- Abbie Parr/Getty
- On Sunday, the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots square off in the Super Bowl.
- Our sports staff made picks against the spread.
The Super Bowl is here!
Sunday’s big game between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles appears to be pitting two evenly matched teams against one another.
The Patriots are the gambling favorite and the favorite in the NFL world. But don’t sleep on the Eagles, who dominated during the regular season and never faltered, even when Carson Wentz had to be replaced by Nick Foles because of a torn ACL.
As is our tradition, we’ve asked our sports team to give their predictions against the spread.
Cork Gaines, editor: Patriots -4.5
I’m not going to overthink this one. The four most important people in the stadium on Sunday will be the two head coaches and the two quarterbacks. The Patriots have the advantage with both and it is not even that close. The Patriots also have the conditioning advantage and the experience to stay calm and still have energy in the second half in a game where just the hype and the length of the game can cause Super Bowl rookies to crash late. In addition, the Patriots should finally solve their early-game offensive struggles in the Super Bowl. It is not terribly difficult to make a case for how the Eagles can win, but if they played this game ten times, the Patriots are winning seven or eight times and they are due for an easy one on the biggest stage.
PATRIOTS 48, EAGLES 17
Scott Davis, sports reporter: Patriots -4.5
There are reasons to believe this Eagles squad could pull off the upset. Their defense is explosive, their offense is balanced, and they’re smartly coached. This game could come down to time on the field. The Patriots’ offense was fourth-best in the NFL at staying on the field while their defense played the fifth-fewest possessions in the league,per ESPN’s Bill Barnwell. Meanwhile, the Eagles defense was second in time per possession on the field, meaning they got the ball back to their offense pretty quickly.
Though we may overstate the importance of quarterbacks in Super Bowls (see: Manning, Eli) it’s tough to imagine that Bill Belichick and Co. can’t build a plan to make Nick Foles as uncomfortable as possible. Last year, I picked against the Patriots and felt great about it until a heart-sinking fourth quarter. I pick against the Patriots no longer.
PATRIOTS 30, EAGLES 20
Tyler Lauletta, sports reporter: Eagles +4.5
As a lifelong Eagles fan, I have no rational thought when it comes to this game – everything is clouded in emotion.
Do I think our front four can cause enough chaos in the backfield to have Tom Brady struggle? Sure. Have I thought endlessly about how the Jaguars’ offense tore through the Patriots’ defense with their run/pass option set, something the Eagles specifically excel at? Absolutely. But every piece of analysis is coming through green-tinted glasses that distort the image to a point where I can’t trust if what I’m seeing is reality, or what I wish reality could be.
We’ve been the also-rans for so long, the fact that our Super Bowl hopes come down to a backup quarterback facing down the greatest of all time is only fitting. Part of me feels like this is the only way it could happen. Go Birds.
EAGLES 25, PATRIOTS 20.
Brett LoGiurato, executive editor: Eagles +4.5
Disclosure: I’m mostly picking this exact score because it may or may not align with my pool numbers. That said, I think this game will be much closer and down to the wire than appears to be the pregame consensus. The Eagles have an elite defense that will cause the Patriots some trouble, especially early, and a backup quarterback who suddenly looks like he’ll be a starter somewhere next year. The bottom line: As a Jets fan, I can’t pick Nick Foles over Tom Brady in a Super Bowl.
PATRIOTS 20, EAGLES 16
Leah Goldman, managing editor: Eagles +4.5
The Eagles have all the momentum right now. As we pointed out earlier this week, the Eagles were only given a 21% chance to win their own division before the season started, and they’ve defied all odds. I think they’re going to keep defying them. Also, how can you not love this Nick Foles comeback?
EAGLES 27, PATRIOTS 24