On Sunday, at U.S. Bank Stadium, the Philadelphia Eagles will take on the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII. The Eagles will attempt to dethrone one of the league’s greatest dynasties and here’s how they can do so.
At the beginning of the 2017 NFL regular season, the New England Patriots found themselves in the familiar role of being Super Bowl favorites. Sure enough, they find themselves back in the big game for the third time in the past six seasons.
While analyzing New England’s three regular-season losses to the Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and Carolina Panthers in 2017, there are three trends that truly stand out. If the Eagles are going to give themselves a great chance to win their first Super Bowl in franchise history, they’ll need to do these things.
The first and most important key, by a landslide, is getting pressure on Tom Brady. Philadelphia has a vastly talented defensive front with star players such as defensive tackle Fletcher Cox and defensive end Brandon Graham. They’ll need to come through in a big way on Sunday.
Each team that beat the Patriots this season had a minimum of 2 sacks and 6 quarterback hits. The Eagles must take Brady off his spot as much as possible on Sunday. If he has the time he needs in the pocket, he’ll pick Philadelphia’s secondary apart.
Another significant key to beating the Patriots is by establishing the ground attack on offense. New England’s rushing defense has proven to be solid by the numbers, but when exposed, they’ve been quite vulnerable.
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Every team that beat the Patriots this season rushed for somewhere in the range of 120-190 yards. With the formidable backfield duo of LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, Philly has the potential to do major damage on the ground.
The third and final key has to do with one of the best players in Patriots’ franchise history, and no, his name is not Tom Brady. While this is a very difficult thing to do, the Eagles absolutely must contain Rob Gronkowski.
While Gronkowski didn’t play in the team’s loss in Miami, the Chiefs and Panthers’ respective defenses held the perennial Pro Bowler under five catches and 100 yards. It’s very tough to completely shut down Gronk, but if they can keep him from taking over, the Eagles defense could be in for a big day. The real question is how they’ll go about doing so.
There’s the blueprint for Philadelphia in what will go down as one of the most important games in franchise history. If they keep Brady under duress, get their ground game going, and contain Gronkowski, the City of Brotherly Love will be celebrating like you wouldn’t believe on Sunday night.