Mike Handzelek's Super Bowl X's& O's--Analysis--Future Notes

By: Point Shaver Handzelek     Date: Feb 8, 2018


Sunday, February 04, 2018 Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots (NFL) - 6:30 PM EST Premium Pick Pick: Point Spread: 4.5/-105 Philadelphia Eagles Pick Title: Super Bowl X's & O's Analytics + Winner/Winning Props (WIN) Props (Won 4, Loss 0). There's no argument here that says HC Bill Belichick & QB Tom Brady rate the edge for Super Bowl LII based on talent & experience. And yes, Belichick & staff did watch over 2,500 plays in prepping for this game. But unfortunately, those aren't the only 2 determining factors that necessarily dictate the Super Bowl winner. I've said earlier, this season's Patriots are a step BACK from last year's Super Bowl rendition. Since November 19th, they've played a very soft schedule which they've taken on only 2 reputable teams - the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 15 & the Jacksonville Jaguars 2 weeks ago. I feel the Steelers won that game outright in the waning moments since the NFL's current rule defining a catch is a gigantic embarrassment to the league that needs to change & fall back to what it once was. If the Jacksonville offense knew how to control the clock, we could have been easily looking @ an Eagles-Jaguars meeting here. Throughout the season & current, one of the most underrated coaches has to be Eagles' HC Doug Pederson. "Dougie Fresh" (so-called in the locker room) came along way from 9 seasons ago when he led the Calvary Baptist Academy Cavaliers (Shreveport) to a 2nd consecutive Louisiana High School Athletic Association Class 2A semifinal. The former Philadelphia QB's remarkable rise saw him go from QB'ing NE Louisiana (now UL Monroe), then earning a Super Bowl ring as a player with the 1996 Green Bay Packers before spending 3 years in the World League of American Football & 10 years in the NFL as a coach. So how does his offense stack up to what HC Bill Belichick & DC Matt Patricia (coaching the Lions next season) have in store for him? There's no doubt that NE has consistently taken away what opposing offenses have done best. However, the 2017-18 Philadelphia offense under OC Frank Reich are HUNGRY to say the least. Reich wants this one BADLY for his dad Frank Sr. who actually turned down being drafted by Philly in 56' (4 years before their last NFL championship) & instead took a teaching & HC'ing job in central Pennsylvania. Pederson & Reich know NE MUST try to stop 3 things they do best: run the football, execute run-pass options & a strong deep passing game. The problem for the Patriots' "D" is when they're forced to blitz in order to get pressure on Nick Foles. Remember, NE couldn't touch Bortles without blitzing. Unlike Minnesota, NE does NOT have a LB capable of running with TE Zach Ertz (5-year vet from Stanford). This leaves the Pats SS Patrick Chung (Ex-Eagles send-off) to bump up to stack coverage against him. Now the success of the Birds' lands on QB Nick Foles & his ability of running the run-pass option through quick reads. If he sees a certain NE defender staying in to defend the run, he'll throw to the open space that must be created by TE/WR filling the gaps. If this certain defender falls back out of the box into coverage, Foles hands the ball off. The chess match then continues as Patricia can gamble with 3 safeties (bringing in Duron Harmon with Chung & Devin McCourty especially in nickel packages) to add speed in containment. I feel Philly has enough offensive playmakers to make them pay. Remember, Foles was a near-perfect 15-of-16 versus Minnesota when he gets rid of the ball in 2.5 seconds or less. Let's now look @ the Eagles' "D" under DC Jim Schwartz. Their X-Factor has to be DRT Fletcher Cox (as well as DLT Tim Jernigan) who must shoot the gaps in the interior & pressure QB Tom Brady using a standard 4-man rush since blitzing a veteran QB is more of a gamble in getting burned. Behind their front-4, expect Schwartz to play single-high, man-to-man coverages which opens up an extra defender (S Malcolm Jenkins or a LB) in TE Rob Gronkowski's area. That extra defender will drop back into man if OC Josh McDaniels uses 4 receivers with a RB flare pass as last option. The Falcons used this successfully until tiring in quarter 4 & OT last year. I believe Philly has a better chance of covering the WR/TE with their LB'ing crew than Atlanta did in Super Bowl LI. Here's my look @ the numbers show. The team with the BETTER defense (Philadelphia is #4 compared to NE's 29th) has won 42 of the 51 Super Bowl games played. The team with the most rushing yards (stats show advantage Philadelphia) has gone 38-12-1 SU (tie was last year). The NFL MVP QB (expected to be Brady) has gone 6-14 SU & 5-13-2 ATS the past 20 but more importantly a recent 0-7 SU & ATS since 2002. Matt Ryan was MVP last year. In addition, Super Bowl favorites of 5 or less