“Super Bowl Sunday-Football….Checkers…Chess”
Playing chess…playing checkers….playing football.
In the most simplistic form, that’s what Super Bowl Sunday is all about.
New England meets Philadelphia. Tom Brady faces a fierce Eagles defense. The New England defense will try to slow down the Philadelphia offense.
And you have the Patriots braintrust, the 3-Musketeers, Bill Belicheck-Matt Patricia and Josh O’Brien against the brilliance of the Eagles head coach Doug Pederson and the feistiness of his defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
There are lots of moving parts about what will happen starting at 3-30pm on Sunday in Minnesota.
Brady’s offense and Belicheck’s defense have gotten the Patriots 5-Super Bowl rings.
The game is all about matchups and how the players cope with the pressure the opposing coaches will put them under.
Tom Brady will look to play ‘chess’ against the Eagles.
How do you defend Rob Grankowski? Can you defend the deep ball passes going towards wideout Brandon Cooks? What happens when he starts throwing underneath or across the middle to Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan?
And if that’s not enough, Brady threw a ton of completions out on the edge to his three running backs, Dion Lewis, James White and Rex Burkhart.
Across the line of scrimmage, the Patriots will play checkers with its defense. Bluntly, when the Eagles QB-Nick Foles comes to the line of scrimmage, will he believes what he sees?
Belicheck’s people disguise so much you wonder if Foles pre-snap reads of what he sees will be fact or fiction.
Where’s the pressure coming from, what will the coverage be like when Foles drops back, will there be a blitz, or a ton of guys dropping its coverage.
Next thing you know, what you thought was happening, doesn’t. And the Patriots will goad you into mistakes. It always happen on Super Bowl Sunday.
Belicheck is so well known for admonishing the media, that stats don’t matter. It’s not about how many yards to give up in a game, t’s how few points you give up that helps decide the wins.
So the stingy Patriots choke you off inside the 20-yard lines, the red zone, which becomes a black hole. They force teams to kick field goals. Getting lots of 3’s is not the way to beat the Pats.
That’s because New England and Brady go down the field with regularity, and get tons of touchdowns in the red zone. Too many 7’s always win against a team that settle for just 3’s.
This is not to take anything away from what the Eagles have done.
Philadelphia does not out scheme you that much. They just pound you.
Fletcher Cox and friends, especially that tough guy front seven, make plays, get to the QB, slow down the run game.
And yes, the Eagles do have some firepower on offense, but not equal to the big play bullets in the New England gun. Nobody speaks of Zach Ertz, Nelson Agholor, or the two running backs,Jay Ajayi or LaGarrett Blount in the same sentence as to what the Pats run out there.
And yes, coach Doug Pederson dismantled the Vikings very good defense last Sunday in the NFC title game, throwing on the flanks and wearing them out, but Case Keenum is no Tom Brady, and the Vikings in no way have the cross section of skill players the Pats will throw at you.
So what happens?
The Eagles will rejoice if they get a couple of three and outs against Brady, or limit the Pats to a few field goals. Great you slowed him down the first three possessions, what are you going to do with the other 8-series he will get?
The New England game is dictated by geography. Put Philadelphia on a long field, and then make Foles make a mistake to snuff out drives. And if they get into New England territory, good luck finding the end zone.
Again the 3-vs-7 scoreboard debate.
The only way to describe the Patriots, are an evil defense, a ruthless quarterback, and an intelligence not to be matched by other teams, coaches and players.
It’s going to be a chess game….a checkers game…or maybe dominoes, for when they start to fall, New England will win.
They usually do, and always have when Bill Belicheck and Tom Brady are on the field on Super Bowl Sunday.
Patriots 31-Eagles 16, and it won’t be close.