Patriots, Eagles Set For Rematch

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ESPN analyst Adam Schefter shares his thoughts on Super Bowl LII

Adam Schefter (Photo by ESPN)

Game day has finally arrived and ESPN sports analyst Adam Schefter has followed all 32 of the NFL teams throughout the entire football season. On Sunday, it comes down to two. Not only are the Eagles looking for their first Super Bowl win, they are seeking redemption against the Patriots since the last time they met in the Super Bowl—almost 15 years ago. As he prepares to cover another Super Sunday match up, Schefter shares his thoughts on what he thinks each team needs to do to win.

In your opinion, what do the Eagles and the Patriots need to do to win the big game?

For New England to win, it will need a few things to happen. It will need its offensive line to give Tom Brady time. In the Super Bowls that New England and Brady have lost, the Giants were able to get Brady off his mark and off his game. The pressure influenced his throws and, eventually, the outcome of the game. Philadelphia has a talented enough defensive front to get the pressure it needs on Brady; it will be up to the Patriots’ offensive line to slow it down.

The Patriots’ run defense has been suspect throughout the season, but it has gotten better as the season has gone on. Early on, running backs such as Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt did what they wanted to the Patriots defense. But as the season went on, Patriots’ defensive coordinator and soon-to-be Lions’ head coach Matt Patricia helped improve the unit. In this game, the Eagles will want to and have to run the football. They cannot count on Nick Foles to win the game for them the way he did in the NFC Championship game against the Vikings. So if the Patriots can slow down the Eagles’ rushing attack, advantage New England.

How do you think the game will play out?

Of course this is a game that will be about turnovers; it usually is. Under head coach Bill Belichick, the Patriots are 16-0 in the postseason when they have had a positive turnover differential. Factoring in the regular season, the Patriots are 159-15 when they have a positive turnover differential. So if the Patriots force Foles and the Eagles into turnovers that will be a wrap.

From the Eagles’ standpoint, they cannot turn over the football. They have to be the team that gets the turnovers, not loses them. If that happens, Philadelphia has a chance.

Let’s talk performance. What needs to happen on the field?

The Eagles need Foles to play the way he did in the NFC Championship game against the Vikings, which was his best game of this season. It was the type of performance that can boost Foles’ confidence going into this Super Bowl. Think about it: when the Patriots have been beaten in the Super Bowl, Eli Manning played some of the best football of his career. Foles will have to perform at a similar level to give the Eagles a chance.

And we talked about the Patriots slowing down the Eagles’ rushing attack; well, the Eagles have to be able to go out and run the football. They traded a fourth-round draft pick to Miami for running back Jay Ajayi, signed LeGarrette Blount away from the Patriots during the off-season and have the type of backs capable of controlling this game. Now they have to do it.

How many Super Bowls have you covered?

Every Super Bowl since the 1994 season, so 24. This will be my 25th. My first Super Bowl was Chargers-49ers in Miami, January 1995.

What was the most memorable Super Bowl you covered?

Back when I was a newspaper reporter in Denver, there wasn’t a better Super Bowl than Super Bowl XXXII, when the Broncos won their first ever championship, upsetting the Green Bay Packers in San Diego. But, it’s hard to top last year’s, when New England had its record comeback against Atlanta; it was a game that people were talking about weeks after it happened, and still talk about today. The Giants win over the Patriots to end their unbeaten season, when David Tyree had the helmet catch and Plaxico Burress the game-winning catch, also was one of the greatest football games ever played. And the Patriots’ victory over Seattle, when Malcolm Butler picked off Russell Wilson also was up there. The Patriots have a knack for playing memorable Super Bowls. Hopefully this is another.


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