PRO PS WELCOME TO THE NFL – Super Bowl 52 – A Changing of the Guard

Posted: February 4, 2018 in All Things Power Spread

The Final Frontier is at hand. No matter what happens in this game, the course of NFL football, and for that matter, all of Football, is about to change forever. Power Spread is here to stay and growing fast. The NFL was the last bastion, but they are finally adopting it as well. “Times they are a Changin.”

Get ready for the rest of Football History!

TEAMS

Philadelphia Eagles

Overview

Everyone has underrated the Eagles Head Coach Doug Pederson for two years. He has surprised me time and again. I have raved about him for two years in the form of Texts, Podcasts, Videos and Work. I labeled him Coach of the Year last year, yet still continued to underrate him this year.

The man is a great Head Coach, Quarterback Coach and Offensive Coordinator. His schemes throughout the year jumped to an almost ridiculous level in the playoffs.

Regardless of what happens in this game, Pederson’s coaching will be studied as an early glimpse of the future. Full Power Spread Football in the NFL in the 2020s.

Injuries, Letdowns and Inexperience

After Carson Wentz got hurt everyone bailed on Philly as the team to beat. Including their own fans. All year the Eagles have had crucial injuries. Nothing changed. They had big wins versus the Rams and Giants to clinch the Division.

At the end of the year when they finally letdown the last couple of games – one of which was meaningless – fans showed a lot of fear about a possible quick playoff exit. Again, nothing changed. Slow start versus Atlanta – but two more wins and a Super Bowl appearance.

A lot of the talk coming into the playoffs was about the Eagles lack of experience. At least this argument had some merit to it. Experience is a big deal at playoff time as we have seen this year and prior years. The Eagles were definitely nervous early in the Falcon game, but Pederson’s aggressive schemes overcame – as they have all year.

Now there’s a lot of talk about the experience discrepancy in the Super Bowl. Again, it is definitely a factor, but now this Eagle’s team has gained some experience. Just as Atlanta had last year. The Eagles play more aggressive schemes than Atlanta, which gives them even a better shot to overcome their inexperience once again.  Even against the most experienced Super Bowl team of the millennium.

Offense

When it comes to the Eagles Offense, I have talked about Match-Ups in my last two previews. Atlanta’s D was not a great matchup for the Eagles, while the Vikings was, for reasons I described here and here. Interestingly, the Patriots have a combo of both of these Defenses. Tough zone pressure with a mix of man blitz.

Match-Up

For the most part, the Pats play a defensive scheme more similar to Minnesota, with a mix of coverages and tricky blitzes. Atlanta is more 4 man rush with speed all over the field. After watching the film of the Minnesota game, I think that NE may play it like Atlanta. Tight man coverage with a deep safety and a 4 man rush. The difference is that NE will use a variety of rushers – not the same 4 guys every time.

The bigger difference is that NE isn’t as fast as Minnesota, let alone the super fast Atlanta Defense. This will give Foles some time in the pocket and also set up the misdirection play-action that Pederson loves so much.

RPOs

Everyone is now talking about how great Foles is at the RunPassOption designs. Something I was talking about months ago.

Foles is a better Spread Passer than Carson Wentz. He makes quicker decisions reading defenses and has a quicker release.

In saying that – I think NE, like everyone else, is now seeing that and will have a plan. Instead of playing their normal Aggressive Mix – that we see with Minnesota – they will be more aggressive with man coverage and mix less – like Atlanta. This will prevent the RPOs, but open up other avenues for Pederson and the Eagles.

Breaking Tendency

I detail Pederson’s excellence at Breaking Tendency against Atlanta here. This is how will have have to break down a NE “Bend Don’t Break” Defense. Just take what the Defense gives. Set up plays through aggressive use of SpaceTimeTeam. Nothing forced.

Versus Atlanta this is exactly what Philadelphia did. Nerves prevented early success, but they started to roll later in the game. Pederson’s play calling at times was near genius.

