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David Wingate | Brown University

The worst has come to pass.

Of all the Super Bowl matchups possible, it had to be this one. It just had to be Tom Brady and the Pats, on the game’s biggest stage for the umpteenth time, with their spoiled fans and deflated balls. It just had to be the Philadelphia Goons, with Napoleon Dynamite at quarterback and a legion of santa-hating, cheese steak gobbling characters. We could have seen feel good story Case Keenum bring the Vikings home to play in their own stadium. Or had the Jaguars let Leonard Fournette do dirty, dirty things to some poor defensive linemen on the way to Tom Coughlin completing his resuscitation of a franchise through sheer, red-faced will.

Instead, we got an apocalypse of a tilt, which to this columnist feels more like a fight between your middle school bully and an entitled rich kid than a game between storied franchises.

Regardless, Sunday is still Super Bowl Sunday. And personal grudges aside, millions of Americans will still tune in to watch the climax of the NFL season, pizza and beer in hand. There’ll be stupid commercials, endless speculation, and maybe even some football. So without further ado, here’s our Super Bowl preview.

When the Patriots have the ball:

Well, there’s this guy named Tom. He’s been around for a little while now, and he hates tomatoes (for real, Tom Brady doesn’t eat tomatoes. Psycho). But anyways, where Tom Brady goes, the Patriots go. And this game will be no exception. The Pats passed for the 2nd most yards in the league this year, and did so without do it all receiver Julian Edelman. And when the rushing game starts clicking, it’s hard to stop them. But if there’s a defense that could, it might be the Eagles. They gave up less than 19 points per game this year, and were aggressive in taking the ball away. But what will be the deciding factor here will certainly be how well they can get after Tom Brady. It’s no secret that the only tried and true way to stop Brady is to hit him hard and hit him often. It’s how the Giants managed to sneak away with two titles against him, and it’s the only conceivable way that the Eagles can do the same. Defensive Tackle Fletcher Cox has the right idea- as he put it, “We can’t go out and just let him bake pizzas back there.”

When the Eagles have the ball:

This matchup certainly won’t dominate the headlines in the same way that Brady vs the Eagles’ pass rush will, but may prove to be just as intriguing. The Eagles’ offense has the potential to be a scary unit for Matt Patricia and the Patriots’ D, and with Nick Foles under center instead of injured Carson Wentz, who knows what kind of looks the Eagles will come out with. Any concerns of a huge regression under Foles were answered a week ago, when Foles threw for over 300 yards and 3 touchdowns against one of the league’s top defenses. But can Foles keep it up against New England? The answer might be yes- the Pats have been inconsistent all year on defense, and if Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount can keep up pressure on the ground, that might open Foles up for a big game. Of course, Bill Belichick might also call up his college roommate Cthulu for some gameday voodoo, but we can’t exactly predict that, now can we.

Prediction

What I’m rooting for is a giant meteor. Or maybe the broadcast gets cancelled and we just get a bunch of How I Met Your Mother reruns. But you can’t always get what you want.

But if you try sometimes, you just might find you get a ballgame. And I fully expect this one to be competitive. I think that the Eagles will come out hot, getting pressure on Brady and committing to the run game. I see them taking a lead into halftime and maybe even into the fourth quarter. That being said, I don’t see Brady and Belichick losing this one. They’ll find some way to turn a lacrosse player into a national treasure, and win it at the last second. Brady will become so much of a GOAT that he starts chewing turf, and Belichick will be so overcome that he’ll curve the corners of his mouth up, imperceptibly of course.

And who knows? Maybe Justin Timberlake will reveal his own nipple this time around. Wouldn’t that be fun?

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