Eagles

Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl LII predictions

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Eagles-Patriots Super Bowl LII predictions

We all know what's at stake. If the Eagles beat the Patriots Sunday night, they'll bring the Lombardi Trophy home to Philadelphia for the first time. 

After decimating the Vikings, 38-7, in the NFC Championship Game, the underdog Eagles are flying high. But they'll have to beat Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the defending champion Patriots to earn their first Super Bowl victory.

Our experts all had the Birds beating the Vikings. Let's see who they have in Super Bowl LII. 

Reuben Frank (16-2)
You could tell back in training camp there was something special going on. The level of practice was so high, the competition was extraordinary, the talent was eye-opening. Did I think this was a Super Bowl team as far back as August? Not quite, but you could tell it was going to take an exceptional effort for anybody to beat this team. I did pick the Eagles to go 10-6, win the NFC East and win a playoff game. I liked what I saw that much. They've done even better than that, and on Sunday will try to win the franchise's first championship in 57 years. I haven't picked the Eagles to lose since Week 2 against the Chiefs, and I'm not changing now. They are not losing this game. Not because this is destiny or it's a great story or they're motivated by being underdogs. No, the Eagles will win the Super Bowl simply because they are the better team. I think they are stronger on both lines and can wear down the Patriots up front on both sides of the ball. By the fourth quarter, the Eagles will be rolling toward their first Super Bowl championship. And then Philly will celebrate like Philly has never celebrated before. 

Eagles 29, Patriots 20

Dave Zangaro (15-3) 
I have learned my lesson. 

Far too many times this season I've counted the Eagles out. I thought they were a 9-7 team that could maybe win 10 games and sneak into the playoffs. I thought they were done when they lost Jordan Hicks and Jason Peters in the same game. And I thought they were definitely done when Carson Wentz went down on Dec. 10 in Los Angeles. Stick a fork in 'em. 

I was wrong. And I'm not going to be wrong again. 

The Eagles are going to win the Super Bowl on Sunday night. 

It won't be easy, of course. They'll need to play another near-perfect game because the greatest quarterback of all time and the greatest coach of all time are on the opposing team. That's great for them. But if you ever needed a reminder that football is a team game, look no further than these Eagles. 

The Eagles are going to win Super Bowl LII because they're the better team. They're going to be able to take down Tom Brady and Bill Belichick because of their depth and their aggression and their coaching and their backups who haven't played like backups all season. 

Before making my prediction, I wanted to see how the Eagles handled Super Bowl week. I wanted to see if the moment looked too big for them. It hasn't; it isn't. They're focused and ready to pull off another upset. 

See you at the parade. 

Eagles 26, Patriots 17

Derrick Gunn (15-3)
And so we've reached the end of the road, and what a journey it has been for the Eagles. Not many expected them to advance this far, yet they've silenced many doubters along the way. Now the only thing standing between them and hoisting the Lombardi Trophy is New England. People I've talked to in the media all week from the Boston area have said this is not the strongest Patriots team to get this far, but they are resilient. The GOAT Tom Brady will use every weapon at his disposal. Can the Eagles' pressure up front keep Brady off balance? That is a huge factor. The Patriots' defense is generous between the 20's, but stingy beyond that. They are one of the best at defending the end zone.

Nick Foles has completed 75 percent of his passes in the playoffs and will have to be on point. He will have success through the air against New England's defense. How much remains to be seen. Can the Birds' running game keep the chains moving and keep Brady off the field? Doug Pederson will have to call the game of his life to outthink Bill Belichick. The Pats already have five trophies, the eagles deserve this one. Their time has come. It should be a good game, maybe even a great one. But when it's all said and done, the streets of Philadelphia will shout for joy. Trumpets will sound off throughout the night. Tears of euphoria will floor communities. Finally, it's your time to celebrate, Philadelphia. It's been way overdue. GO BIRDS!!!

Eagles 24, Patriots 20

Ray Didinger (16-2)
The Patriots are the defending Super Bowl champs and arguably the greatest dynasty in NFL history. To sustain this level of dominance over two decades is an amazing accomplishment. This will be their eighth Super Bowl appearance in the Belichick-Brady era, which is crazy.

But here's the thing: they are not unbeatable.

We saw them lose two Super Bowls to the New York Giants, and those Giants teams were very similar to the Eagles — a fierce pass rush that frustrated Brady, an offense that was able to control the football and, most of all, a team playing with no fear. The only way to beat the Patriots is to attack them from the first snap to the last. Atlanta let them back in the game in last year's Super Bowl and blew a 25-point lead. Jacksonville led them in the fourth quarter in the AFC title game, let up and lost.

The Patriots know how to play the big games — they've been in enough of them — but this is not a particularly talented team. The Eagles are better across both lines and their wide assortment of weapons will test even a master defensive strategist like Belichick. The Patriots have Super Bowl experience and that's not to be discounted, but the Eagles have overcome so much to get here I don't see them stopping now.

Eagles 27, Patriots 24

Andrew Kulp (15-3) 
After everything that's happened, how unexpected and unlikely this Eagles' season has been, there's no way I'm picking against them now. I think they're the better team, too.

Eagles 34, Patriots 17

Corey Seidman (13-4) 
The Patriots put up 24 points and barely beat the Jaguars, who had one of the NFL’s best defenses this season. I think the Eagles’ defense is better, and they do have the personnel to combat an elite tight end. 

Two things scare me: An early 14-0 Patriots lead, or the Eagles being up by less than a field goal and giving Brady the ball back with 90 seconds to go. 

If the Eagles play a relatively clean game — maybe one turnover, two is really pushing it, three and you’re losing — they have more total talent and playmakers than New England, especially defensively. 

