Super Bowl may be Stupor Bowl by Halftime!

While everyone is gearing up for the Super Bowl this year, the notion that this game is more predictable than any Super Bowl throughout history does not evade me. The last time that the my feelings were this strong for a relatively easy win, scratch that, make that rout, were for the Bucs vs. Raiders Super Bowl only two seasons ago. The circumstances surrounding the game are very similar.

While the Eagles and Patriots both have 2nd ranked scoring defenses, tied with each other at 2nd, there is more to the depth of these rankings.

The 5th ranked Packers and 6th ranked Vikings along with the 10th ranked Bengals and 11th ranked Steelers are the only teams among the league's top-12 scoring teams that the Eagles have faced as well. The Packers and Vikings both played in Philly and both teams have been erratic all season long to say the least. The Bengals and Steelers represent far more balanced teams with the type of rushing games that the Eagles will be facing on Sunday, with the Patriots being even better perhaps.

The Eagles have only played three teams ranked among the top-12 in scoring defense. They played the 1st ranked Steelers, 6th ranked Ravens, and 5th ranked Redskins, twice. In those games, the Eagles put up 3, 15, 17, and 28 points respectively. That's an average of fewer than 12 points-per-game in three of the four contests and an average of only 9 points-per-game in the two non-divisional contests.

In the Ravens game, which was in Philadelphia, the Eagles were unable to score touchdown until nearly midway through the 4th quarter netting only 9 points through over 50 minutes. The three points they generated in the Steelers game speak for themselves.

In the Redskin games the Eagles played well, however much of their success was predicated upon the Skins' inability to do much offensively with their 31st ranked scoring offense. The Patriots have no such hurdle to overcome. In fact, this game will bring a similar offense to that of the Bengals which put up 31 offensive points, the season high allowed by the Eagles, and that of the Steelers who managed 27 offensive points for the third highest offensive output on the Eagles all season, in conjunction with the Patriots 2nd ranked scoring defense.

Throw in the fact that there is not a team in the league better at tailoring their defensive approach to their opponent than the Patriots, and it's curtains for the Eagles already. There has been a lot of hype regarding Terrell Owens and what he has added to these Eagles. The whopping difference between the number of points that the Eagles, as a team that is, put up this season vice last season is 12. That would be ¾ of a point per game. Boy howdy!

This season, the Eagles McNabb threw 31 touchdowns and ran for another 3. The Eagle RBs rushed for 7 TDs combined. Four of those seven TDs came from the 34-year old Dorsey Levens! Anyone wanna wager that Levens does not get shut out on Sunday!

Moreover, while last season McNabb threw for a much less enthralling 16 TDs and ran for 3, the Eagle RBs ran for 20 as a collective, nearly three times as many as they have this season. Shifting the emphasis for scoring from your rushing game to your passing game may help sell tickets, jerseys, and other merchandise, but it will not help you win a Super Bowl. So this boils down to an obvious case of "be careful what you wish for; you may get it!"

So what! The Eagles have a big-time passing game. And the last time that a passing game carried a team to victory in the Super Bowl was…… Again, I defer readers to the Bucs-Raiders Super Bowl of only two seasons ago. Why all of a sudden a passing game is supposed to carry the Eagles on Sunday remains a mystery of the highest order. I don't think so. If Peyton Manning and the premier group of WRs joined by Edge, a RB the caliber of which is not possessed by the Eagles, could not get the job done via passing, why on earth the Eagles will be able to defies reason and common sense! Ergo, it simply won't happen. The Eagles bring a very similar game that the Raiders brought two seasons ago only to get quashed by the far more tenacious and relentless Buc D. Neither team had or has a formidable rushing game nor one that it relies on for scoring points.

Also bad for the Eagles is that the Patriots will bring the equivalent of the Steelers' rushing game and even a better defense to bear, along with an offense which is as balanced as the Bengal offense yet more potent in both the passing and rushing elements. Look for the Pats to exceed 38 points easily and score on at least two-thirds of their drive attempts. Look for the Eagles to do offensively what they did vs. the Ravens and Steelers, i.e., somewhere between 3 and 15 points barring late "prevent D" TDs in garbage time giving all the Pats' players playing time in the game.

In the Eagles, I see a team that will be fortunate to put up 200 total net yards of offense and much more than 10 or 13 points in this game barring "garbage time" scores. I see an offense that will be stymied just as it was vs. the Steelers. Whether or not Owens plays in this game is relatively immaterial.

In the end it will be the Patriots' 6th ranked rushing defense that shuts down the Eagles' 24th ranked rushing offense and the inability of the Eagles' 16th ranked rushing defense to halt the Pats' 7th ranked rushing game and 4th overall scoring offense.

The bottom line is that the Eagles have faced only one team with anything approaching the balance and strength that the Pats possess from running to passing and from offense to defense, and that was the Steelers which allowed the Eagles only 113 net yards of net offense while running on the Eagles' D like savvy shoppers to a clearance sale at Macy's en route to 27 points in a sound rout. Expect the Patriots to beat these Eagles in the same manner, likely even worse.

I offer one caveat, if the Patriots go into some version of prevent mode for an entire half as they did vs. the Panthers allowing nearly 300 yards of net offense in the second half of last season's Super Bowl, then the Eagles may linger on. If not, expect a good old-fashioned rout.

For wagering types, count on:

The Pats winning BIG!
The Pats rushing for at least 150 yards with Dillon easily eclipsing the 100-yard mark;
The Eagle rushing game to struggle big-time;
Tom Brady to perform his usual "spreading the warm butter over the toast" in the passing department;
Look for the Eagles to go to Terrell Owens too often as time passes resulting in one or more interceptions for the Pats;

31-3 at the Half;

48-13 Final.

Keep the No-Doze handy!


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