  • If the Pats stay tight in coverage with a deep safety, the Eagles will pound the middle with their heavy power game.
  • Once NE starts to cheat in the middle, the Eagles will run and pass wide with misdirection play-action.
  • NE will bring up the Safety and cover middle and wide, letting the Eagles burn them deep.
  • Then back to the middle power game – or now maybe the RPOs with Crossing Patterns over the middle.

It may be a slow start  for the Eagles if the Pats are laying back, but eventually Pederson could start to break them down, setting up big plays in the 2nd Half.

Stay Calm

Foles and the Offense needs to stay calm. Like they did in the Atlanta game. It may not be easy early, but over time, if they don’t start to press and make mistakes, they will break down New England’s D.

If they do press and try to do too much early, this could lead to a big lead for NE by Halftime.

So far Foles’ playoff experience has helped him keep his cool. But this is now the Super Bowl. I expect the Eagles will be better prepared, emotionally, after now having some playoff experience, but you just never know.

Tempo No-Huddle Offense

IF the Eagles do fall far behind by Halftime, they can still come back and win, but I would think that Pederson will need to come out with guns blazing in the 2nd Half. It could backfire and turn into an absolute blowout win for NE, but better to go down with a fight. At least you give yourself a chance.

Most likely, the No-Huddle will work great vs NE, who will not be able to mix their Defense without Time on their side. When NE has a lead they like to play even more aggressive. Unusual for an NFL team and a big part of their success.

With a Tempo Offense, Foles and company can pressure NE and burn their aggression by hurrying to the line and getting one play off after another. Stopping Pederson’s great schemes at top speed is a very difficult proposition for any defense.

And while NE is a good defense, it’s not the caliber of Minnesota or even Atlanta. They are experienced, but not the same kind of team speed. A Tempo Offense could bring the Eagles back from the dead!

Defense

DC Jim Schwartz does a nice job of mixing an aggressive 4-4 Cover 1/Man Under with some blitz/coverage mixes. Getting CB Ronald Darby back late in the year has really helped the Eagles in the Playoffs. Schwartz was more conservative in the 1st Half of both playoff games, but brought more pressure in the 2nd Half. This could be a continuing pattern versus a very tricky Patriot Offense.

Match-Up

Again, this is about the Patriots and how the Eagles match-up. Philly can’t get conservative, but need not blitz all the time. Their 4 man rush is one of the best in the NFL. They have better safeties and DTs than Jacksonville and are almost as fast. They are more physical – TE Rob Gronkowski w0nt be able to push the Eagles DBs around like he does with other teams. The Pats will also have a tougher time powering up the gut versus the Eagles.

The Eagles have to be careful not to play their Safety too deep with man coverage underneath. This will lead to a lot of Gronkowski and other top WRs for NE wide open over the deep middle.

Otherwise, Philly has the talent to match-up with the Pats. Like Atlanta last year, they can get pressure with 4, cover tight man, and have some tricky mixes in their zone coverage. Schwartz actually is more aggressive in his blitz mix than Atlanta’s Dan Quinn and I expect that to hurt NE as well.

Too Conservative?

The only issue I see with the Eagles Defense is too much passivity from Schwartz early. Especially if the Pats burn the Eagles with some big plays to start the game. The Eagles can’t just let the Pats control the ball up and down the field with short passes and the occasional run.

The idea by Schwartz may be to keep the Eagles close with a “Bend Don’t Break” style of D, while they sink their teeth into the game. But that means they will have to stop NE in the redzone, which is very difficult to do.

However the game plays out, I do expect Schwartz will get aggressive at some point. Especially in the 2nd Half. And the Eagles have enough talent to hang relatively close to the Pats even if they do play some passive schemes in the 1st Half.

New England Patriots

Overview

Could the Patriots actually have more stress entering this Super Bowl than the Eagles? Patriot fans are acting as if they are desperate for one more. Why?

After bailing on the Eagles when Wentz was hurt, all the fans now seem to think that the Eagles have a good chance to win. Why?

What is going on in New England?

A lot. Both of Bill Belichick’s great Coordinators are leaving after the season to become Head Coaches.  Josh McDaniels for the second time. There have been rumors as well that Bellichick himself will retire soon. We all know Tom Brady’s age, regardless of how well he is still performing.

