Super Bowl '05!!

by Dean Nicosia                                                          2/5/05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's time for the hype to end and the big game to be played. I'll give you my brief preview and save you a ton of stats that you can get on www.nfl.com . I'll just give you what I feel on the game, and at the end, my prediction.

This Super Bowl matches up the best two teams in the league not only this season, but for the past four. The Eagles represent the biggest challenge that the Patriots have seen in a long time. The defensive stats of the Patriots and Eagles are almost identical. And on offense, you have one of the best all around offenses in the NFL with the Patriots, led by two-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady. This guy leads a productive group that can hurt you on the ground with Corey Dillon, and in the air, with a host of very good receivers.  The Eagles on offense are led by a very good and explosive QB in Donovan McNabb, who can run almost as good as he can throw. The Special teams of these two teams are also very similar. Let's look at the offense/defense match-ups, and leave the special teams alone. 

The Patriots defense against the Philly offense is going to be an interesting match up. The Patriots are very big on taking the strength of your offense out of the game, and making you go to plans b and c. This week's challenge is that Donovan represents a dual threat in his ability to run and pass. His running is a dual threat in itself, as he can use his legs to avoid a rush, and throw on the run, which he does very well, or he can use his legs to take off and run the ball down the field.. The running game of the Eagles is also key, with Westbrook running so effectively as of late. So I think that the Patriots on Defense are going start by dropping back a bit more, trying to take away the passing game and allowing the eagles to run the ball at first. The Patriots once in that spot are very good at breaking off coverage and containing a running back, as they did against the Colts. I think that you can allow yards in this game, but you can't allow the big play. So I think they will try to take away the passing game of the Eagles, and force them into running. If they can accomplish this, they will be able to do what they do best, which is hit hard and tackle, and when possible, create turnovers. If T.O. plays, they will force him to work for every catch, and make him pay heavily after every catch. 

They can pursue and contain a guy like McNabb very well, when they are dropped back into coverage. If you try to blitz a McNabb too much, you run the risk of losing containment on him, and having him hurt you down the field both by running and by throwing on the run. The Patriots front 7 are very quick and very instinctive, which puts them at their best at stopping a good passer when they play a game plan like they did against the Colts. Younger QBs such as Rothlessburger get blitzed a bit more and they are allowed more room to pass, which can lead to interceptions from their lack of experience. The Bus was the bigger threat in that game. So the key was taking him out of that game.  This game plan will be similar to the Indy game plan, with the exception that they will have to keep an eye on McNabb when he starts to move out of the pocket. Of course if Philly changes it up, so will that Patriots, which is what makes the Patriots so good. Look for a guy like McGinnest to have a big game for the Patriots on D. 

On Offense, the Patriots and Tom Brady have a tough challenge, and it's a good thing that Tom Brady has been preparing all week, even to the point where he has become a "pain in the butt" to Charley Weis offensive coordinator of the Patriots. The Patriots will start slow on offense, not trying to force anything, rather test the waters, to see signs of possible exploitation. The Eagles are big and fast up front, they put 7 to 8 in the box to both stop the run and put pressure on the QB. Their scouting report on Brady is that the most effective pressure on him is pressure up the middle. Look for Kearst among others to try to get in Brady's face right up the middle. They will also try to take Dillon out of the game plan by slowing him down. What that may leave open, is the short passing game of slants and screens, and passes to the RBs and TEs. When you blitz up the middle, you have to bring safeties and LBs  from the middle which can open up the middle of the field for the short passing game. Also look for Dillon to make some big blocks on those pass rushers.  Look for Graham and Faulk to be key receivers, as well as Givens in this one. Dillon should be a key, but if he's stopped, Brady will have to use quick passes to bigger receivers. That is why I like number 82 to have a big game this week. The Patriots can adjust during the game as well as any offense, so look for some different sets, from the power set, to a 5 wide with no RB. Whatever the Eagles are willing to give up, the Patriots and Tom Brady will take advantage of, which I think will be right down the middle of the field. 

At the end of the Day, all of what we have heard and read this week is speculation, just as this is. I like the way my team prepares, and I don't care how they get it done, as long as they bring home that trophy with the word "Dynasty" inscribed on it. I'm as nervous as I ever have been, but I'm looking forward to a great time watching them play. 

My Slanted Prediction on the game;

Patriots 34   Eagles 20

I think it will be close in the first half, but the Patriots will pull away in the second half, with some of the Patriot's point coming on defense and/or special teams.

God Bless and Go Patriots!!

 

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