UP illustration by Cassandra Jenkins

UP illustration by Cassandra Jenkins

UP sports editor Cassandra Jenkins and staffer Cade Smith break down Sunday’s big NFL showcase

Cassie: Super Bowl LII is officially underway. It’s only days now before the two teams clash, and I am definitely rooting for the Eagles. I can’t stand the Patriots and I will always root for the opposing team and go for the underdog. 

Cade: Seeing as though the Patriots have been in the Super Bowl for the most part, in the past 20 years, they have a pretty good chance of winning. I don’t love the Patriots or really want them to win. But, seeing as how you are my superior, I guess I have to go for the Patriots in this debate to make it fair on both ends.

Cassie:  I don’t think it’s the matchup most of us were really hoping to see for this Super Bowl, it’s not going to be an extremely amazing game. The Eagles are missing Carson Wentz and his poor backup Nick Foles has only played about seven games this season — and his eighth game is going to be against Tom Brady. But, in terms of injuries, both teams are suffering a loss. Philly is missing Wentz, the Pats are missing Rob Gronkowski. In terms of history, the Eagles are actually leading in the all-time series. They have played the Pats 13 times and lead 7-6, with the last encounter being in 2015 when the Eagles beat the Patriots 35-28. Overall, I think the Eagles have a pretty decent chance at beating the hated team from Beantown again. 

Cade: Brady has been here. Their whole franchise has been built on Brady. Everyone has been riding Brady and Belichick for years. I know everyone hates them and they’re not my team, I’m honestly rooting for the Eagles, too. But I just don’t think they’ll get it done. You can’t give Tom Brady time, if you give him too much time you see what happens. You give him a minute, he’ll pull it off. You give him a second and he’ll still score. Look at last year’s game. The Falcons were leading by 28 points and the Pats still came back to win in overtime. I swear, it’s like they made a pact with the devil or something — or the referees (editor’s note: there might be a slight bias in this statement). The Patriots have the history. They have the experience. The last time they faced the Eagles, in the 2004 Super Bowl, it was a close game but NE still won by a field goal, In terms of history and what Brady is known to do, it will be just another Super Bowl under his belt. 

Cassie: Ouch. That one hurt. I’m still fuming over the Falcons loss last year, but let’s put that aside, focus on this game. I put down a few stats that we can look at. They both ended their season 13-3. They both shared a loss to the Chiefs, but the Eagles only lost by seven, whereas the Patriots lost by 15. That proves the Eagles can definitely handle their own against tough teams. Both teams are equal in points a game at 28.6. They also match up in points allowed at 18.4 a game. This is going to be a really close game. Last year, it was powerhouse offense versus powerhouse defense. This year it will be more of a defense game.  It will definitely come down to who can break the other teams impenetrable offensive line first. 

Cade: I agree on that. 

Cassie: The Eagles also edge out the Patriots in third-down conversion percentage by 1.1 percent. That shows that they can finish a play. It will be a relatively close game. I don’t think it will be a blowout either way. The Eagles came back in the NFC championship game against the Vikings, I’m sure no one thought that was going to happen, and the Patriots also came back in their championship game against the Jaguars. It will definitely be a defensive battle — whose defense can hold their own against whose offense.

Cade: (Looks silently on, aghast at the amount of research Cassie has done). 

Cassie: Now, I’m not dumb. I don’t think in any scenario will Nick Foles be a better quarterback than Tom Brady. It’s just not going to happen. Maybe it would have been a different game if Philly had Carson Wentz, but it is what it is. Offensively, the Eagles run the ball better and the Patriots pass the ball (inflated or not) better. Because, well, Tom Brady. 

Cade: I mean, yeah, you are right with all those stats and those aspects on that end. 

Cassie: I know when you go on the internet and you talk to people or you watch sports networks you’re going to see everyone’s predictions that the Patriots are going to win. All you’ll see is Tom Brady, Tom Brady, Tom Brady. Patriots are going to win another Super Bowl. Sixth ring and all that nonsense. But you can tell, some people are begrudgingly making those predictions. They don’t want the Brady Bunch to win, but they are mostly certain they will. 

Cade: Yeah. Like with what you were saying earlier with the defense versus offense, I can say I have personal experience on my fantasy league with having the Patriots on my defense. They didn’t give me too many points. Flat out. To be fair, they had a stronger defense than my team, the Colts. If I had to choose between their defense and the Colts’ defense, and those were the only two choices, I had at the moment, I had to choose the Patriots. But that’s the only scenario where they would get a look in. Yes, the Eagles do have a better defense. I give them that. I’ve seen what their defense can do. I saw it the last game in their fight against the Vikings. But, the Patriots offense is better. Brady knows the game. He has been in this league for a very long time (again, more evidence that Brady is dealing with the devil). 

Cassie: There really is no contest between Foles and Brady at all, but if you can look at the running backs versus the wide receivers you are going to see some pretty tough matchups. The Eagles’ Dion Lewis against the Pats’ Malcolm Jenkins. Eagles receiver Jay Ajayi has been on a roll lately. In terms of history and stats these two teams are neck and neck. It’s going to really come down to who can handle the pressure. I hope the Eagles can get it done. My prediction is that it’s going to come down to a touchdown, possibly even a field goal. 

Cade: I think it will be close, too. It’s not going to be a blowout. It all depends on that fourth quarter, because like I said earlier, if you give Brady time, he’s going to get it done. The Eagles need to use their time and their timeouts wisely. They can’t waste their timeouts. Belichick knows how to use it. He knows what he’s doing. The Eagles coach needs to worry about what he is doing and watch that timeclock. 

Cassie: In terms of coaching, Belichick is a more seasoned coach. He’s been with the Patriots forever, compared to the Eagles’ coach Doug Pederson, who is only on his second year of coaching. He’s never coached a Super Bowl and that might be very apparent when it comes time to make some tough calls Sunday. A lot of eyes will be watching him. But, despite his youth, he’s brought this team to the brink. Even though they are the underdogs I truly believe they will make a great matchup for the Patriots come Sunday night. It will be an interesting game. I won’t lose any sleep over the outcome of the game as neither of these are my teams, but I will vote against the Patriots until the day I die and long after that in Heaven (where I am pretty sure I won’t see Brady or Bellichick).

Trivia

Are you an Eagle for life?

What was the first Super Bowl appearance for the Eagles?

What team did the Eagles merge with? And what was their team name?

What year did the Eagles become an NFL team?

When was the last time the Eagles met the Patriots in a Super Bowl game?

The Eagles replaced what team in the 1930s?

Are you a Patriots fan?

Where did Tom Brady go to college?

Where did the Patriots originate from before moving to New England?

What year were the Patriots founded?

Who was the first head coach of the New England Patriots?

Who was the quarterback 

Tom Brady replaced in 2001?

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