Fearless Rick's NFL Football Picks - Super Bowl 52 (LII)

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Super Bowl 52 (LII) Commentary, Picks and Props

All times Eastern

Super Bowl Quiz

Super Bowl Scores, MVPs, 1967-2018

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Super Bowl LII (52) 6:30 pm, U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
New England Patriots (-4 1/2, 48 1/2) vs. Philadelphia Eagles (NBC)

Let's keep things simple here.

No kneeling during the national anthem. The only kneeling that should be seen by the massive audience watching Super Bowl 52 will be at the end of the game, as victorious Philadelphia quarterback Nick Foles takes a knee somewhere around the New England 35-yard line to allow the clock to run out, ending the game and, hopefully, the disheartening dynasty of the New England Patriots, coach Bill Belichick and QB Tom Brady.

The Patriots cruised through the playoffs without much of a scare, though Jacksonville actually should have beaten them, only to lose on another Brady miracle, 24-20, as the Patriots racked up 14 points in the final quarter.

Where Jacksonville failed, the Eagles will succeed. Their defense was among the best in the league, allowing an average of 306.5 yards and 18.4 points per game, both good for fourth place overall. New England's defense was rated 29th during the regular season, giving up 366 yards, but only 18.5 points per game, and it's points that matter, so they're bendable, but not essentially breakable.

Pound for pound, though the Eagles have a better defense, played against better teams and should limit the Patriots to under 100 yards rushing for the game. Of course, that's not the big matter, because they really have to contain and constrain Brady and especially, New England's monster tight end, Rob Gronkowski, not an easy task, though the Eagle secondary should be up to it and the Philly front line should be able to pressure Brady without letting up.

The Eagles racked up 38 sacks and 19 interceptions. New England had 42 and 12.

The big difference will be at the quarterback and running back spots and in the secondary. Sure, Brady is a national hero and future hall of famer, but Nick Foles has shown savvy and poise under pressure and his ability to scamble and run for first downs is likely to be a deciding factor. Also, the Eagle secondary is faster and more athletic than New England's, and, if the Eagles' defense can force him to unload early, the potential for at least two interceptions is high.

Philly's Jay Ajayi rushed for 408 yards on 70 carries, a 5.8 ypc average. New England won't be able to stop one of the sturdiest backs in football, and, LeGarrette Blount will make Patriot defenders wish they'd taken up another line of work.

Then there's the question of the point spread, which has shrunk from New England being favored by six to a measly 4 1/2, but, regardless, it probably won't matter, since the Eagles should win outright. Even a Philadelphia loss should be by no more than four points. The average winning margin for New England in their five Super Bowl victories is a measly 3.8.

Finally, everybody hates cheaters, and the Patriots have been caught numerous times. Remember deflate-gate and spying on the Jets' practices? We're done with cheaters winning, aren't we? The Pats also usually get plenty of help from the refs, like in the most recent AFC Championship. New England had plenty of help in that regard.

Nobody wants to wake up next week and see Tom Brady's mug on the cover of Sports Illustrated. We've had enough of that.

Philadelphia Freedom.

Coin Flip: New England

Rick's Pick: Eagles 34 Patriots 17

Super Bowl Quiz

Super Bowl Scores, MVPs, 1967-2018


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