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Super Bowl 52 round table

The Fake Teams staff gives their thoughts on the biggest game of the NFL season.

Getty Images/Peter Rogers Illustrations

What are the keys to a Eagles upset? Who will be Super Bowl MVP? What song will Justin Timberlake open with? Our staff do their best to answer these questions and more.

How will the Patriots win this game?

Paddi Cooper: Tom Brady playing his usual game and getting the ball out early to negate the Eagles pass rush, utilising Danny ‘Playoff’ Amendola and the running backs to surgically move down the field. Defensively they need to prevent the big plays the Eagles are capable of and I would expect to see a less aggressive defense from the Patriots that looks to contain the run and force Foles to beat them through the air.

Pete Rogers: Two things: Gronk and RPOs. Patriots need to get Rob Gronkowski going as the Eagles defense, despite being amazing everywhere else on the field, can not cover tight ends. The sooner Brady gets Gronk involved, the sooner the Patriots offense will hum. On defense, the Pats need to watch out for the run/pass option offense that the Eagles have been running with Nick Foles under center. Patriots need to rattle Foles and get him out of a rhythm or else they could be in for a long game.

Brian Creagh: A vintage Tom Brady 4th quarter drive. The Philly D should keep this close, but when it matters most TB12 is going to deliver a game-sealing drive.

Mark Abell: The Patriots need 3 things. 1. Get out to a lead or at very least keep it within 10 points at half. I think teams are catching on to the notion that you can’t give ANY hope to New England or they will exploit it. 2. Patience, they are the more disciplined team with the best QB on the planet, don’t forget that. 3. Don’t let the Eagles pass rushers get to Brady.

What do the Eagles need to do to pull off the upset?

Paddi: Quite simply they need to repeat the showing from the NFC title game and dominate at the line of scrimmage. No team got more pressures on opposing quarterbacks than the Eagles this year and the dull narrative that Brady hates pressure in his face (seriously, who likes having a 300 pound monster trying to knock their head off?), is exactly what they need to do. On offense, they need their offensive line to keep Nick Foles clean to allow him the time to push the ball down field.

Mark: The Eagles need 3 things. 1. Come out firing, put up 14 points as quick as possible and then don’t let up on the gas until a Lombardi Trophy is in their hand. 2. Foles needs to protect the ball and play smart football. If he starts turning it over or missing his targets they are done. The game will not be WON by Foles but it can be LOST by him. 3. When (more likely than not) the game comes down to a one possession game in the final 5 minutes, don’t get tight and choke because I can assure you the Patriots will not.

Pete: Fletcher Cox and the defensive line needs to play out of their mind. Like, they’re looking down on their mind because they’re so out of it. The way to stop Brady is to get pressure up the middle and Cox can do just that. It’s going to be on him to pull off the upset.

If neither quarterback wins Super Bowl MVP, who will it be?

Paddi: Gronk. With him all but certain to be playing on Sunday, it’s the time for Gronk to have one of those mammoth receiving games and at least two touchdowns to cement his legacy as the best to play the position. Plus we’d get to see Gronk doing Gronk stuff, which is all the fun.

Brian: I am wagering a few pesos that this ends up being Brady, but if not give me Patrick Chung with a game-sealing Pick 6 at 100/1

Pete: If Patriots win, I’m with Paddi, it’ll be Gronk. If Eagles win, it’ll be because Cox had eight tackles, three sacks, five tackles for loss and a forced fumble that led to a touchdown. Or something like that.

Mark: The pick I WANT to make is so bold, he doesn’t register on any of Vegas most likely 10 players. Brandon Graham. IF my post earlier this week was correct and Eagles win, it’s due to defense and to me its due to Brandon Graham going all Von Miller on Brady. The issue is, they might throw in Chris Long (who is defensive end behind Graham) quite a bit to REALLY get in Brady’s head so instead I’ll go with Fletcher Cox.

What’s your favorite Super Bowl 52 prop bet?

Brian: O/U 1.5 times that Tom Brady’s age is mentioned in the Broadcast. Lock me in at Over 1.5 at -280. I think we get a trifecta here - Al Michael, Cris Collinsworth and Michele Tafoya will all drop a 40-burger on the broadcast.

Mark: I thought I saw something late last week where it was a 49:1 odds a fight breaks in the crowd out and a 12:1 odds the power goes out, I swear someone mixed those two but ignoring that, I have to say I’m a big fan of the Belichick hoodie prop bet if for nothing other than there are color options and then sleeves cut vs. with sleeves (For the record I’m going with Grey Hoodie Sleeves Cut).

