Here we go, one last rodeo. One more game for the Eagles and a chance to win the city’s first ever Lombardi Trophy. Can it be done? Only time will tell, but with just over a day before the biggest matchup in the last ten years for this team gets underway, it’s time to make our final five bold predictions. We sit 31/85 on the year, but after predicting the Eagles to blowout the Vikings by more than 15 points, can we do the same again this week?
All we got, all we need:
This first prediction isn’t as ‘bold’ as the other’s, but it’s simple. I’m predicting the Eagles to win the Super Bowl. Underdogs for their third consecutive postseason game, the Philadelphia Eagles come into this match with every intention of bringing the Lombardi Trophy home. It’s a cultural clash between Belichick and Pederson, but this team isn’t just embracing the Super Bowl life, but taking every step necessary to ensure they win it all.
From simulating a longer halftime period and being just as charismatic during media day as they have been all year long, the Eagles are at their best when the personality of every individual in the locker room is being proudly displayed. Pederson encourages that notion more than anybody and on the grandest stage of all, that sense of comfort and confidence may just be the difference in a game where mental toughness will be tested more than ever.
The British are coming:
I wrote earlier this week about how Jay Ajayi has a monumental advantage coming into this game. Not only has he had previous success against the Patriots, but when running out of 11 personnel, the Eagles have been completely dominant all year long…unlike the Patriots, who have been gashed open more than any other team in the NFL when facing a look of one running back and one tight end.
My second bold prediction is for Ajayi to continue his impressive level of postseason production. In two games, the former Phin has carried the ball 33 times for 127 yards and has totaled 70 yards through the air…nearly half of his entire regular season tally. With the Patriots showing an extreme weakness to stopping the run, I’m predicting Ajayi to rush for 100 yards and receive for 35, scoring a touchdown in the process.
Green Goblin rises:
The development of Jalen Mills has been one of the most exciting things to watch in 2018. The Green Goblin has gone from a 7th round pick to the most targeted corner in the league within the space of two years and now he’s set to make his Super Bowl debut. It’s likely that Mills is going to see some action against Danny Amendola, Brandin Cooks and even Rob Gronkowski as the Patriots aim to force the Birds out of their comfort zone.
The big matchup however is Cooks. With 17 receptions on deep targets this season and Brady throwing past that range on 13% of his attempts this season, it’s safe to say that the speedy former Saints wideout will be problematic at best for Mills. But this is a task he’s well prepared for.
Mills has faced number one talent all year long and in the absence of Ronald Darby, was relied on to anchor down the Secondary and buy time for the pass-rush. Julio Jones? Check. Larry Fitzgerald? Sure. Tyreek Hill? Uh huh. The list goes on and this challenge shouldn’t come as a surprise to Mills, who has been a ‘mismatch mystery’ all season long.
I’m predicting Mills to record an interception in the Super Bowl, batting down two passes and recording 3 tackles along the way
Making a statement:
If there’s one group of players on this team you don’t want to upset, it’s probably the defensive line. One of the most tenacious units in the league, the front four has been absolutely lethal all year long. The gameplan this weekend will be the same it has been all year; give opposing quarterbacks hell. The signal-caller this week just so happens to be Tom Brady, but if the Eagles can bring the same level of pressure they did to Case Keenum and Matt Ryan then they could well force some big moments and turnovers.
Penultimately, I’m predicting the Eagles to record 3 sacks on Brady during the Super Bowl and 8 QB hits, forcing the 40-year old veteran to play with his back to the wall…which while not ideal, is certainly better than allowing him to be magic throughout.
Where do we start with Nick Foles? The confidence he has exuded during this playoff stretch has simply been remarkable. After lifting the team to a win over Atlanta and dominating the Vikings, Foles enters his first Super Bowl without a single postseason interception. My final bold prediction is for Foles to continue that record, passing for 250+ yards, two touchdowns and no picks when the pressure is at an unprecedented level.
Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports