We thought about going with the title: “Justin and Zane get it right, Thomas and Joe get it wrong,” but we have to at least keep up the appearance of impartiality.
Justin: OK, so I’m only batting .500 on “Bleacher Creature” conference championship predictions made in January 21 issue of the Collegian, but who cares? Last I checked, that’s still a pretty solid percentage. Besides, I got the one that counted, didn’t I? I don’t think I have to tell you that the Patriots are my pick to win Super Bowl LII. Honestly, I hesitate to even use the word “pick,” seeing as a Pats victory is about as sure a thing as an HBO pilot featuring at least two topless women for every ten minutes of screentime. Do you realize that Tom Brady has never lost a Super Bowl to a quarterback who didn’t also hold the World Mouthbreathing Championship Belt? It’s true! Don’t get it twisted, I love me some Nick Foles and think he’s got a terrific chance to derp the belt all to himself one day, but as long as Eli Manning is still suiting up in this league, nobody else has a chance to stop Tom Terrific. I’ll admit, the situation is far from ideal if you’re New England. Despite losing their starting middle linebacker and left tackle, not to mention their freaking MVP favorite QB, the Eagles have managed to roll through the competition all year. They appear to be peaking at the right time, coming off one of the biggest playoff shellackings in recent memory against the favorited Vikings. They’ll have most of the country rooting for them and have a whole bunch of “nobody believes in us” internal motivation as well. And on top of everything else, Gronk suffered a concussion after a handful of dirty hits from the Jaguars and isn’t a sure thing to suit up next Sunday. Jeez, am I talking myself out of this one already? I mean, can you imagine what would happen if the Patriots have to play without the best tight end in history? That’s not exactly small potatoes! They’ll probably look awful out of the gates, be down 28-3 in the third quarter, all hope will be lost, the dynasty will be ov…oh wait. Patriots 24 – Eagles 17
Thomas: I’m an idealist. You probably think I’m an idiot for that, or maybe you can agree that there should be no private land ownership. Either way, we both want the Eagles to win. Not because we care about NFL football, or even want to visit Philadelphia, but because we love America. We love the underdog; the 1776 guerrillas in blue that wreaked havoc on those redcoats. Sure, it’s the “Patriots,” but only in an ironic sense. They represent what we as Americans hate most: concentrated power. Nick Foles is a doll and a sweetheart, who has taken the reins in the absence of their great former leader. Who does this remind you of? Pretty much every great American hero ever. Additionally, and more sports-related, the Eagles spanked the Vikings, who lead by Case Keenum, had a hell of a 2017 season. Nick Foles did as well as any quarterback can, throwing 26-33 and three touchdowns. And as much as it hurts, they beat my Falcons, who had some steam rolling after receiving their wildcard bid in the toughest division in the NFC. With a further look back in the season, the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs thoroughly defeated the Patriots, but the Eagles showed them what’s what. Now, I’m no believer is causality, but essentially the gods have spoken. Eagles 42 – Patriots 24
Zane: Super Bowl LII is surely a punishment from a higher power. We had to have done something horrible to deserve this, right? It’s bad enough that the Patriots are appearing for the eighth time of the Brady-Belichick era (extending the ceaseless agony of AFC football fans for yet another season), but the football gods had to run up the score on us and unceremoniously crush the Minnesota Vikings’ dream season. The Skol Squad has instead been replaced by the only team as universally despised as New England: the Philadelphia Dirty Birds. It’s years like this that really make sports fans feel like curses are real. I could wax poetic on how this has to be some sort of evil conspiracy perpetuated by the Illuminati or make some witty jabs about how Tom Brady is actually an ageless, heartless cyborg. But my heart simply isn’t in it. This Super Bowl is going to be one big bummer parade. The Patriots defense, just like always, will show up the one time they need to and will easily shut down Nick Foles’s offense. Justin Timberlake is going to perform an aggressively mediocre halftime show. Doug Pederson (who??) will give up by the third quarter, and a sixth Lombardi trophy is going to wind up behind glass in Bob Kraft’s office, which I can only assume is in some sort of H. H. Holmes-style Lovecraftian murder castle.
Patriots 23 – Eagles 10
Joe: I’m tired of seeing Tom Brady in the Super Bowl, but here we are again. And as much as I want them to lose, how can you predict against them in the playoffs? Through a combination of skill, cheating and being the commissioner’s favorite team, they have found success in this scenario so many times over the past decade. However, I have hope that we will find a new, unexpected Patriots killer. With no Eli Manning to carry the anti-Patriot faithful this year, Nick Foles will have to fill his shoes. As one of the last quarterbacks I would have predicted to be anywhere in the playoff picture this year, he has become the unlikely hero that we need right now. It’s time to count on the underdog story and hope that the Patriots organization is as disorganized as everyone has claimed they are over the past two weeks. The Eagles will pull out the win with a heroic play in the fourth quarter.
Eagles 24 – Patriots 17