More importantly, the Pats have looked old and tired on many occasions the past two years, only to pull out last second wins time and again.

I really don’t think any of this is as much physical as mental or emotional. The team is older, but still young enough and talented enough. But twenty years is a long time to be this great. The effects are real and far too abundant to analyze here.

It is still New England

Regardless, the Pats are still the team to beat. When they lost key players to injury early in the year, they again made the best free agent moves in the league to replace these players. None more so than Kerry Cooks as a “fill-in” for the injured Julian Edelman. My god – Cooks actually is younger and more talented!

Then how about at the end of the year. Belichick wanted more “beef” at his hybrid DE/LB position. He let go of a player or two. Brought in another who was about 10-20 lbs bigger, but still fast. Finally he picked up James Harrison the second he was released by the Steelers. Perfect fit! Harrison has played a big role in the success of the Pats pass Defense in these playoffs.

The end is near for New England. Everyone is feeling it. But I’m not so sure the “end” is this Super Bowl Sunday.

Offense

My only concern here is Brady’s ability to stay in line with OC McDaniels vision of a spread type passing offense. I have talked about this in my previous previews here and here.

Brady vs McDaniels

Brady showed a lot of Spacial Recognition in the Tennessee game, which for me was the best I’ve seen Brady, since McDaniels stared adding more “Spread” Concepts to the Pats Offense.

But even in that game, there were times when Brady went back to his “route progressions” and “personnel match-ups”, while missing open players in space. This was compounded by the tricky talented Jacksonville Defense.

Some great play calling and Brady’s experience pulled the Jacksonville game out, but the cracks are there for an implosion.

We saw it with the Steelers the previous week vs Jacksonville. Big Ben really wasn’t buying into OC Todd Haley’s scheme and missed a lot of open guys in Space. Yes, he had a lot of yards and points, but this was more due to Jacksonville going into Prevent defense early on. Ben and Haley were not on the same page and it hurt the Steelers when it counted most.

Crunch Time?

I don’t think we will see the same thing here. Brady and McDaniels are on the same page enough to win this game. But under pressure, will we finally see the cracks begin to open and maybe, for the first time in what seems forever, the Pats won’t be able to pull out a last second win?

The Eagles are good enough on D with both their talent and scheme to put a stop to NE’s winning ways. Any issues between Brady and McDaniels could really effect the outcome of this game.

Defense

Good News – The Pats have a very good experienced defense and two top defensive minds in DC Matt Patricia and Bill Belichick.

Bad News – They aren’t as talented as the Vikings D, who was ripped apart by the great schemes of Doug Pederson’s Eagles.They may not even be as talented as Atlanta’s D either.

The Pats two best players in last year’s Super Bowl was not Tom Brady and Julian Edelman. IF you are talking about the ENTIRE game, it was Trey Flowers and Donta Hightower on Defense. Flowers is still playing great, but Hightower was injured all year and finally done shortly after the midpoint of the season. He may be sorely missed in this game – especially when it comes to run defense.

Aggression with Belichick + Variety As with Patricia

Patricia likes to mix tricky zones and surprise blitzes. Belichick likes match-up zones, tight man to man on the outside and a lot of mixed blitz packages.

Early in the year, most likely due to all the personnel changeover (injuries and otherwise), Patricia was a bit too conservative in his approach. Belichick added more tight man coverage to the mix and the Defense has been rocking ever since.

RBs as Recievers

The Pats did well versus the WRs of both Tennessee and Jacksonville, but the Philadelphia WRs are better. Also, their RBs as receivers are a lot better. This is a Patriot weakness.

If the Pats don’t mix enough and get caught in bad match-ups, top receiving RBs out of the backfield can gash them. Jacksonville wisely took advantage of this by adding a backup RB with good hands into their gameplan for the Championship game. The Eagles don’t have to add anyone. They already have a bunch of top receiving threats out of the backfield.

3-3-5 / 3-1-7

The Pats always have played exotic defenses on passing downs with Belichick. In a way, this is where he and Patricia excel most with their creativity.

