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On February 4th, one of the biggest stages in sports will, once again, be set to attract viewers from all over the world.

The Super Bowl, the Championship game of the National Football League ( NFL ), will be decided between the New England

Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Well over 100 million people are expected to watch the game and while

football enthusiasts are anxiously awaiting a hopefully great game of football, businesses all over the US and the

world are all but going to welcome the voracious appetite that trademarks Super Bowl Sunday (or rather Monday, for everyone watching from

Germany). But nachos and dip aside, lets take a closer look at the two contestants which will grace the biggest stage in American Football.


New England Patriots (13 wins-3 losses)

The New England Patriots, under Head Coach Bill Belichick and with Tom Brady at Quarterback, are going to appear in their 8th Super Bowl since 2002. With five

Super Bowl wins in the last 16 years, the Patriots are looking to solidify themselves as the closest thing to a dynasty that the NFL has seen in the 21st Century. So

why are the Patriots, in an age in which the NFL is designed to promote parity, so successful and why are they in the big game for the second year in a row ?



First, there is Bill Belichick (Image above ) and the system and attitude he has fostered in New England. Belichick doesn't leave a lot of room for big egos

and disruption in the  locker room and excels at putting newly aquired players in a position to be successful.

Examples would be this past off-season additions Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks, who had the second most receiving yards as well as Cornerback Stephon

Gilmore, who has also played quite formidably and had a game-sealing play against the Jaguars in the AFC Championship game (Image below ).

Stephon Gilmore (24) breaks up a pass to seal the AFC Championship Game


Not only new additions become playmakers, but backups do so also. The “next man up” mentality has been almost eerily present for the patriots, with this season

being no exception. In the pre-season, the Patriots lost their number one receiver, Julian Edelman (Image below), to an ACL tear. But even without Edelman

catching passes, other receivers such as Danny Amendola have stepped up and have helped the  Patriots punch a ticket for yet another Super Bowl. After trading

their starting Running Back Legarette Blount in the off-season, the current running backs led by Dion Lewis have still played at a remarkable level. And lastly,

Belichicks famous Mantra “Do your job”, lies at the heart of the Patriot way and is, combined with skilled gameplanning, a big key to the success of the Patriots.



And then there is Tom Brady (Image below). The now 40 year-old Quarterback is quite probably the best to ever play the position. With 5 Super Bowls, countless

records and all the accolades, Brady has ascended to football immortality. Brady plays the game on a ridiculously high level and has the knack to engineer the

most immaculate comebacks, like the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history last year against the falcons, and thrives when the pressure is on. Brady has,

naturally, delivered a great season so far, leading all NFL Quarterbacks in passing yards. Some would say watching him take the field in the Super Bowl is reason

enough to watch the game.



So how do the Patriots beat the Eagles ? Play like they always do. They scored the second-most points per game and rank 1st in the league in yards per game.

The defense has struggled from time to time this season, partly due to losing key piece Dont'a Hightower to a pectoral injury, but has to perform for the Patriots to

be in a comfortable position. But if they play Patriot football, Bill Belichicks team is primed for another Super Bowl Title and the breaking of several records.


Philadelphia Eagles (13 wins-3 losses)

The Eagles have had two Super Bowl appearances in team history. They lost the first one to the Denver Broncos and in the latter one against...the Patriots in

2003. They never fully recovered after the second loss and fell into mediocrity. That seemed to change this season when second-year Quarterback Carson Wentz

(Image below) started playing phenomenally and the defense established itself as one of the best in the league. The Eagles, just like the Patriots, went

13-3 (13 wins, 3 losses). Offensively, Carson Wentz played at an MVP level and the running game has been potent to say the least. The Defense has allowed the

fewest rushing yards per game and ranks 5th in total yards allowed per game. However, the Eagles have had to face great adversity this year. The Eagles lost

starting Linebacker Jordan Hicks, Running Back Darren Sproles and one of the best left tackles in the whole league, Jason Peters due to injury over the course of

the season. The Eagles persevered. But then came the paralysing blow.



The Eagles were playing the Los Angeles Rams to secure a first-round bye in the playoffs as Carson Wentz dove into the endzone for the lead and tore his ACL

while being tackled. Amazingly, Wentz stayed on the field and threw for a two-point coversion the ensuing play with the ACL tear. But it soon was clear to all that

Carson Wentz's potential MVP Season was over. And for many, so was the Eagles season. Starting at Quarterback now was Nick Foles, who had some

remarkable performances in 2010 but has not been very successful since. Incredibly, the Eagles beat the Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in their first playoff game with a

standout defensive performance and, even more surprisingly, beat the high-flying Vikings in dominant fashion 38-7 with Nick Foles having the performance of his

life. And now this team is pitted against the most dominant and consistent team of this century. The Eagles, as good as they are, will be absolute underdogs. They

are the Rocky Balboa of football but can also, with a win, become Philadelphia icons as much as the aforementioned movie character is. But how do they topple

the Goliath that stands between them and the Lombardi Trophy ?


Eagles Fletcher Cox (91), and Mychael Kendricks (95) make a tackle against the Dallas Cowboys


The Eagles defense will be quintessential in this contest. If the phrase “Defense wins Championships” holds any truth, the Eagles stand a very fair chance. They

have to play their game, not let themselves be intimidated and, most importantly, get to and hit Brady early and often. Time has shown us that pressure on Brady

is a chink in the Patriots armor, with an example being the Denver Broncos two seasons ago in the AFC Championship game. And the Eagles have the personnel

to do so, with players such as Fletcher Cox, Chris long (a former Patriot), Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett on the defensive line. But the offense must perform

also and that at a high level. You can only hold down Brady and Company that long. The running attack must continue to be punishing and Nick Foles needs to

step up, be confident and deliver. Then, and only then, could the Eagles pull off the greatest upset since the Giants beat...the 16-0 Patriots in 2007.


Eagles Running Back Legarrette Blount. The Eagles Run Game will have to be effective to take pressure off Nick Foles.


As for a prediction, the Patriots will have to be my pick. They have the arguably best Quarterback and Head Coach in history. These two have all the experience

and Belichick, after 40 years of coaching, has seen it all. The system in New England has produced winning seasons without end and the Patriots have plenty of

weapons on both sides of the ball. The Eagles are a great team, but it is doubtful if Nick Foles can lead Philly to victory. And, even if the Eagles somehow

dominate the game and jump out to a promising lead, if Tom Brady has shown us anything, it's that the game isn't over until the triple zeroes hit the clock.


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