Months ago, around Week 9, I joked to Barrett Brooks in the NBC Sports Philly newsroom that the tale of the Eagles’ season would involve Nick Foles having to step in and lead them to their first Super Bowl win. It was a 100% joke, a play-out-every-scenario-in-your-head-kinda thing. Wish I tweeted it. 

Eagles 30, Patriots 24

Roob’s 10 observations: Anthem policy, Kendricks’ career, Wentz

Roob’s 10 observations: Anthem policy, Kendricks’ career, Wentz

Some thoughts on the NFL’s new anthem policy, Mychal Kendricks’ release, Carson Wentz’s return to practice and – of course – the Joe Callahan Stat of the Day!

It’s all in this week’s OTA edition of Roob’s 10 Random Eagles Observations!

1. The NFL’s anthem policy banning players from peaceful demonstrations during the anthem bothers me for a few reasons. First of all, it’s a dangerous precedent for the league to unilaterally restrict any such form of personal expression. Legislating opinions never works. Players are going to find other ways to express their opinions, and the policy is only going to breed resentment between the players and the league, which is the last thing the league needs right now. But more than that, I really have problems with the word “disrespect.” When someone arbitrarily decides what is and what isn’t “disrespectful,” you really get yourself in a lot of trouble. Nobody who’s listened to Malcolm Jenkins so eloquently discuss his reasons for raising his fist during the anthem would ever accuse him of being disrespectful. And also, since this is a policy that affects mainly African-American players, it has strong racial implications. These are issues that aren’t going to just away, whether or not the NFL tries to make them disappear.

2. And I found Eagles owner Jeff Lurie’s statement uncharacteristically tepid and vague. Lurie has been courageously supportive all along of Jenkins, Chris Long and all the players league-wide who’ve used their platform to fight for equal rights and social justice. All that statement did was avoid taking a stand on the new NFL policy. Disappointing.

3. Onto football matters! There’s no question the Eagles are a better football team with Mychal Kendricks on the field. Kendricks was solid last year and very good in the postseason. But the bottom line is Kendricks has felt unwanted and disrespected for a long time. The Eagles have been trying unsuccessfully to unload his contract for a couple years, and Kendricks knew he had no future here. If a team doesn’t want a player and the player doesn’t want to be with the team, it’s not a healthy relationship. And that’s why Kendricks is gone. But Kendricks handled what could have been an ugly situation with class and professionalism, and he’s got a Super Bowl ring to show for it. He never became the Pro Bowl player I expected when I first saw him play in 2012, but he was a decent player here for six years, and he leaves as a champion.

4. Jason Kelce announced the start of the 5K at the Eagles Autism Challenge at the Linc in terrible conditions and parodied his Super Bowl parade speech: “They said it was too cold! They said it was too rainy!” Hilarious.

5. Watching Carson Wentz actually participate in individual drills at practice Tuesday morning was pretty wild. For him to be out there looking comfortable and fluid taking drops and firing passes just 5 1/2 months after hobbling off the field at L.A. Coliseum was awfully encouraging.

6. I’m really starting to think Wentz plays Sept. 6.

7. One note about the Eagles’ linebacker depth. The days where teams ran three linebackers out there on every play are long gone. The Eagles last year played three linebackers on about 12 percent of their defensive snaps. In the Super Bowl, the Eagles played a total of three reps with three LBs. So if Jordan Hicks can stay healthy and Nigel Bradham plays like he did last year, the Eagles will be fine. Big if with Hicks. When the Eagles do play three ‘backers, I expect Corey Nelson to handle that role. Really, it comes down to Hicks staying healthy.

8. Career completion percentages of current Eagles quarterbacks:

82.6 percent … Nate Sudfeld
71.4 percent … Joe Callahan
61.5 percent … Carson Wentz
61.1 percent … Nick Foles

9. Was fun watching Mike Wallace run around at practice on Tuesday. Excited to see what he brings to this offense. He’s 31, an age where many receivers are slowing down, but he was one of just two receivers in their 30s last year who caught 50 passes and averaged 14.0 yards per catch (Ted Ginn was the other). And with Nelson Agholor and Alshon Jeffery here, he doesn’t have to be THE GUY. None of them do. That’s the beauty of this offense.

10. Potentially, this is the best trio of receivers the Eagles have ever had. Would you rather have DeSean, Maclin and Avant or Jeffery, Agholor and Wallace? I think this group is more versatile and slightly more talented. It’s close.  

Eagles sign undrafted linebacker Kyle Wilson

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Eagles sign undrafted linebacker Kyle Wilson

After releasing veteran Mychal Kendricks and losing Paul Worrilow for the season, the Eagles have added linebacker depth in rookie Kyle Wilson.

Wilson, who stands 6-foot, 230 pounds, participated in the Eagles’ rookie camp earlier this month.

"I feel like my game can translate pretty well to the NFL," Wilson told the Wichita Eagle Beacon, his hometown newspaper.

"I can make plays at linebacker and on special teams. I have a good football IQ and called all the plays for my defense at Arkansas State. I just want to keep proving people wrong."

Wilson was unrecruited out of Wichita South High School and began his collegiate career at football powerhouse Hutchinson Community College in Kansas before transferring to Arkansas State, where he played for two years.

"I have never been a huge name," Wilson said. "Didn't have any scholarship offers coming out of high school and was forced to go to junior college. Only had three offers leaving there. I have always played with a chip on my shoulder."

The Eagles now have nine linebackers on the roster, including Wilson, projected starters Nigel Bradham and Jordan Hicks, veterans Corey Nelson, Kamu Grugier-Hill and LaRoy Reynolds, late-round draft picks Nate Gerry and Joe Walker and undrafted rookie Asantay Brown from Western Michigan.