By Paul Kavanaugh
Not too bad, but not great either! That’s the short answer. I needed the miracle Minnesota touchdown at the end of that game to go 3 for 4 in the divisional round. The Eagles certainly surprised me, and most everyone outside of Philadelphia too! Not only did they keep me from a perfect weekend but kicked me down to 1 for 2 in the conference championship round. Good for them! New England is in the big game again, something like 3 of the last 4 years. Jacksonville gave them a heck of a fight though, and they can be proud of their season – especially considering where that franchise has been the last decade.
So here we are, Super Bowl LII (that’s 52 for you non-Latin scholars). The mighty Patriots against the upstart Eagles. They’re not really upstarts, they had the best record in the NFC, but people think they are actually upstarts because they lost Carson Wentz, their MVP candidate quarterback, with a couple games left in the season. But the oft-maligned Nick Foles rose to the occasion and has his team on the verge of history. These Eagles are a very solid team from top to bottom; the defense is really good, special teams play well and the offense has all the tools they need. Foles will be the key, but if he can keep his composure, they have a real shot here.
Of course, on the other side of the field is what is as close to a real dynasty as we have seen in many a year. The Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era is NOT over, don’t kid yourself. Who knows what happens after this game, but my guess is that they just keep going for another couple years. But enough about that. They are the clear favorites in this year’s big contest. The offense is darn good, the defense has gotten better game by game and their special teams always play consistent. The difference maker, as it has been for over a decade, is Tom Brady. The guy just has that magic, the ability to rise to any occasion. That comeback in last year’s game was probably the best of all time. And he is the best of all time. Those arguments have been won!
So now we come down to my pick. My friend Colin at Broad Street on State tells me his Eagles are going to do it this year. I tend to think he might be right and was set to make them my pick. But then I saw the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated. Nick Foles is on the cover. For any of you who are superstitious, that cover is considered the kiss of death – and it is quite rare to find a sports fan who is not at least somewhat superstitious. The other consideration is that I learned a long time ago not to bet against Brady. He doesn’t always win, but he is not playing the Giants this year. So, I say it is New England in a very close game, maybe 31-28. Hand me the chips and a cold one, I am ready for some football!