We’re finally here.
The longest two weeks will finally peak with the Eagles and Patriots vying for the Lombardi Trophy on Sunday night at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’ve felt a rare sense of confidence the last two weeks, especially considering the Eagles are playing the dynastic New England Patriots.
Every dynasty comes to an end. And even though Carson Wentz would’ve been the perfect quarterback to pass the torch to, Nick Foles is looking to become the only other quarterback alongside Eli Manning to dethrone Tom Brady on the biggest stage.
And we think he can do it.
To the predictions:
Candis McLean (15-1 in regular season, 2-0 in playoffs, @CandisRMcLean):
Over the last few days, I’ve seen fans in disarray over everything from non-padded practices to kids being mentioned in pressers. I get it. Some of you are so paranoid that you need to stack up reasons like dominoes to assure yourself of victory. You simply can’t trust that we have a dominant defense. You let the allure of Brady and Belichick distract you from our great play-calling and personnel. Thank God I’m not any of you people. Stop aimlessly searching for signs of defeat when the reality of triumph is staring you dead in the face! So to all you doubters, to all of the fans still adrift in uncertainty, I yell from the mountaintop of belief that we will win this damn game!
Dave Uram (14-2 in regular season, 2-0 in playoffs, @MrUram):
The legend of Bill Belichick and Tom Brady can be overwhelming. They are the Patriots strongest assets, as the Birds match up well overall and are better on paper than the Pats. New England’s experience is worrisome. being at a neutral field is as well, even though Eagles fans are more than capable of taking over. No lead is safe against Brady and Belichick.
However, if in the position to win, the Eagles won’t choke like Jacksonville, Atlanta and Seattle. The offense needs to remain turnover free. Fletcher Cox needs to earn that pay check one more game and set the tone for his defensive line wrecking havoc on Brady. The defense needs to make a play like Patrick Robinson, Chris Long and Derek Barnett did versus Minnesota. Nick Foles must play within himself and stay confident.
If that happens, the Eagles will score three touchdowns to the Patriots two, while both make one field goal.
It won’t be easy, but if the 2017 Eagles we’re used to show up Sunday night, this dream season will end on the right note, singing the Eagles’ Fight Song in a parade for the ages.
Caleb Weiler (3-2 in regular season, 1-1 in playoffs, @TheBitter_Caleb):
It’s finally here. The Eagles and their fans have waited 13 years to get back to The Big Game and they play the team that beat them last time around. I’m keeping this short and simple. LongCox will be in Brady’s face all night and he will not have a chance to get comfortable. If the Eagles win that battle then they win the game.
Anthony Mazziotti (9-2 in regular season, 2-0 in playoffs, @AntMazziotti):
The drought will end on February 4th.
The Eagles will get revenge on the Pats and walk away with their first Super Bowl in franchise history. Nick Foles will execute Doug Pederson’s game plan to perfection, Jay Ajayi will run hard, Zach Ertz and Nelson Agholor will win their matchups. The defense will put a strangle hold on the Patriot’s rushing attack, and Tom Brady will look human.
I would have it no other way. The Eagles will get their first Super Bowl win over one of the biggest dynasties in sports history. Give me the BIRDS!
Tony Cutillo (12-4 in regular season, 2-0 in playoffs, @TCutillo23):
If you would have asked me three months ago if the Eagles would be in contention for a Super Bowl victory, I would have instantly told you to stop living in Ricky Williams’s footsteps. However, the football gods have spoken and the Philadelphia Eagles are looking to spread their wings all over the city of Minnesota.
There is no time for negativity and no time for doubts. We are in position to take hold of the Lombardi Trophy and it feels sooooooo good. Damn right my homer hat is on and I will display it proudly. This game will come down to passion and perseverance – two things the Patriots do not have in their arsenal. This one was simple. I LOVE YOU, DOUG!
Adrian Fedkiw (14-2 in regular season, 2-0 in playoffs, @AdrianFedkiw):
The Eagles have a recipe to get after Brady and collapse the pocket and if the pass coverage holds up well enough consistently throughout the night, the pressure can get home. Limiting the possessions and keeping Brady off the field is also going to be important and with the Patriots allowing 4.7 yards per carry, I envision Philadelphia’s offensive line being able to get constant push. I also believe Nelson Agholor can have a big game against Eric Rowe in the slot. I’ve got the Birds and Jake Elliott kicking a late field goal in the final minute to win it.
Sean Brace (12-3 in regular season, 2-0 in playoffs, @Sean_Brace):
ALL CAPS BECAUSE WE MEAN BUSINESS!
IT HAS BEEN A HELL OF A RIDE THIS SEASON AND THERE’S NO REASON TO BELIEVE WE HAVE TO GET OFF RIGHT NOW. YOU DON’T WIN 15 GAMES BY CHANCE. THIS IS A SOLID EAGLES “TEAM,” LED BY THE RIGHT PLAYERS WHO WILL ULTIMATELY MAKE THE DIFFERENCE ON SUNDAY! THE D-LINE … LOOK FOR A HUGE PUSH UP FRONT BY FLETCHER COX AND COMPANY THAT KNOCKS BRADY OFF HIS SPOT ALL GAME LONG. GIVE ME THE EAGLES, 29-23 AS I’M CLIMBING A POLE RIGHT NOW AND I’M COVERED IN GREASE!
CONGRATULATIONS PHILLY… WE DID IT!
Nick Piccone (15-1 in regular season, 2-0 in playoffs, @nickpiccone):
It’s funny – the last two weeks have been mainly about the air of confidence in most Eagles fans. I mean, we have to respect the Brady and Belichick Era, and they certainly have a knack for the dramatic. Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time, and I think last year cemented that.
That said, he’s not unbeatable. This isn’t 2007 Tom Brady. The Jacksonville Jaguars completely changed what was working on defense in fear that Belichick’s adjustments wouldn’t work. The Patriots are lucky to be in this game. And that doesn’t mean the Eagles aren’t lucky. When Wentz went down, Pederson completely revamped the offense to suit Nick Foles.
We haven’t seen this coaching excellence in as long as I can remember. What’s going to be key is being able to adjust to Belichick’s adjustments. Whether the Eagles jump out to a hot start or cold, the team needs to remember the game is 60 minutes long. Some other teams have seemed to forget that.
But that can’t happen on Sunday. Not on the biggest stage in sports. Not to us. I believe in Pederson and his coaching staff. I believe in these players. Every dynasty comes to an end, and now’s as good a chance as any that a team has had to dethrone the Patriots.
Come on… did you really think anyone would pick the Patriots?
You can follow Nick Piccone on Twitter (@nickpiccone) and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to The Straight Shooters Podcast (@ShootersRadio) on iTunes here and listen every Friday afternoon at 2:00 P.M. on Wildfire Radio. Click here to read his pro wrestling articles on PhillyVoice.