A Rapid Super Bowl LII Primer

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Welcome to your quick Super Bowl LII primer. The New England Patriots led by Tom Brady will take on Nick Foles and the Philadelphia Eagles. Despite the fact that many might think the Eagles are heavy underdogs, this game can be more exciting than some think.

A Rapid Super Bowl LII Primer

This game will be decided by:

  1. Can the Eagles get pressure with rushing four and playing man coverage in the secondary. This is the recipe to stop Brady and the Pats. 
  2. Can the Pats stop/can Foles continue his success with the run-pass option (RPO). Basically, will Foles be able to run the RPO successfully against the Pats cover 7. The Pats have used cover 7 against teams who rely on the RPO, but with Foles recent success (perfect pass rating in RPO situations during the NFC Championship), it may not be enough to stop the Eagles.
  3. When the Eagles do run a zone defense, will they run a cover 2 and cover the outside threats or run a cover 3 and cover the seam route threat to Rob Gronkowski. The Eagles need to focus on stopping Gronk. With that in mind, they will likely have to run a cover 3 concept to stop Gronk, but that may open up threats down the sidelines. 

This game won’t be decided by:

  1. Pass interference (Gene Steratore doesn’t throw lots of pass interference flags and Super Bowls tends not to have many PI calls). Even though people think the Pats will be gifted PIs, don’t count on it. This penalty is very rarely called in the big game. 
  2. Foles putting up big numbers (it is more about limiting mistakes, he doesn’t need to put up 300 yards and three touchdowns). Foles doesn’t need to replicate his success in the NFC Championship. He needs to make smart and quick throws without turning the ball over. It is impossible to beat the Pats while losing the turnover battle, but it is possible to beat them without putting up godly numbers. 
  3. Patriots pass rush. The Eagles offensive line is one of the best in the league. Despite the Pats’ pass rush heating up as of late, I do not think they will be able to consistently get to Foles enough to decide the game. 

If Eagles can be effective in the RPO, get pressure with rushing four and not use the blitz (which I doubt defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz will), the Eagles will win in a close one. But against the Pats all it takes is one hiccup. This game, like any other Pats Super Bowl will not be decided in the first three quarters. This one will go down to the wire. For the first time ever, I am predicting a Patriots win in a Super Bowl. 27-23 Pats. 

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