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“Shorestein Says” 2018 Super Bowl Breakdown

“Shorestein Says” 2018 Super Bowl Breakdown

The Super Bowl Spread Calculation:

NFL_Super Bowl_2018

 

My case for the Eagles:

The Eagles have the traditional pieces that have historically given the Patriots problems in some of their key losses.  The ’07 and ’11 Giants, the ’13 Ravens and the ’15 Broncos are some of the defenses that made the Patriots offense look ordinary.  The commonality between these special defenses is the ability to generate pressure up the middle on Tom Brady.   I think time and again, most defenses take the wrong approach against Brady.  Getting pressure on the edges doesn’t have the same effect as collapsing the pocket in front of him.  He is so good at stepping up and sliding in the pocket, that his presence can mitigate edge pressure.  

The elite defenses that I mentioned above got great production from their interior lineman in those games.  Justin Tuck (in 07), Haloti Ngata (in ’13) and Malik Jackson (in ’15) all had monster games in their eventual wins over the Patriots.  The first step in getting the Patriots on their heels is generating interior line pressure in Brady’s face.  The Eagles happen to have the best interior pass rusher in the league in Fletcher Cox.  While this is an important factor in the game, I think it is only the first component required to win.  Their disruptive front 7 and opportunistic secondary have made plays all year bringing their regular season defensive passer rating to a 79.5 (ranked 9th).

The next requirement to victory is taking an aggressive approach on offense.  This means throwing early in the game, throwing on 1st Down, and avoiding settling for field goals in the red zone.  Doug Pederson, while still very inexperienced in big games, is generally a clever play caller.  The Patriots can be exposed when their slow linebackers and safeties are forced to cover quick running backs and tight ends.  If the Eagles can find Ertz early and often, the Pats may run into some issues.

While Foles struggled in his brief regular season window in passing yards / attempt, he has excelled in his 2 post season games.  

NFL_Super Bowl2_2018

I think this statistic is vital because it measures efficiency in conjunction with aggressiveness.  To give that number some perspective, Drew Brees finished #1 in the NFL at 7.9, and Brady was 5th at 7.4.

Torrey Smith has been a thorn in the Patriots side in previous post season games with the Patriots.

NFL_Super Bowl3_2018

As you can see, Smith is averaging over 20 yards / catch against the Patriots in his career.  I think there will be opportunities for him.  (I also love Torrey Smith over 33.5 Receiving Yards as a prop bet…)

Another huge factor for Philly will be their efficiency.  They must play a clean game by avoiding turnovers and playing solid special teams. Jacksonville was able to stay with New England largely by avoiding critical mistakes.  They played well enough to cover, but I think their conservative play calling down the stretch cost them in the end.  An under rated aspect of this game was field position.  The Patriots had some excellent punts and kickoffs inside the 20.  Well coached teams don’t give up free penalty yardage on special teams.

The best stat for evaluating efficiency and intelligence is yards per point margin.  To simplify, how does your team’s yardage translate to points?  If you generally have solid field position, commit few penalties, and minimize turnovers you will have a very effective yards / point margin.  New England finished first in this metric at 6.0 while Philly finished 3rd at 4.7.  This leads me to believe that Philly has largely played with efficiency and intelligence combined with their talented roster.

To keep Brady off the field Philly will have to win the time of possession battle.  3rd down efficiency will be critical on both sides of the ball.  Philly’s defense finished 3rd at 32.9% defensively.  When Wentz was at full health, they were #1 offensively on 3rd Down.  Again, this comes back to playing a penalty free game and avoiding mental lapses which will bury you against the Patriots.

Can the Eagles contain Rob Gronkowski and Danny Amendola?  Gronk obliterates teams that don’t dedicate full resources to defend him.  He needs to be bracketed by 2 players, and should be hit at the line.  When he gets a free release down the seam he is almost impossible to stop.  Jenkins and McCloud must both bring toughness and intelligence to stay with him, and they will need help from the linebackers to jam him at the line.  On paper, they should have the personnel to make his life difficult.  What makes Amendola so difficult to defend is that Brady exploits mismatches.  In so many of his outstanding clutch catches, an overmatched linebacker or 3rd string corner is seen throwing hands in the air with a look of confusion.  The Eagles should put their best corner in man coverage on Amendola in critical third downs.

As I finish making my case for taking the Eagles with the 4+ points, I totally understand apprehension on your part.  The Patriots have had so much success against the spread that they are always a good play by default.  In the financial world they are similar to Amazon.  I consistently make the case that it is over valued using just about every financial metric there is.  However, the price of the stock still goes up day in and day out, just like the Patriots win against the spread game after game. 

Good Luck Everyone!  

 

2 Responses to ““Shorestein Says” 2018 Super Bowl Breakdown”

  1. Robert says:

    Brady falls apart every time he is pressured. I think the Eagles D will give him jitters.

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