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February 02, 2018

Super Bowl LII predictions: Rounding up the experts' picks for Eagles-Patriots

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USATSI_10578790.jpg Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

All eyes on the prize.

In just a couple of days, the Philadelphia Eagles could be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history. Of course, standing between them is a New England Patriots team that's looking for its sixth title since 2002.

For the Eagles, this is their first trip to the Super Bowl since they lost to the Pats back in 2005. And while a lot's changed in the decade-plus since, the head coach/quarterback combo on the opposing sideline will be just as it was the last time the Eagles and Pats played in February.

On the Birds sideline, however, it'll be a pair of first-timers in second-year head coach Doug Pederson and backup quarterback Nick Foles, who helped lead this team to two postseason upsets after taking over for an injured Carson Wentz in Week 14. Whether or not that lack of experience plays a role in the outcome of Sunday's game remains to be seen – although the conference championship stage didn't look too big for Foles.

Who's going to come away victorious? Let's take a look at how the experts – the human ones, not the animals – see things playing out at Super Bowl LII in Minneapolis...  

•  Jimmy Kempski, PhillyVoice: Eagles 29, Patriots 24

The Patriots' 5.5-point spread in their favor is more about their mystique than their current talent. This Eagles team is better, I think they know it, and they're not intimidated in the slightest. They're better in the trenches, they're far better on defense, and these two offenses, on the whole, really aren't that far apart.

The Eagles are going to win this game, fly home, and ride down Broad Street. Plan accordingly.

•  ESPN staff: They had quite a few people making predictions. Here's a look at all of them, with the people picking the Birds in bold.

EXPERTPICK
Todd Archer NE 26-20
Sarah Barshop NE 23-20
Dane Beavers NE 30-27
Stephania Bell NE 31-20
Chris Berman NE 24-21
Matthew Berry NE 21-17
Matt Bowen NE 27-20
Tedy Bruschi NE 24-21
Heather Burns NE 24-21
Rich Cimini PHI 24-20
Ryan Clark PHI 24-20
Mike Clay NE 26-22
Jac Collinsworth NE 24-20
Greg Cosell PHI 27-24
Courtney Cronin NE 24-19
Jeff Darlington NE 24-22
Rob Demovsky NE 31-23
Jeff Dickerson NE 24-19
Michael DiRocco NE 24-21
Mike Drago PHI 35-24
Ben Fawkes PHI 24-21
Dave Fleming PHI 28-24
Mike Golic PHI 31-10
Mike Golic Jr. NE 27-21
Alden Gonzalez NE 31-24
Dan Graziano PHI 24-20
Mike Greenberg NE 27-13
Paul Gutierrez NE 27-23
Matt Hasselbeck NE 28-3
Tim Hasselbeck NE 27-17
Brady Henderson NE 27-21
Jamison Hensley NE 34-7
Keyshawn Johnson PHI 31-24
KC Joyner NE 31-24
Lisa Kerney PHI 28-24
Mina Kimes NE 28-24
Suzy Kolber NE 23-17
Jenna Laine NE 29-27
Steve Levy NE 26-20
Vaughn McClure NE 24-21
Tim McManus PHI 24-21
Alisha Miller NE 28-21
Roman Modrowski NE 31-14
Chris Mortensen PHI 34-24
Randy Moss NE 32-28
David Newton NE 24-21
Wendi Nix NE 28-24
Katie Nolan NE 27-24
Ian O'Connor NE 27-20
John Pluym NE 24-20
Sam Ponder PHI 31-28
Jordan Raanan NE 24-22
Jason Reid NE 27-24
Mike Reiss NE 30-17
Katie Richcreek NE 31-24
Louis Riddick NE 24-21
John Roberts NE 27-24
Mike Rodak NE 34-31
Michael Rothstein NE 28-24
Diana Russini NE 24-20
Rex Ryan NE 24-21
Mike Sando NE 27-20
Jeff Saturday PHI 20-17
Aaron Schatz NE 27-23
Adam Schefter NE 27-24
Kevin Seifert NE 27-20
Stephen A. Smith PHI 31-27
Sarah Spain PHI 24-20
Chris Sprow PHI 27-24
Adam Teicher PHI 27-17
Katherine Terrell PHI 24-21
Mike Triplett NE 30-23
Jim Trotter NE 27-24
Nick Wagoner NE 27-17
Josh Weinfuss PHI 27-24
Mike Wells NE 27-17
Seth Wickersham NE 38-9
Eric Williams PHI 28-17
Trey Wingo PHI 24-21
Cameron Wolfe PHI 26-23
Charles Woodson PHI 30-23
Darren Woodson NE 31-28
Damien Woody NE 30-24
Field Yates NE 26-21
Steve Young NE 31-30

•  NFL.com staff: They also had a ton of people picking the game. And, once again, most were going for the Pats (although it doesn't seem quite as lopsided as ESPN).

