The Underdogs vs. the G.O.A.T.

The Underdogs vs. the G.O.A.T.

A Look Ahead to Super Bowl LII

by Amy Lignor

No one is exactly basking in the warmth of Minneapolis, but the streets are filled with spectators, fans and media members, as is the grandiose Mall of America where, this week, questions were flying all over the place. The week before the Super Bowl is all about the media. Beginning with their “opening night” on Tuesday, when both teams were present and accounted for, questions were thrown at these stars that sometimes bordered on the ridiculous. Such as, “What is your favorite Ninja Turtle?” (Apparently, this was asked almost as much as whether or not Brady would retire if he won this, his sixth Super Bowl.)

“Litters” of dog masks hovered everywhere you went, and fans were talking about whether or not Brady will finally lose a recent Super Bowl; and, if not, how fun it would be to see the Commissioner of the NFL, Roger Goodell, once again have to shake the hand of a man he dislikes while plastering a smile on his face. When it comes to the experts, however, all over ESPN they are citing the three particular virtues of each team that gives them a chance to become the Super Bowl LII Champs.


We begin with the AFC Champion New England Patriots. At the top of the list is the G.O.A.T., QB Tom Brady. Dubbed the ‘Greatest of All Time’ by many, you simply can’t talk about the Pats success without talking about the fact that this QB is head-and-shoulders more talented than the Eagles back-up QB. Perhaps it’s that diet of avocado smoothies, but Brady continues to outperform his birthdate and is a definite contender for his third NFL MVP award.


Secondly, you have to take note of Bill Belichick, the coach who will ease into the Hall of Fame one day. The mastermind that drafts future stars every time, he even drafts ones that don’t look like stars but has stated he saw a special “something” in them. He can adjust game plans at halftime perfectly, which means no matter how far behind the Patriots might slide, the game ain’t over till it’s over.


The third reason is all about those Patriots’ weapons who still can’t seem to be stopped. Although things looked up (briefly) for the Eagles when Patriots TE, Rob Gronkowski, sustained a concussion in the AFC Championship Game, that happiness faded when Gronk announced that he will be on the field come Sunday (ESPN). But he’s never alone. You may expect Brady to throw to Gronk, but then James White, Danny Amendola and others are also waiting for the catch. If the Eagles cover all of them, then Chris Hogan nabs the ball, busts through coverage and scores the winning TD. Brady has a list as long as Santa’s when it comes to talented receivers, making it almost impossible for him to lose.


Switching over to the City of Brotherly Love, besides the fans who are behind them 100%, they actually do have three very important factors of their own that could win them this title…for the very first time. Their stellar QB Carson Wentz went down, causing experts on every sports show to set the Eagles aside until next season. Now, Nick Foles is not Wentz, but he has proven to be a benefit to this offense. Unlike many NFL backups, Foles likes heaving the ball downfield. He is aggressive; his arm is a cannon; and his ability to get it to his guy should rattle the Patriots secondary. He will take those shots. He won’t hit all of them, but the experts now say he will hit enough to create an offense that will beat the Patriots.


The Eagles are also extremely good at third down conversions. And, although this sounds pat, the longer you keep Brady off the field, the better your chances of winning. The Eagles have been nearly unstoppable on third down conversions in the playoffs. They will move those sticks.


Last, but not least, is the fact that the Eagles defense is rated the best this season. They have allowed the fewest rushing yards and the least amount of time to opposing quarterbacks in the pocket, which allowed them many takeaways during the regular season.


There you have it: Three reasons to bet on either team as the Underdogs attempt to take down the G.O.A.T. As for predicting a winner, though, why jinx it? Tune in and find out. Even if the game turns boring, you’ll be given some good commercials and, hopefully, an entertaining halftime show delivered by Justin Timberlake.


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