Getting back LB Kyle Van Noy from injury has been huge. Adding in Marquise Flowers as a 3rd down hybrid DE/LB/S and James Harrison as a DE/LB has been just as big. The Pats suddenly have great variety in their 3-3 scheme thanks to the flexibility of these three players.

In extreme 3rd down situations, Belichick will bring Flowers up to the line with 2 DLineman and bring in more speedy DBs. The 3-1 scheme is very innovative, but will only be seen consistently if the Pats are protecting a big lead late in the game.

The Eagles will be in trouble if they have too many 3rd and longs or fall far behind as the Pats will send fake blitzes and fake coverage blitzes continuously to confuse and overload the Offense. A Tempo Offense, as I described above, would be the only solution I couls see for the Eagles at that point.

PS Mess

When I started my playoff previews over a month ago, I right away wrote about what I call the PS Mess. The next few weeks I added in Playoff Inexperience + Emotional Wackiness that exists in the NFL. What was already a crazy season became an even crazier playoffs. The craziness may not be over yet.

List of ridiculousness

It’s been a wild and wacky NFL Season and the playoffs have followed suit. Here’s a bullet list of all the zaniness we have seen so far in this year’s playoffs.

  • 8 out of 10 games have been close. The Blowouts:
    • Both blowouts came from the team that was down 0-7 to start.
    • Even the blowouts were crazy!
  • The Close Games:
    • The Ram’s inexperience destroyed them, though they fought to have a chance at the end.
    • Tennessee’s inexperience destroyed them the same….for 3 out of 4 halves of football –  one good half = 1 big win.
    • The Saint’s played 3 out of 4 great halves – opposite of Tennessee –  only to end up the same – 1 big win.
    • The Falcon’s experience and talent couldn’t overcome a HC/OC/QB fracture on Offense – BARELY!
    • Jacksonville looked bad in beating a weak Buffalo team then killed the Steelers!?
    • Except that they didn’t kill them because they went to prevent Defense at 14-0!???
    • The Vikings got conservative and almost blew a big 2nd Half lead. Then they won on 2 desperation passes on the last 2 drives!!!
      • Then when they almost tie Philly at Halftime 14-14, they turn the ball over and within game minutes are down 31-7 at the start of the 2nd Half!!
  • QB Brady is suddenly buying in to OC McDaniels spread concepts – or is he!?
    • After a great game vs Tennessee, Brady seemed to go back to slow “progression reads” and “match-up” passing vs Jacksonville.
    • Some great play calling by McDaniels bailed him out in the end.
  • The “loyal” Eagle Fans are showing loyalty to only ONE player. An injured QB. Yet Pederson’s TEAM overcame all!
    • Now the Eagle fans may possibly think their backup QB is also a great QB – still refusing to give Pederson any credit!!??
  • The most storied franchise in the last 40 years DIDN’T SHOW UP TO PLAY A PLAYOFF GAME!!????? (Steelers)
  • MAYBE THE MOST SHOCKING OF ALL… 
    • Andy Reid got conservative again – SHOCKING PREDICTABILITY amongst a sea of unpredictability!

Super Bowl 52

My original SB Pick was Saints upsetting the Steelers. I thought that was a pretty wacky call for a wacky football season. Maybe it was too wacky.

My 2nd pick was the best team in the regular season – Philadelphia – versus the best team in the last 20 years – New England. Last year I thought Dallas could win it all versus New England, but they were ousted in a close playoff loss. Philly almost was as well. They got through it. Now, maybe they can complete a great regular season the way Dallas did not – with a SB appearance and possible win!

I picked Patriot and Eagle blowout wins in their respective Championship games. The Eagles did it. The Pats had to fight. Right after the Saints loss to the Vikings I started telling everyone the Eagles would win the Super Bowl.

Since that time, I have seen a bunch of “fans” jump on the Eagles bandwagon. Patriot fans are not happy. Worse – the team may not be happy.

This could be the last Patriots “Last Hurrah“, as Father Time starts to take its toll, but the last thing the Eagles want to see is an “Angry Patriots Team”.

