Super Bowl LII Party Keys to the Game for Non-Fans

By Ha Kung Wong  Daily Fantasy Football

Twitter: @FBGarbageTime

So, you’re going to a Super Bowl LII Party but you only know the basics of the game?  And you want to sound like you’re a football expert?  But you don’t have time to read a ton of articles or watch hours of ESPN or NFL Network?  No worries, I have you covered!

Here’s a quick and dirty breakdown of the Patriots and Eagles so you can name and stat drop throughout the game AND I give you my three keys to the game so you can sound like you’re totally in the know!  Go ahead, fool your friends!  They’re jerks anyway, right?

Super Bowl LII

Patriots favored by 4.5

Over/Under of 48

Patriots Offense

Passing Rank (DVOA) – 1st

  • Passing Yards Per Game – 394.2 (1st)

Rushing Rank (DVOA) – 3rd

  • Rushing Yards Per Game – 118.1 (10th)

Points Per Game – 28.6 (2nd)

Key Offensive Players:

  • QB Tom Brady
  • RB Dion Lewis
  • WR Danny Amendola
  • TE Rob Gronkowski

Patriots Defense

Pass Defense Rank (DVOA) – 21st

  • Passing Yards Allowed Per Game – 251.3 (30th)

Run Defense Rank (DVOA) – 30th

  • Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game – 114.8 (20th)

Points Allowed Per Game – 18.5 (5th)

Key Defensive Players:

  • CB Devin McCourty
  • LB Kyle Van Noy
  • DE Trey Flowers
  • CB Malcolm Butler
  • S Patrick Chung
Eagles Offense

Passing Rank (DVOA) – 5th

  • Passing Yards Per Game – 233.6 (13th)

Rushing Rank (DVOA) – 17th

  • Rushing Yards Per Game – 132.2 (3rd)

Points Per Game – 28.6 (Tied for 2nd)

Key Offensive Players:

  • QB Nick Foles
  • RB Jay Ajayi
  • WR Alshon Jeffery
  • WR Nelson Agholor
  • TE Zach Ertz
  • The entire offensive line

Eagles Defense

Pass Defense Rank (DVOA) – 7th

  • Passing Yards Allowed Per Game – 227.2 (17th)

Run Defense Rank (DVOA) – 3rd

  • Rushing Yards Allowed Per Game – 79.2 (1st)

Points Allowed Per Game – 18.4 (4th)

Key Defensive Players:

  • CB Ronald Darby
  • LB Nigel Bradham
  • S Malcolm Jenkins
  • DE Brandon Graham
  • CB Patrick Robinson

Keys to the Game

(1)  Create Turnovers

The Eagles have been one of the best defenses in the NFL this season for a number of reasons, but maybe one of the primary reasons has been their ability to create turnovers. The Eagles created 31 turnovers during the regular season, good for 4th best in the NFL, and in fact have the 4th best Give/Take differential in the league as well at 11.  They also managed take the ball away three times from the Minnesota Vikings in the NFC Championship.  It’s much harder against an experienced Patriots squad, and a very careful Tom Brady (only 8 INTs across 16 regular season and 2 postseason games this year), but I think they need at least one to win.

The Patriots on the other hand, haven’t been that opportunistic with takeaways, with only 18 this season, good for 5th to last in the league.  But they’ve also been stingy with giveaways, as they’ve only had 12 of those this season, good for 2nd best in the league.  Getting turnovers won’t be as critical to the Patriots’ success, but giving them will.  It’ll be interesting to see how this turns out, but I think the team with the positive Give/Take differential will likely win this game.

(2)  Protect the Quarterback

In addition to TOs, I think the team that does a better job protecting the quarterback will likely win the game, as both defenses are capable of being picked apart if there isn’t a pass rush. The Eagles have allowed 36 sacks this regular season, which is dead center of the league.  Interestingly, the Eagles defense have sacked opposing QBs just 38 times this year, also dead center in the league.

Foles showed last week that he is capable of throwing this team to a win if he has time, and Doug Pederson said last week might have been the offensive line’s best game of the season. They will need to duplicate it against the Patriots, and they are capable of doing so, as the Patriots’ pass rush is nowhere near the Minnesota Vikings they faced last week.

The Patriots are situated almost exactly the same as the Eagles in that they’ve allowed 35 sacks this season, but they’re actually better on the other side of the ball with 42 sacks of opposing QBs, good for 7th best in the NFL.  I’m not that worried about Brady, just based on his experience, ability and available weapons, particularly with Gronkowski clear his concussion and set to play, but giving him a clean pocket will still be helpful to avoid potential turnovers.  And the Eagles do have the 7th best pass defense in the league based on DVOA, so any extra time in the pocket will make a difference.

But I was suprised to see how many sacks the Patriots defense had.  Now, more than ever, I’m convinced that if they put that kind of pressure on Foles, the Eagles are going to have a hard time moving the ball, regardless of their perceived lack of defense against the run. Belichick has a history of giving up the run to get after the pass, and that formula might work here against the Eagles.

(3)  Hit the Ground Running

Let’s be honest.  Belichick is one of the best game planners in NFL history.  But the Pats still have just the 30th ranked run defense in the league, while the Eagles have the 3rd ranked run defense in the league.  That’s not just chance, that’s based on 16 regular season games.

The Eagles do have the backfield to run the ball against the Patriots in Jay Ajayi, LaGarette Blount and Corey Clement, and doing so successfully will not only help the offense, including Nick Foles, but it will help them control the clock, keeping Brady off the field.  The Eagles have quietly compiled the 3rd most total rushing yards this year (2115) and are tied for the 2nd most yards per attempt (4.5).  And they face an exploitable 30th ranked Patriots run defense.

The Patriots on the other hand just need to avoid becoming one dimensional.  So far, they’ve done a great job with that, but what’s interesting is that although the Jaguars defense is elite, they were only ranked 26th against the run.  The Eagles have a much more well rounded defense, although ranked ultimately lower overall than the Jags, so the Pats need to stay balanced.  Dion Lewis has been a re-revelation, and James White has be clutch when needed.  Plus, they still have Rex Burkhead.

It’s more important to the Eagles, but the team that establishes the run earlier and more consistently should have a better chance at winning as well.

Prediction

Eagles manage to have the positive Give/Take differential and win a close one.

Eagles 27 – Patriots 24

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