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5 Predictions for Super Bowl LII

NFL: Philadelphia Eagles at Seattle Seahawks Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia Eagles will attempt to dethrone the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII at 6:30 ET on Sunday. It may be difficult to root for either team in the final match of the 2017 season. However, we should be in store for a competitive and exciting game.

Five predictions:

  • Rob Gronkowski will be held under 50 yards

Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare for every team in the NFL. Nonetheless, Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins gives them a chance to limit the hulking tight end. Philadelphia allowed just 25 yards to Kyle Rudolph and 15 yards to the Falcons tight ends the previous week. Coordinator Jim Schwartz will deploy various coverages against Gronk, forcing the Patriots to move the ball with other players.

  • Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan will combine for three sacks

The Patriots are likely to utilize an extremely pass heavy game plan against the league’s top rated run defense. Tom Brady will attempt upwards of 50 passes, which will give the Eagles talented defensive tackles ample opportunity to takedown the quarterback. New England allowed 35 sacks in the regular season, a pedestrian number for their offense. Historically, the only way to stop Brady’s quick rhythm passing game is to put pressure in his face. Expect a large impact from Cox and Jernigan.

  • James White will eclipse 100 yards from scrimmage

New England employs an effective running back committee, but White should be the primary back against Philadelphia. He has just 14 touches thus far in the postseason. However, his quickness provides a bonafide mismatch against Eagles linebackers Mychal Kendricks and Nigel Bradham. White is a clutch performer who was instrumental in the Patriots comeback during last year’s Super Bowl, with 110 receiving yards. He will record the most receptions of any player on Sunday as Brady’s main outlet.

  • Alshon Jeffery will catch two touchdowns

Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia will aim to force Nick Foles into mistakes by stacking the box against the run and bracketing tight end Zach Ertz. This will leave Stephon Gilmore and Malcolm Butler in single coverage on Jeffery. Alshon posted two touchdowns against the Vikings elite pass defense in the NFC championship game and will repeat this feat in the Super Bowl. Gilmore and Butler are talented cornerbacks, but do not have the size to shut down Jeffery in the red zone.

  • Tom Brady will engineer a fourth quarter victory

While there are plenty of reasons to dislike Brady, his greatness and poise under pressure cannot be denied. With the game on the line, he seemingly always makes the right decision. His accuracy is deadly when blitzed, and the referees often help him with favorable calls. Expect a controversial penalty to benefit Brady as he marches the Patriots down the field in the game’s waning moments.