Why the Patriots will win the Super Bowl


Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports

The New England Patriots will enter Super Bowl LII as a clear, if not overwhelming, favorite. Led by Tom Brady and Bill Belichick, this team very much has a “been there, done that” feel about it, and it should.

Though they will face a tough test against an Eagles team that has had great success playing the underdog role, the Patriots will win Super Bowl LII, and here’s why.

They have Tom Brady

Is this an obvious point to make? Of course. Does that make it any less correct or relevant? Of course not. Brady is the ultimate trump card, regarded by many as the best quarterback of all time. He has been termed the “Michael Jordan of football,” and frankly, the designation fits nicely.

Brady beat a very game Jaguars team, and a very talented Jacksonville defense, all while nursing a clearly injured throwing hand. When the chips were on the table, he made the biggest plays and did so without Rob Gronkowski, who was lost to a concussion and has still not been given the full go to play Sunday. As great as Gronkowski is, Brady has already proven he can win without him, even on the biggest stage. Folks in Atlanta may remember that object lesson.

Even if a team plays a great game against Brady, it has to deliver the knockout punch, as Jacksonville discovered and the Falcons before them. The only way to rattle Brady is to move him off his spot and hit him — and to do it often.

Versatility

New England doesn’t have a roster of major names outside of Brady and Gronkowski, but it has plenty of players who seem to make big plays at opportune times. Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, James White, Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks are all threats, and Phillip Dorsett and Chris Hogan are always lurking, waiting to make a star turn. The Pats don’t boast tons of name-brand talent, but they are packed to the gills with guys who simply get the job done and make winning plays, either by getting the extra yard, picking up a blitz or beating a defender on third down.

Health

Alan Branch seems likely to return to New England’s lineup, which makes the Pats much more formidable against the run and stronger overall at one of their few “weak” spots on the field. If Branch plays, it will make the going much tougher for Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount.

Much more important than Branch’s improving prognosis is Gronkowski's. The extra week off might be just what the doctor ordered, as Gronk likely would not have played if the game happened this past weekend. As of now, though, it looks like he’ll be good to go, which adds a virtually unstoppable weapon to Brady’s arsenal.

Coaching

Doug Pederson has been very good for Philadelphia, and if the Eagles pull the upset, his work this year, especially after Carson Wentz was lost for the season, will go down as one of the greatest coaching performances in recent memory. That said, Bill Belichick almost never gets outcoached.

Belichick is a master of minutiae and will leave no opportunities out on the field. He will take advantage of any and every opening afforded him to maximize his team’s chances to win. He is a master of clock management and situational football, and the Pats’ performance week in, week out is a reflection of his superlative attention to detail.

If the Patriots lose, it will be because they were outplayed, not outcoached. 

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