EXPERTPICK
Elliot Harrison NE 30-23
David Carr PHI 34-28
Gregg Rosenthal NE 31-30
Tom Pelissero NE 27-24
Gil Brandt NE 24-21
Mike Garafolo PHI 27-21
Maurice Jones-Drew NE 21-17
Alex Gelhar PHI 24-23
Nate Burleson NE 30-20
Adam Schein NE 26-23
James Palmer PHI 24-17
Charley Casserly NE 24-13
Reggie Wayne NE 31-20
Marcas Grant NE 27-20
Omar Ruiz PHI 27-24
Adam Rank NE 27-23
James Jones NE 31-24

•  CBSSports.com staff: Three of their eight experts are picking the Eagles.

•  USA TODAY staff: All six all picking the Patriots.

•  FiveThirtyEight: Nate Silver's forecasting machine gives the Eagles a 42 percent chance of winning and has them listed as a 2.5-point underdog.

•  OddsShark: Eagles fans better hope it doesn't go the way this computer is predicting.

•  SBNation staff Five of their seven experts are picking the Pats.

•  Bleeding Green Nation staff: They're all-in on the Eagles. Every last one of them.

•  NJ.com staff: Six of their eight NFL writers are picking the Eagles to win, including Eliot Shorr-Parks, who sees a 24-20 win for the Birds, with local boy Corey Clement winning MVP.

Picking this game is tough. The Eagles have all the momentum, and the Patriots seem to be falling apart at the seams. The Eagles are better on both sides of the ball, and the coaching matchup is not as much of a mismatch as it seems. The question is, can the Eagles—who are playing with a backup—overcome playing the best quarterback of all time? My bet is that somehow, someway, they will—barely.

  The Eagles Wire staff: All seven of their writers have the Eagles winning, including Turron Davenport, who is predicting a 27-20 final score:

The Eagles match up well with the Patriots on both sides of the ball, but their biggest advantage comes in the trenches. They have to find ways to suffocate Tom Brady in the pocket, which starts with Fletcher Cox. Offensively, they will have to run the ball behind their powerful offensive line, which will set up big plays via play-action.

•  Ed Barkowitz, Philadelphia Daily NewsEagles 26, Patriots 21. 

Haven’t seen anything in Nick Foles’ makeup to suggest that the stage will be too big for him here. Ditto for Doug Pederson, who should be fine as long as he doesn’t consult his former boss on time-management questions. The Patriots, of course, are generally unflappable. Maybe Pederson can invite Tom Coughlin to join him on the sidelines, similar to when Michael Corleone brought in Vincenzo Pentangeli in the Godfather II.

•  PhillyInfluencer.com staff: All eight writers are picking the Eagles, including PhillyVoice contributor Nick Piccone, who has the Birds winning 31-21:

We haven’t seen this coaching excellence in as long as I can remember. What’s going to be key is being able to adjust to Belichick’s adjustments. Whether the Eagles jump out to a hot start or cold, the team needs to remember the game is 60 minutes long. Some other teams have seemed to forget that.

But that can’t happen on Sunday. Not on the biggest stage in sports. Not to us. I believe in Pederson and his coaching staff. I believe in these players. Every dynasty comes to an end, and now’s as good a chance as any that a team has had to dethrone the Patriots.

•  CBS Boston: All three of their writers are picking the Pats.

•  David Steele, Sporting News: Eagles 26, Patriots 24.

The Eagles are great enough to not be such big underdogs against the Patriots. They’re great enough to beat them, keep that trophy collection in Foxborough at five, and finally start one of their own. They’re great enough to etch into the history books, ‘Nick Foles beat Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.’

•  Vinny Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 30, Eagles 27

The Eagles will make more plays in the slot with Nelshon Agholor working on former Eagle Eric Rowe, and the Patriots will see Danny Amendola cool off against Patrick Robinson. Overall, not much will separate the offense explosiveness. And with weather not being a factor, the game likely will come down to the final possession.


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