Children in Boston have no idea how damn good they have it. The Pats will appear in the Super Bowl for an eighth time since Bill Belichick and Tom Brady arrived in 2000. They won five of those, a tie for second with the Cowboys and 49ers. The Steelers lead with six.

It was reported that Brady suffered a cut on his throwing hand in practice and needed eight stitches. Then the stitch count climbed to 10; the final stitch tracker reported 12 stitches. It didn’t matter.

When Rob Gronkowski left the AFC Championship in the second quarter concussed after a hit to the dome from safety Barry Church—it seemed possible that the Jalen Ramsey-led Jags might do the unthinkable. Then New England’s James White scored with 55 seconds left in the first half to cut it to 14-10, Jaguars with the halftime lead. Jacksonville would extend that lead to 20-10 and take it into the fourth quarter. Then Bill Belichick mumbled up a game plan, Brady threw two fourth quarter touchdowns to Danny Amendola and the Pats did what the Patriots do—represent the AFC in Super Bowls.

Someone drove a dune buggy up the Rocky steps after the Eagles beat the Vikings. If Philly wins the Super Bowl, they might march through Philadelphia hoisting the Rocky statue. Yuengling will flow through the streets like a river and cheesesteaks will be free for a month. Imagine Philadelphia hedonism…

The Super Bowl 52 card is sorted—the Patriots are a 5.5-point favorite. Somewhere in the Boston area, Brady is resting in his hyperbaric oxygen chamber and Belichick is grooming a sweatshirt with scissors from his desk. This is gonna be a war—here are five bad asses that will be going for blood.

Eagles Defensive Front
Football games are won at the point of contact, the line of scrimmage. Good defensive lines can win Super Bowls—the huntin’ dogs for the Giants recently won two, the Broncos got one with the worst QB in Super Bowl history and the Eagles could be on their way. In order of bad ass: Fletcher Cox, defensive tackle; Brandon Graham, end; Tim Jernigan, tackle; Chris Long, end and Vinny Curry, end. Like the great Cowboys teams in the 90s, these Eagles have depth on the defensive line, which means they will keep coming.

Here’s a game: choose two to protect you—the other seven are coming to kill you. Here are your choices: 10,000 rats, 100 eagles, 20 wolves, 10 crocodiles, 7 bulls, 5 gorillas, 4 lions, three grizzly bears, Eagles defensive line or one man with shotgun (unlimited bullets).

Rob Gronkowski
6’6”, 270 pounds and runs a 4.5 second 40-yard dash, which means he’s too fast for linebackers and too big for defensive backs—mismatch. “Gronk” is well-known for goofy antics—he hosted “Gronk’s Party Ship” back in 2016, but don’t get it twisted—this guy comes to play. Want to know how dominant Gronk is? He leads all players in receiving TDs since entering the NFL in 2010 (74), despite missing 25 games in that span.

Tom and Bill
Joined at the brain—love em’ or hate em’—Tom Brady and Bill Belichick are a force. Bill Belichick and Tom Brady's .779 regular season winning percentage is the best winning percentage of any coach-quarterback pair since the 1970 AFL-NFL merger. Also, Brady is a 15-time Patriots team captain, elected to the position by his teammates every season since 2002. What a leader, Tom!

Eagles Run Attack
Three running backs: Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement, and a damn good offensive line must play well to beat the greatest NFL machine of all time. The hogs up front can run and block: Zach Ertz, tight end; Halapoulivaati Vaitai, left tackle; Stefen Wisniewski, left guard; Jason Kelce, center; Brandon Brooks, guard and Lane Johnson, right tackle. Despite losing Jason Peters, a nine-time Pro Bowler at left tackle in week eight, this group has rallied and will try to pound the rock on Sunday. Win one for Jason? Be aware of the team that rallies the troops.

Eagles Ball Hawks
The Eagles have some of the best corners and safeties in the League—these guys can run, cover and tackle: Jalen Mills, Rasul Douglas, Rodney McLeod, Malcolm Jenkins, Corey Graham, Ronald Darby and Patrick Robinson—all these guys make plays. And they’ll have to make plays to beat the wizard Tom Brady.

The Patriots were down 28-3 in last year’s Super Bowl and the Atlanta Birds gave it away. It was indeed the greatest choke job in the history of sports. Luck runs out for New England.

ManScore Prediction: Philly: 28 New England: 10

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