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Super Bowl LII: Breaking down Eagles vs. Patriots with Christa Levitas

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BLOOMINGTON, MN - JANUARY 30: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks to the media during Super Bowl LII media availability on January 30, 2018 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on February 4th. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, MN - JANUARY 30: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks to the media during Super Bowl LII media availability on January 30, 2018 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on February 4th. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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BLOOMINGTON, MN – JANUARY 30: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks to the media during Super Bowl LII media availability on January 30, 2018 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on February 4th. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
BLOOMINGTON, MN – JANUARY 30: Head coach Doug Pederson of the Philadelphia Eagles speaks to the media during Super Bowl LII media availability on January 30, 2018 at Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota. The Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII on February 4th. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

Heading into Super Bowl LII, we sit with Christa Levitas of Locker Room Update to discuss the big game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots.

This is the weekend we’ve all been waiting for. Super Bowl LII is almost upon us and promises to be a great game between two of the best teams in the NFL. The New England Patriots are entering familiar territory as the Philadelphia Eagles are hoping to finally win their first Super Bowl championship in franchise history.

I sit today with one of my favorite writers of Locker Room Update, Christa Levitas, who will join me in discussing the best topics around Super Bowl LII and of course, our beloved New York Jets. In case you didn’t know, she specializes in articles on the Jets and also interviews rookie prospects that are about to enter the pros via the NFL Draft.

Time to get into our sit-down conversation around the Patriots, Eagles, Jets, and even Justin Timberlake. Before we begin, please give a like to the Facebook page of Locker Room Update to stay in the loop of their work and feel free to follow Christa on Twitter or Facebook.

EDEN PRAIRIE, MN – JANUARY 31: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up during the New England Patriots practice on January 31, 2018 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.The New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on February 4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
EDEN PRAIRIE, MN – JANUARY 31: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots warms up during the New England Patriots practice on January 31, 2018 at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.The New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII on February 4. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

5. How to stop the New England Patriots?

LTJ: Hey Christa! Once again, thanks for doing this sit-down with me heading into the biggest football game of the year. Sadly, we’ve done this before involving a particular team we’ve all grown to despise over the year… the New England Patriots. Super Bowl LII is all about the Philadelphia Eagles hopefully stopping the Evil Empire from their sixth Super Bowl championship. How do the Eagles stop the Patriots?

CL: Hey Luis! Thank you for the opportunity and for your time! It means a lot! Haha yeah, sadly. First, the Eagles have to get pressure on Tom Brady. Sack him/hit him early and often. Second, the Eagles have to play perfect football meaning not to make too many penalties. Third, I would say that the Eagles have to control the clock by using their run game. The Eagles have a good set at running back with Jay Ajayi, Corey Clement, and LeGarrette Blount. Establishing the run game and getting Nick Foles comfortable is key. Finally, the Patriots are deadly in the red zone. The Eagles have to find a way to contain Rob Gronkowski. I suggest the Eagles watch the tape when the Jets played the Patriots on December 31st where they used both Jamal Adams and Darron Lee to cover Gronk. I believe if the Eagles are able to achieve all of these steps they have a great chance of beating the Patriots!

LTJ: You’re very welcome and great insight! I know Gronk will be playing on Super Bowl Sunday but I have a funny feeling he’s not going to have the same impact that everyone believes he will. He’s coming off the concussion protocol and even though he had a pretty Gronk-like season with the Patriots, I think he’ll be limited in what he does due to this injury. I remember that Jets game since it fell on my birthday, sadly, they lost but I agree, they contained Gronk well in that matchup. Do you think the Patriots will start the game off focusing on their passing game or try to establish the run?

CL: Thank you very much! Appreciate the kind words. Hope you had a great birthday! That’s an interesting thought about Gronk! I honestly believe since the Eagles Defense is #1 at stopping the run that the Patriots will primarily focus on there passing game.

Next: 4. Which team has the advantage?

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 21: Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Minnesota Vikings during their NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 21: Nick Foles #9 of the Philadelphia Eagles in action against the Minnesota Vikings during their NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

4. Which team has the advantage?

LTJ: I’ve read a plethora of articles and seen countless hours of predictions and picks by experts from ESPN and Sports Illustrated. In your opinion, which team has the advantage heading into Super Bowl LII and why?

CL: This is honestly an interesting question. I think you can make the case for either or. I think when it comes to the defensive side of the ball the Eagles are the clear winners. They have the best run defense. They’re able to get to the quarterback and have some young defensive backs. When it comes to the offensive side of the ball it’s the New England Patriots. They have one of the best if not the best quarterback in the league with Tom Brady. They have Gronk who is a playmaker at tight end and very hard to cover. Just a mismatch for defenses. They also have Danny Amendola who is a shifty offensive playmaker. There a dangerous team in the red zone and one of the best scoring in the red zone I believe their offense is around 5th in the red zone.

