Greg's Best Guess - Vol. 1 Issue 5

After a tough road in the playoffs, we've finally reached the final NFL game of the 2017 season. I'm sitting at an even 5-5 with my predictions which means I'm either finishing this run above the .500 mark or just below. I'm finding this to be a very difficult game to decipher, but it's a task what which must be dealt. The only way to shake out a true Super Bowl champion between these two squads is to break it down by each position battle. Read on and enjoy the game!


The Quarterbacks

Tom Brady vs. Nick Foles

Greg's Take: Slam dunk, right? Yes, let's not even try to be cute on this one. New England has the clear advantage here. Brady possesses experience and a LOT of historical data to point towards him as the upper hand here. Foles has done a great job growing into his role as the starter in Philly, but the Pats have a tremendous edge at QB.

Advantage: New England


The Running Backs

Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, James White vs. Jay Ajayi, LaGarrette Blount, Corey Clement

Greg's Take: The similarities between these two groups is intriguing. Five of the six are relatively multi-faceted with the ability to run and catch with the main exception being the bowling ball that is Blount, although he does possess the ability to catch passes, it's just not his primary duty. As a collective group, I give the edge to the Eagles here. A rare mid-season trade to bring in Ajayi from Miami has paid off well, and you have to like Blount in a sort of revenge game against his former team.

Advantage: Philadelphia


The Wide Receivers/Tight Ends

Brandin Cooks, Chris Hogan, Danny Amendola, Rob Gronkowski vs.

Alshon Jefferey, Nelson Agholor, Torrey Smith, Zach Ertz

Greg's Take: The top end for New England (Cooks, Gronk) is a clear advantage over Philadelphia (Jeffery, Ertz), but the secondary targets and slot receivers make this a much closer group to distinguish. I'll give a slight edge to the Patriots here primarily because of Gronk - he presents the most difficult match up for any defense and I think he will be a factor in the game Sunday.

Advantage: New England


The Offensive Lines

Nate Solder, Joe Thuney, David Andrews, Shaq Mason, Cameron Fleming vs.

Halapoulivaati Vaitai, Stefen Wisniewski, Jason Kelce, Brandon Brooks, Lane Johnson

Greg's Take: Even with the loss of All-Pro left tackle, Jason Peters, the Eagles offensive line has played remarkably well. His replacement (Vaitai) took some time to gel in with the rest of the line, but he's a regular there now. The right side of Brooks and Johnson is also as good as it gets with both being named Pro Bowlers. The Pats offensive line is very good in its own right, but Philadelphia has the edge here.

Advantage: Philadelphia


The Defensive Lines

Deatrich Wise, Lawrence Guy, Malcom Brown, Trey Flowers vs.

Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Timmy Jernigan, Vinny Curry

Greg's Take: New England's front four is solid - they don't cram the box scores, but they do their job so the other seven can do their jobs effectively. Philly's D-Line, however, is downright nasty. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham are a force - their presence needs to be felt in this one as the Eagles try and get pressure on Tom Brady. Whether or not they can sustain pressure throughout the game is debateable, but the edge still goes to the Eagles here.

Advantage: Philadelphia


The Linebackers

Elandon Roberts, David Harris, Kyle Van Noy vs. Nigel Bradham, Dannell Ellerbe, Mychal Kendricks

Greg's Take: Bradham & Kendricks as tackling machines gives a clear edge to the Eagles at this position group. Again, nothing wong with New England's core, Kyle Van Noy has had a very good year for the Pats, but Philly is just better here, both in the stats department, and from a skill stand point.

Advantage: Philadelphia


The Defensive Backs/Safeties

Stephon Gilmore, Malcolm Butler, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty vs.

Ronald Darby, Jalen Mills, Malcolm Jenkins, Rodney McLeod

Greg's Take: Philly has a decisive +5 edge in interceptions between these two groups, but despite a lack of INTs, this is the heart and soul of New England's defense. This Patriots secondary has 4 of the team's top 5 tacklers, plus they come with a better compliment of experience playing in big games. I like the Pats in this department.

Advantage: New England


The Special Teams

Stephen Gostkowski, Ryan Allen & Dion Lewis (KR), Danny Amendola (PR) vs.

Jake Elliott, Donnie Jones & Kenjon Barner (KR & PR)

Greg's Take: The experience factor makes the biggest difference here. These are the players that may not ultimately decide the game, but they're the most likely to be remembered for their performance based on the outcome. With that said, the Patriots have a group that has been there, done that, under the brightest of lights, and so they have the upper hand when it comes to the specialists.

Advantage: New England


The Prediction

Greg's Take: This is tough. If your'e keeping score - the above categories are split with 4 advantages on each side. I do believe the game will be close. I also believe that early on the Eagles may take an early lead, perhaps even by multiple scores. I think Philadelphia's offensive and defensive lines edge will allow them to control the game for the first quarter, maybe even the first half. But this is New England. This is Bill Belichick and Tom Brady. Second half adjustments and getting the ball in #12's hands when the game is on the line is what this team does. In the end, I think we see another Super Bowl that culminates with late game Brady heroics - and the majesty of Brady and Belichick continues to grow, at least for one more season.

Prediction: New England 31-27