Pete: oh.... funny you ask this....

Who’s will be the unlikely hero of Super Bowl 52?

Mark: Jay Ajayi is the 3rd highest in rushing yards this postseason. My post earlier this week showed how the pass is the downfall for many teams. I think Jay is able to break through New England who has held their on quite well limiting opposing teams to just 69 rushing yards per game this postseason. The Patriots didn’t have much in rushing with the Titans (they only had 16 attempts) but they held Leonard Fournette to 76 yards and 1 TD across 24 attempts and which was admirable. I think Jay Ajayi vs. their rushing D will be fun to watch. Keep in mind this team allowed the 10th most yards per game during the regular season and it essentially comes down to attempts. Every time a player had over 20 attempts this season (with the exception of Kareem Hunt in week 1) they had at least 100 yards, every time they had less than 20 carries, they had 95 yards or less.

Paddi: James White (again). After arguably deserving the MVP award 12 months ago with his three touchdowns and a Super Bowl record 14 receptions, it would not surprise me in the slightest to see White given a major role again.

Pete: Trey Flowers. The Patriots’ pass rusher has been outstanding this postseason and something tells me he’ll have continued success on the big stage. For Philly, I’m looking at you Nelson Agholor.

Brian: Pat Chung. Already said it.

What song should Justin Timberlake start halftime with?

Brian: Can’t Stop The Feeling. This isn’t even a contest. You open with your biggest banger and then transition to SexyBack.

Paddi: Agreed, I can’t see it being anything other than Can’t Stop the Feeling, though I’d like him to go bit old school with Rock Your Body or even older school with a bit of Bye Bye Bye (maybe even a reunion too).

Pete: The NSYNC reunion is happening (let’s be honest) but he’s not going to start with that. That’s how the set will end. JT’s gonna start with SexyBack the spin right into the History of Rap and finish with Bye Bye Bye. You know it.

Mark: Is it wrong to say SNL’s “Homeless-ville” song (bonus points if he comes out dressed a cup of soup)? I’ll go with Suit and Tie, you know to give a nod to how we make sure no wardrobe malfunctions happen…

How many times will you catch yourself wondering how in the world Nick Foles is starting in the Super Bowl?

Paddi : I guess it depends on how he plays out of the gate. If we get NFC Title game Nick Foles then I won't give it a second thought, though I’ll put over/under of sideline shots of Carson Wentz looking intense at 14.5. Also he surely can’t be any worse than Peyton Manning was in Super Bowl 50!

Mark: I think this year is a slow start to concentrating more on the entirety of a roster vs. the quality of your QB. With this said, as I communicate this I’m finding more and more I’m alone in this opinion. I think the Jacksonville’s and Philadelphia’s will get more and more traction as non-QB position become more and more important in years to come. Long worded answer for I’m not wondering it a whole lot, especially after we came real close to a Blake Bortles Nick Foles Super Bowl.

Pete: Every snap.

Who wins Super Bowl 52 and what’s the score?

Mark: Eagles 26 – Patriots 21. The Eagles need to hold a strong enough lead to stop the Patriots late push. I ALSO think that for years the Patriots held off field distractions to a minimum and some of the recent distractions will hold them back in ways that internal rumors (Deflategate etc..) weren’t able to. I’m not trying to go all Stephen Mortenson Mark Brunel Anti-Patriots droll, I think this is a year the storyline turns against the Patriots at the end.

Brian: Patriots - 28, Eagles - 20

Paddi: I am quite useless at picking the winner of the Super Bowl, having got it wrong five years in a row, but I’m learning from my mistakes and not overthinking it. Yes, the Eagles have a shot and match up well against the Patriots, but experience on these occasions is usually a major factor. Oh and you have Tom Brady against Nick Foles, which is basically unfair. Patriots win, 31-21

Pete: Think this is going to be a tighter game than people think, but Patriots are just the better team, Brady gets his sixth Super Bowl, winning 21-17.


Who’s winning Super Bowl 52?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Patriots in a blowout
    (6 votes)
  • 25%
    Patriots but barely
    (5 votes)
  • 20%
    Eagles pull off the upset in stunning fashion
    (4 votes)
  • 25%
    Eagles win but it’s real close
    (5 votes)
20 votes total Vote Now