Pro to Multiple to Pro PS to Full PS

Whatever happens in the game is almost irrelevant to the future of football. Power Spread is taking over now. The PS Mess will eventually give way to Full PS in the NFL as well as College.

It took the Pros some time to catch up, but honestly, it happened quicker than I expected. Be ready for some big innovational changes coming soon and setting up and amazing decade of Power Spread Football in the Roaring 20s!

SUPER BOWL LII

Here we are at last. I have posted a boatload of info during these NFL playoffs. A lot of it about a great PS Coach of the Future in Doug Pederson. I also believe that Josh McDaniels will have a place in PS History as a Head Coach Innovator when it’s all said and done.

But theres’s one coach in this game right now who really started the transition of Power Spread to the NFL. His name….?

Bill Belichick

Belichick was the first coach to bring the “Spread” Offensive concepts to the NFL. Back in 2004 he and McDaniels visited with Urban Meyer of Florida to learn this new Power Spread Offense. They morphed it into a Pro Pass Spread for Brady.

Indianapolis followed suit, then other teams. Before you knew it, NFL teams were spreading and passing all over the field. Even adding No-Huddle and Tempo concepts to the mix.

The Power part of Power Spread would come later in the form of Jim Harbaugh and the 49ers, then Andy Reid and finally Doug Pederson. In 2017, for the first time, every NFL Team used some kind of Power Spread Concept in their Offense.

A Passing of the Guard

Ironically it may soon be Bill Belichick passing the torch to the future of football in the form of Doug Pederson and his soon to be ex-assistant Josh McDaniels. Win or lose, this may be it for New England. The fans are feeling it. We will see if the players and coaches are feeling it as well.

Here’s the Question:

Does New England win one last big one – one last hurrah? Or do they finally fail. Finally feel the pressure of the changing landscape of football? Have the other Coaches and Teams finally caught up? THIS is the million dollar question.

If you go with the Fans Reaction these past 2 weeks – the answer is a resounding YES – NE’s Time Is Done. But Commentators, Coaches and former Players are not saying the same thing.

No one is doubting the ability of Philadelphia at this point – be it talent or coaching. But NE’s history and experience is vast compared to the Eagles. It has to happen sometime – but this may not be exactly the time.

Weeks Leading Into THE GAME

All year long I picked either the Steelers or Patriots in the Super Bowl. The Patriots Free Agency moves all year were again near perfect. The Steelers had the talent and staff. But for both teams, I felt this would be an upset this year…

Finally a Super Bowl shock. Bigger than Denver beating Carolina or the Falcons blowing a big second half lead. The greatest franchise of the last 20 years or the greatest franchise of the last 40 years would go down in one of the biggest upsets in SB History.

In the Playoffs this year I was thinking it was New Orleans, but they were too beat up. Then, even with the Wentz injury, I actually thought the Eagles had the shot. After their Championship Blowout, it seems a lot of people are now thinking the same thing. This has me worried.

The Pats Flat?

The Pats have looked flat in many of their big games over the last two years, including the Jacksonville game. I thought we might see that for the Super Bowl – again – but now  I don’t know.

I have got to think that the Patriots are going to be fired up to prove everyone wrong once again. Because of this unified hatred for the Pats, to a degree I’ve never seen before, the Eagles are no longer the real “underdog”. At least from the Patriot’s perspective.

This is not good. For Eagles fans anyway.

Eagles Comeback Win?

My initial thought – before the Viking game – was that the Eagles blowout the Vikings, then in the Super Bow fall way behind at halftime, before making a grand comeback. Opposite of last year’s game, it’s the Patriots who blow a big lead and this time Brady and Co. can’t pull out a victory.

I felt this all along until the last two days. Now I’m not sure.

I think if the Pats get too big a lead, there may be no comeback. I’m still leaning towards a Pat lead at Halftime and a close Eagle win late, but now, because of all the fanfare against the Patriots – I think anything is possible.

Scheme Breakdown

Defenses somewhat conservative to start

I think the Pats will play man coverage to protect against RPOs, but keep a safety deep and drop linebackers to protect against all of Pederson’s misdirection play-action.