LTJ: I hope and believe this will be a great game that comes down to the wire since like you said, it’s a great offense in the Patriots going up against a stout defense in the Eagles. To me, the Eagles have the clear advantage since they have so many more offensive weapons, a swarming defense, and a special teams that could be a difference maker in a football game. Aside from Brady and friends on offense, I don’t see the Patriots defense keeping up with the Eagles. I predict that this time around, the Eagles will have an early lead but unlike the Atlanta Falcons of last year’s Super Bowl, they’ll play smart football and not overthink things to the point of blowing a lead. What offensive player on the Eagles do you see being the biggest threat against the Patriots defense?

CL: I hope so too! I honestly believe it will be a good game. If I had to pick a player on the Eagles offense that I believe would be a threat to the Patriots I would pick Ajayi. The reason why I went with him is that he has the intel from being with the Miami Dolphins. I believe he knows the Patriots and what he needs to do as a running back to make plays against their defense. He’s done it twice a year when he was with the Dolphins and I believe he will be an X-factor for the Eagles to beat the Patriots.

Next: 3. What can the Jets learn from both teams?

3. What can the Jets learn from both teams?

LTJ: Of course, a part of us undoubtedly feels sad that our beloved New York Jets aren’t playing in the big game. Heck, we weren’t even alive the last time the Jets were in the big game. What can Gang Green learn from both teams in Super Bowl LII?

CL: I think what the Jets can learn from both teams is first, to draft well and keep homegrown talent. Both the Eagles and the Patriots have done a great job building up there team smartly and keeping their homegrown talent. This will be an important offseason for Maccagnan and he has to hit on the draft and free agency. Drafting well and keeping homegrown talent is critical to being a successful franchise. Second, I would say that the Jets need to establish some type of system or identity and stick with it. The Jets need continuity and stability which I believe is a huge key to success. Last, this is going to sound obvious but go get your quarterback. The Eagles found their franchise quarterback by trading up in the draft to secure Carson Wentz while the Patriots were lucky enough to draft and find Brady in the 6th round. Developing and finding a quarterback is a big key the Jets can take away from this game.

LTJ: I can’t begin to tell you how many articles I’ve written just on the quarterback situation of the Jets alone. It’s the elephant in the room since it’s no secret that the Jets have done a pretty bad job at finding their franchise quarterback and creating an ideal situation for them. It’s not just about the quarterback but the supporting cast around him. I’m happy that Maccagnan is trying to rebuild the Jets the right way by going with youth but this must be the year they finally fix their quarterback situation. When I look at the Eagles and Patriots, they have their franchise quarterback in place. Heck, the Eagles had two of them since the backup quarterback is just as important as the starter since you never know when injuries or a steep decline in play can happy. Ultimately, I think once the Jets figure this out, everything else will fall into place. Do you see the Jets getting their franchise quarterback in free agency or the 2018 NFL Draft?

CL: Me too!! I agree! I honestly feel pretty good about the Jets getting there guy whether it’s in free agency or it’s in the NFL Draft. I believe the Jets will walk out of this offseason with a quarterback. I feel good about finally getting our guy.

Next: 2. Early predictions of the game

FOXBOROUGH, MA – JANUARY 21: Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots catches a touchdown pass as he is defended by Tashaun Gipson #39 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA – JANUARY 21: Danny Amendola #80 of the New England Patriots catches a touchdown pass as he is defended by Tashaun Gipson #39 of the Jacksonville Jaguars in the fourth quarter during the AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

2. Early predictions of the game

LTJ: Since this game will more than likely come down to the wire, what are your early predictions for Super Bowl LII? Who scores first? Who has the halftime lead? Who leaves this game victorious?

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CL: That’s tough. I believe the Patriots will score first. The Eagles will have the halftime lead and that the Eagles will win.

LTJ: Nice! I sure hope that happens! For me, I see the Eagles monkey-stomping the Patriots from beginning to end. There is a lot of tension in the air due to all these reports of the Patriots cheating in the past and even on their way to the big game.

I don’t personally believe any of it but at the end of the day, the Eagles are the better all-around and will be playing with a huge, underdog chip on their shoulder. Especially since this would be their first-ever Super Bowl championship in franchise history. Ultimately, do you think this game will be a blowout, a close game, or some dramatic finish that ends in a field goal?

CL: Same here! Interesting. I can see that happening. I honestly believe this will be a close game a good one I hope!

Next: 1. Final score and MVP

PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 21: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a second quarter rushing touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA – JANUARY 21: LeGarrette Blount #29 of the Philadelphia Eagles is congratulated by his teammates after scoring a second quarter rushing touchdown against the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field on January 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

1. Final score and MVP

LTJ: Alright Christa, as we’re about to wrap this up. What is your prediction for the final score and who wins Super Bowl LII MVP?

CL: I have the Eagles winning 24-27. With Ajayi being the Super Bowl MVP.

LTJ: Nice! I see the Eagles also winning, 38-24 with Blount being MVP. Originally, I had the Patriots winning with Brady, as always, probably being MVP but I’m changing my mind. I think the Eagles defense is going to get to him early and often and that’ll be what does it in this one. Finally, how excited are you for Justin Timberlake playing the halftime show?

Must Read: Jets 2018 NFL Mock Draft: Gang Green selects Josh Rosen

CL: Awesome! Same here actually about Brady but I feel good about the Eagles for some reason. I’m excited about Justin Timberlake playing he was my first childhood crush going grow up. Haha

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