Super Bowl LII: Philadelphia Eagles WRs are the key against New England Patriots CBs

If Nick Foles wants to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to their first Super Bowl win on Sunday, he will definitely have to lean on his trio of wide receivers against an experienced New England Patriots secondary during Super Bowl LII.

Even though Super Bowl LII may look somewhat underwhelming on paper with a backup quarterback starting, the Philadelphia Eagles have a chance to upset the New England Patriots. Especially with the talent surrounding Nick Foles and their defense. Of course, the Eagles should rely heavily on the run game. While the Patriots have had trouble against that, both Derrick Henry (12 carries for 28 yards, 2.8 yards per carry) and Leonard Fournette (24 carries for 76 yards, 3.2 yards per carry – 1 touchdown) did not have big games against them. In both the divisional and conference AFC playoff games against the Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars, they focused on stopping the run and ultimately forced the Mariota and Bortles to make plays against the secondary. Thus, both teams failed to do enough. This trend will most likely continue into Super Bowl LII going against Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount.

The New England Patriots cornerbacks are exploitable and the Philadelphia Eagles wide receivers have to take advantage.

Since New England had to focus on the run game of the Titans and the Jaguars in the last 2 AFC playoff games, their cornerbacks were isolated frequently. It showed on the stat sheet. In the Titans game, Corey Davis had his best NFL game against Malcolm Butler. Catching 5 passes for 63 yards and 2 touchdowns. Eric Decker also had 6 catches for 85 yards as a slot receiver. Thus showing Patrick Chung/Eric Rowe are the weak links in the secondary. In the Jaguars game, Allen Hurns had a good day with 6 catches for 80 yards. He was inconsistent in 2017. Stephon Gilmore has been a good free agent pickup. Becoming the most consistent cornerback in New England. Malcolm Butler has been inconsistent and is a pending free agent in the 2018 NFL offseason. Nonetheless, he still has shut down ability.

Foles has played above expectations during the last 2 playoff games. He has the weapons around him to put up points against the New England Patriots.

Even though Zach Ertz did not have a big game against the Atlanta Falcons (3 catches for 32 yards)in the NFC divisional playoff game, he was a mismatch nightmare against the Minnesota Vikings (8 catches and 93 yards) and Harrison Smith more notably in the NFC conference playoff game. Ertz is going to be the biggest weapon for the Eagles against the Patriots linebackers (Elandon Roberts, David Harris, Kyle Van Noy) and the safeties (Duron Harmon, Patrick Chung, Devin McCourty) will look to double cover Ertz as well as focus on the run game. With those 2 things, the Eagles should have some one-on-one coverages with their wide receivers against an experienced cornerback group.

The Philadelphia Eagles should spread the ball around to Alshon Jeffrey, Torrey Smith, and Nelson Agholor as they face off against Malcolm Butler

Alshon Jeffrey has been very consistent. Against both the Falcons and the Vikings he has had 1 drop on 10 totals targets. Also, he had 146 total receiving yards (2 touchdowns). Smith had a decent day against the Falcons as well (3 catches for 39 yards).  He, without a doubt, still is a big play deep threat waiting to happen. Torrey Smith also had 5 catches for 69 yards (1 touchdown) against the Vikings. He can stretch the field to allow space in the middle.

Nelson Agholor is perfect for his role. That being the route runner that can make plays near the middle of the field. His 6 total catches for 83 total yards could give Rowe/Chung a hard time. Moreover, with the attention focused on the run game and the deep threats of Jeffrey and Smith. With this matchup predicament for the New England Patriots, a Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII win in 2018 is possible.

 

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Andrew Kim

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