Schwartz is also worried about the tricky schemes and play-calling of McDaniels. He may do the same. Keep the blitzes to a minimum and go man coverage on the outside, drop linebackers and play one safety deep.

I think both Brady and Foles can pick this type of defense apart. But Foles will need help from the running game. Like the Atlanta game, expect Philly to power run, then go wide, then start all their passing stuff.

Brady will be able to “dink and dunk” down the field to open up the run, then hit bigger passes later.

The difference may be redzone. I know that both offenses are good in the redzone, but I think the edge goes to NE early, because they may be using more Tempo No Huddle, while the Eagles will need more tricky play calling with their power run game.

Offenses may be conservative as well?

Belichick has been the most aggressive HC of the last 20 years in the NFL. But his last 4 Super Bowls have been strangely conservative.

I think with the extra time to prepare, Bill actually overthinks the strategy a bit. Last year, his big goal was keeping the Atlanta Offense off the field. This almost backfired in a very big way. He didn’t let the McDaniels and the offense loose until they were finally so far behind!

I don’t think he will do that this game. IF he does, the Eagles could also get a big lead and this time there will be no crazy comeback.

Pederson has been the most consistently aggressive HC in football all year long. Could this be the one game he backs off a bit? Eases his Offense into the game and takes what the Pats give him?

I think it could. Especially if the Pats play a “bend don’t break” type of scheme on D. This could put the Eagles in a hole early. At some point, though, there’s no doubt Pederson will get aggressive. It’s just a matter of when.

Also, for all my raving about Pederson’s brilliance, I continue to underrate him as well. I woldn’t be surprised if he surprises me again! 🙂

Personnel

Pats

Again, I love their exotic 3-3 or 3-1 Defense on passing downs, but they will miss Hightower for the run game. Patricia can get too conservative at times and if he does, look for their ex-power back, LeGarrette Blount to have a big game. The Eagles can control the clock and game with Blount and Pederson’s schemes.

Eagles

They supposedly had a flu bug going around amongst the team over the last week or so. Pederson included. The talk is that everyone is better now. That needs to be true. Football can certainly be played by the sick, but not too sick. Especially if you are playing New England.

Assuming the Eagles are fine, which I will, I then want to look at their standouts on Offense the last two games – other than the Quarterback!

Against Atlanta, WR Nelson Agholor was huge – both running and catching the ball. Against Minnesota it was WR Torrey Smith who finally used his speed to open up the offense in a big way. Alshon Jeffery is actually their best wideout and he finally rose back to the forefront in these playoffs.

Super Bowl MVP

For the Super Bowl I’m looking at LeGarrette Blount. I mentioned him above. His running mate, Jay Ajayi has been excellent in both running and receiving. Corey Clement has been fantastic catching passes out of the backfield or taking quick tosses in the running game. The Eagles have 2 other top recieiving threats out of the backfield.

But Blount is the BLUNT FORCE! No pun intended. This is the guy who can power the middle to effectively open the Space wide, then deep. He may not be the MVP – probably will be another QB for the zillionth time! – but he will be crucial if the Pats go into heavy protection vs the Eagles passing game.

Pick

As I said – I was looking at a great Eagle comeback win for a couple of weeks. Now I’m not so sure. This is a toss up where anything could happen, but I’m still going to take the Eagles in a close win at the end. Here’s what I see playing out.

1st Half

Originally I thought we would see a lot more offense than expected. The Pats with a 20-7 half time lead and the Eagles winning 38-27 or even something as crazy as 45-38. Now I’m thinking we may see more of a slugfest early.

Both Defenses protecting against the big play. Offenses matriculating slowly down the field. The Pats getting TDs. The Eagles FGs. Maybe something more like 17-6 or 14-6 Pats at Halftime.

2nd Half

I expect a lot more aggression from both teams after Halftime. The Pats will play more of their exotic 3-3 Defense with Van Noy, Harrison and MFlowers. They will apply more pressure, but now the Eagles Offense will open it up after all the power of Blount in the First Half.

