Keys to Victory for Patriots:
Last week in the National Football Conference (NFC), McNabb showed that he can beat a defense with both his arm and legs. McNabb is having the best passing season of his career. He threw for 3,875 yards and 31 touchdowns with only eight touchdowns. His passer rating was a whopping 104.7.
During the season, while McNabb became a better passer, he began using his legs less. He only had 41 rushing attempts during the regular season for 220 yards and three touchdowns. This was his first season since his rookie season, when he only started six games, that he had less than 60 rushing attempts. However, last week against the Atlanta Falcons he ran ten times for 32 yards to keep the defense legit.
For the Superbowl, McNabb will get his favorite target back. Terrell Owens seems intent on playing despite his recent ankle surgery. Owens had 77 receptions for 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns, despite not playing in the last two games of the season.
When Owens is healthy, defenses should concentrate on him. However, his ankle injury has not completely healed and he will be Philadelphia's third wide receiver for the game. As a third wide receiver, Owens will not play every down and will probably not be at full speed. They should probably commit one cornerback to watch him.
Owens would be foolish to run and catch balls down the center because of he would be hammered by the hard hitting New England defense, including safety Rodney Harrison. Although Owens desperately wants to play in the Superbowl, he does not want to put his career at risk. Thus, this corner should try to force Owens to run in the middle and challenge him to catch the ball there.
Instead of focusing on Owens, the defense should closely watch Philadelphia running back Brian Westbrook. Westbrook can torch defenses in the open field and can also catch. The Patriots need to do a better job containing Westbrook than the Falcons did last week, where he ran for 96 yards on 16 attempts and also caught five passes for 39 yards.
The Patriots must control the ball and maintain a lead on the Eagles. The Eagles play worse when they do not have the lead or do not have time because of their style of offense. The Eagles put together long scoring possessions combining both the pass and run.
If the Patriots control the ball, win the time possession battle while maintaining the lead, the Eagles will become frustrated and McNabb will begin making his mistakes. McNabb will be rushed and try to make throws that he cannot. The balance between using the run with Westbrook will be thrown off.
Keys to guide the Eagles to victory:
While victory is highly unlikely, there are a few things the Eagles can do to have a shot at staying in the game. My best advice is to watch the Steelers game tape and see that is what not to do.
Both teams have similar offenses such that they require a running game along with a passing game. If one aspect of the offense is disrupted then the entire offense becomes disrupted. This was evident in the Patriots' first loss of the season that came against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They did not have their starting running back, Dillon, and thus, only had five yards of rushing that game. They lost this game because Tom Brady and the receivers alone could not lead the team to victory.
This is exactly what the Eagles need to achieve. However, Dillon will be behind Brady for this game. Containing Dillon has been something that not many teams have been able to do. The Steelers, this year's best defense in football, somewhat contained Dillon allowing him 73 yards on 24 carries, merely three yards per carry. This was well below his regular season average of 4.7 yards per carry.
Last week, the Patriots did not win the game by themselves. The Steelers rookie quarterback threw several interceptions to help the Patriots win. The interceptions often gave the offense excellent field position and often points to go along. The Eagles need to be careful and not make any mistakes. They cannot afford to get behind and allow the Patriots to gain momentum.
Brady is perfect in the postseason with an 8-0 record. Every year when the postseason comes, Brady raises his game to the level of Joe Montana and other greats. He maintains great poise in the pocket and makes great throws. When Brady makes one throw, he gets into a rhythm and continues to amaze the world.
However, the Eagles can frustrate Brady and not let him get into his rhythm. The Eagles have an excellent defensive line with the addition of Jevon Kearse, who had 7.5 sacks this season. The Eagles should be able to flush Brady out of the pocket and rush him into making throws. This might let them win the battle of field position and time of possession.
The Patriots led by Brady are perfect in the postseason and this game will probably let them continue their steak of dominance. The Patriots have basically become a dynasty under their genius coach, Bill Belichick. Adam Vinatieri is a sure kicker and has kicked Superbowl winning kicks on two separate occasions. The Patriots team is experienced with the Superbowl, while the Eagles have finally made the Superbowl, despite getting close for several years. All I can say for the Eagles is try again next season and tell Owens not to risk his career on a sure loss.
At the end, the Patriots will win by a score of 24 – 20. Fans can expect to see a similar Supertbowl to the former Patriots Superbowl victories where Vinatieri will seal the game at the end with a field goal and Brady will win the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Dillon will make a large impact for the Patriots.
Adith Sekaran. Adith Sekaran is finally a senior at Blair. Adith is a man who is a big time sports fan and can spend any day to its' entirety watching sports or ESPN. Football season is his favorite, which he spends cheering on his ‘Skins to no … More »