off double rest (week before playoffs & week before Super Bowl) are just 2-9 SU & ATS the past 11 Super Bowls. This playoff season has also been a barking out loud one with the underdogs covering @ an amazing ATS success rate of 8-1-1! The underdog has also gone 13-6-3 ATS the past 22 Super Bowls. Here's my BOTTOM LINE. How good is Pederson's 3-dimensional offense? They remain the only team in the NFL to put up 400 yards or more against the Minnesota defense. This season, the Vikings' 3rd-down defense was the NFL's best since 1991. The Eagles' offense converted 71% (10-for-14) of the time against them in the NFC Championship. They NOW face a "D" with a non-dominant defensive line & a LB'ing crew that have lapses in coverage. It's going to be tough for NE to live & die with a good secondary (CB's & S's) for 4 quarters. This could shape up similar to Philadelphia's last NFL Championship in 1960. For it was legendary Vince Lombardi's Green bay Packers who also had a loaded offense (QB Bart Starr, HB Paul Hornung, FB Jim Taylor & SE Max McGee) when they played Philadelphia for it all @ Franklin Field. It was upstart HC Buck Shaw (despite being out-rushed 223-99 & losing the turnover war 3-to-1) who had QB Norm "The Dutchman" Van Brocklin hookup on enough downfield completions to WR Tommy McDonald, TE Pete Retzlaff & FB Ted Dean out of the backfield in scoring a late TD to stun Green Bay 17-13. My DAGGER looks @ Super Bowl starting QB's who had just 3 or less regular season starts. This year (Foles) represents just the 3rd time in 52 this has happened. Who were the other 2? The New York Giants with Jeff Hostetler in 1990 & the Washington Redskins had Doug Williams in 1987 started in this role & BOTH led their teams to a Super Bowl victory. I feel Philly has the stronger "D" & has faced a seasoned schedule (since Nov. 19th) beating Dallas on the road (when it was relevant), winning @ the L.A. Rams before taking care of 2 tough opponents in Atlanta & Minnesota. Turnover differential shows Philly with a +12 to +5 edge. Now here's the pick! Since New England hasn't beaten or lost to ANYONE in a SB by more than 6 in the Belichick-Brady era, we'll gladly buy up to + 7 1/2 as we go to U.S. Bank of Stadium in Minneapolis to play the more-hungry & underdog-driven PHILADELPHIA EAGLES as my Super Bowl X's & O's ATS Winner! Now, let's move on to the propositions. Prop 1 is to play "NO" to a safety scored in Super Bowl LII. The 2nd prop I like is to play to "Yes" to the team that scores 1st wins. My 3rd prop says to play "Yes" to the team that scores last wins. 4th prop says to play "No" to will there be a defensive or special teams TD. We'll concentrate on just 4 to take home another winning season & Super Bowl to end the FB season right. Thanks to all subscribers & hope to see you again next season! NOTES: I was stunned @ how many excuses came about after Malcolm Butler absence from the Super Bowl was blamed for their demise. Many finger pointing (legit or not) were toward curfew & showing up late as reasons to why Belichick benched him for the game. I personally feel Belichick thought he was mentally unprepared to handle the diversification of the Eagles' triple-threat offense. Ability & experience mean nothing to Big Bill since he's always been about the preparation. But the true story lies inside the opposing team's coaching staff. I thought HC Doug Pederson was smart @ running high-percentage passes early to gain Foles' confidence by getting him into a groove. As the game progressed, Pederson NEVER took his foot off the pedal by keeping his aggressive play-calling to a fever pitch.Both fourth-down calls had no answer by the New England defense who I've said all along -- they can be had! I thought the Philly "D" could have disrupted Brady's rhythm if they would have exercised checking of players better @ the line of scrimmage (especially on Gronkowski in the 2nd half). I feel the Eagles should be right there again next season IF they can get at least 3 more defensive playmakers (LB-CB-S) to provide more depth. This is essential in trying to take on a team like the Patriots again. Hopefully Nick Foles (had a 158.1 3rd-down passer rating & a 115.7 overall passer rating for the post-season) will realize he can only thrive in a Pederson-like system (Run-Pass Option) & stand pat in Philly. We already saw what he can do elsewhere. Here's some words of caution about New England's future. OC Josh McDaniels was lured back to the Pats for a reason. Keep a close watch for a drastic turn of events over the next year there with their coaching staff. You've heard it here first! My 2017-18 NFL Record the last 22 picks: 17-5 for 77%----- My 2017-18 NFL Record Since November 6th: 35-11 for 76%----- My Final 2017-18 NFL Overall Record: 59-37 for 61%. Don't forget to join us next year for another successful season!


 
 
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