Breaking Tendency with Pederson. A lot of Misdirection Play-Action to the sidelines, then deep. Back to the middle with RPOs and Crossers. Then more Blount/Ajayi power runs.

Both Teams will have a lot of success with RBs catching balls out of the backfield, but the Eagles will do it a lot more in the 2nd Half. Could even be the difference in a comeback.

End of the Game

The Pats had a big crowd to help them late against Jacksonville. It won’t be this one sided in the Super Bowl. The Eagles Fans travel well.

The Pats try to win the game on another last second drive, but Brady gets too hung up on his personnel. Just like Matt Ryan focused too much on Julio Jones at the end – so will Brady. Most likely it will be his star TE Rob Gronkowski.  The Eagles may make a TD saving play just like they did versus Atlanta.

In fact, I think it’s the Eagles physicality with their DBs that creates the incompletion. Julio was being banged around by CB Jalen Mills and was off-balance when the ball went through his hands. Same thing could happen to Gronk or one of the little WRs of NE.

Special Teams

I haven’t made mention of the great Special Teams on both teams. The game could easily come down to this factor.

Again, NE has the experience, but the Eagles have some top tier talent and a great Special Teams coach in Dave Fipp

Battle of the Kickers

The Eagles Kicker Jake Elliot was a former Tennis Star who has said that he owes his ability to make clutch kicks to his tennis background. The Pats kicker, Stephen Gostkowski, has been clutch for a long time, but of late has missed some big FGs. I will do the unthinkable and go with a rookie kicker over a seasoned vet if it comes down to a last second kick!

Will the pressure of “one last hurrah” get to the Pats at crunch time? Effecting even their traditionally great Special Teams? Possibly. If so, the Eagles have the goods to take advantage.

Prognostication

Just like the NFL Season to date –  I wouldn’t be surprised by anything – even an Eagle blowout win.

Close Game – Eagles must keep their cool

For the above scenario to happen, the Eagles need to keep their cool. Not only Foles, but the whole team. Pederson can’t get too tricky. The Pats won’t fall for it. He has to just keep a solid Power Spread mindset. “Go where they ain’t.” Aggressive Variety. Like he’s done all year. No matter what the Pats D does, the Eagles will finally get rolling if they keep their cool.

Pederson’s aggressive variety is more cutting edge than Belichick’s. The Eagles will prove this out in a close game with a lot of fans backing them – UNLESS they lose their cool. In which case, we are looking at another Patriots last second victory to put the final icing on the cake with their 6th Super Bowl win.

Is a Blowout Possible?

If the Eagles start pressing early and Pederson gets overaggressive, mistakes could mount quickly. Look at the Championship Game.

Minnesota was driving down the field at the end of the Half – about to tie the game at 14. Suddenly, they turn the ball over. The Eagles make a big score. Get the ball back and score quick again. Then score to start the 2nd half. 14-14 turned into 31-14 within a handful of game minutes!

The difference between a NE blowout win and an Philly blowout win isn’t as much as you may think.

If NE starts too conservative and feels all the pressure from History, their Fans and the Eagles – more than anything, a Changing of the Guard as they know their 2 Coordinators are gone after this game – then they could be the ones to implode quickly. And this time there may not be a comeback in the cards.

Probability Percentages

With the PS/NFL Mess, I can’t believe I’m doing this – but here goes – a Final Probability list of what I see happening in this year’s Super Bowl.

  • 6% –  New England Comeback Win
  • 7% –  Close Win Eagles
  • 9% –  Eagle Blowout Win
  • 10% – New England Blowout Win
  • 12% – Eagle Comeback Loss
  • 14% – New England Comeback Loss
  • 20% – Close Win NE
  • 22% – Eagle Comeback Win

*I originally had a NE Blowout and NE Close Win with a lower probablity. Like I said at the start, I’m not so sure now. I’ve seen this before – fans declaring that something is completely over before it actually is – in this case, the Patriot Dynasty.

100% Probablity

Power Spread is here to stay and only going to get bigger – not only in the NFL – but in all of Football!

~PS

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