Saturday, February 05, 2005

My Super Bowl Pick

I know I don't talk much about sports, but as I said earlier this week, I've got to make a Super Bowl prediction. Football is by far my favorite sport, and I have great instincts for it. I have never --and that's no joke-- picked the losing side in a Super Bowl. I was also one of the only people who correctly predicted a blowout in Super Bowl XXXV (Ravens v. Giants). In that game, I predicted an offensive shutout by Baltimore and a final score of 31-0. The real final score was 34-7, but the Giants touchdown was on special teams, so I was almost exact. I don't always pick well during regular-season games, but I almost never make bad predictions in the playoffs. For the record, if this whole news-ed thing doesn't work out, then I would love to be a sportswriter.

But enough about me, because it's time to break down the game. The Patriots and Eagles are extremely well-matched at first glance. They both have an excellent defense, an impressive offense, a great quarterback, and a master head coach. Once you start matching them up, however, the differences become pronounced.

Here's the breakdown.

1. Defense

It's hard to go wrong with either defense. The Eagles have an excellent array of blitzes coupled with Brian Dawkins at safety. You can't forget about Jevon Kearse, either; he's been an absolute terror at defensive end this season. On the other hand, the Patriots have workhorse linebacker Tedy Bruschi and Richard Seymour. The Patriots secondary has taken its lumps, but the defense has a way of wearing down offenses in head-to-head struggles.

Advantage: Tie

2. Offense

Both teams have great offensive units. Corey Dillon adds the extra running punch that the Patriots had lacked until this year. Although he had been a sleeper until now, Brian Westbrook gives the Eagles a great all-purpose running back, even though he isn't as good of a pure runner as Dillon. Each team has a decent group of receivers, but Terrell Owens may be somewhat limited tomorrow, and Eagles TE Chad Lewis will not play.

Advantage: Patriots

3. Quarterbacks

If I were into fantasy football and I couldn't pick Peyton Manning, I would probably choose Tom Brady or Donovan McNabb. Tom Brady is currently tied with Bart Starr for the longest winning streak in the postseason (9-0), and if he wins tomorrow, he'll own the record. Donovan McNabb has lost three straight NFC championship games, and his desire to win will be equal to, if not greater than, that of Brady. Brady is a better pure passer than McNabb, but McNabb scrambles better than anyone except Michael Vick and (possibly) Daunte Culpepper. It comes down to clutch play, and while they are both great under pressure, McNabb is not as ice-cool as Brady is. If Donovan McNabb wins the Super Bowl, he will be known as a great quarterback. If Tom Brady wins the Super Bowl, he will be a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

Advantage: Patriots

4. Coaching

Bill Belichick and Andy Reid are great coaches. Reid is generally known as more of an offensive mind than the defensive-minded Belichick. The problem is, Andy Reid is one of the best coaches in the NFL. Why is that a problem? Well, Bill Belichick is the best coach in the NFL, and he may be known as the greatest of all time (yes, even greater than Vince Lombardi himself) if he wins this game. No one breaks down a team's weaknesses better or draws up a better game plan. The difference is palpable to anyone watching their teams during a game. The Eagles still move as eleven men; they have incredible teamwork, but they are still individuals. The Patriots move as a single being, as if though they are under the control of some kind of hive-mind. Andy Reid is a coach. Bill Belichick is a hivemaster.

Advantage: Patriots

Final Spread

The Eagles deserve more respect than they have been getting from the sports media. Unfortunately for Philadelphia, the Patriots have been deserving of every bit of the respect being paid to them. The real question becomes whether or not Terrell Owens plays the full game. Owens at 80 percent strength is better than any other Eagles receiver at 110 percent, and the score will be less lopsided the longer he plays. Nevertheless, I don't see anyone stopping New England tomorrow. Prediction: dynasty.

If T.O. plays the full game: Patriots by 6.

If T.O. plays less than that: Patriots by at least 10.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:


<< Home