will be on Brian Westbrook to get huge gains for the Eagles on the ground, or else Philly could be sunk in North Florida. The Eagles struggled to run the ball efficiently two weeks ago against Atlanta. This can't happen again if Philly is going to win.

3. Defense must step up and force turnovers
It seems unlikely that the Eagles will be able to run up a huge score, so stopping New England's offense will be modus operandi. I don't know what that means, but, in layman's terms, Philly has got to stop Tom Brady. The outstanding Eagles secondary has to be just that again on Sunday, to prevent deep passes, like the ones to Daniel Graham that did the Steelers in during the AFC Championship. Forcing turnovers is key; if Philly can start with good field position, David Akers at least has a strong leg to put points up via field goals.


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  • gino on February 2, 2005 at 4:51 PM
    eagles will win the title
  • josh on February 3, 2005 at 3:04 AM
    patriots will win because they have too many good players...tye law, tom brady, brian urlacher...these players alone could win the title
  • Pratik Bhandari on February 3, 2005 at 2:39 PM
    Ty Law isn'tplaying due to injury. He didn't play against the Steelers either
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