NFL Playoffs: Super Bowl Picks

CBS Local Sports talent from across the country looks at the Super Bowl match-up. Who are our NFL experts picking to win the big game?

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The Experts
Picks Overview
  Bob Pompeani Don Bell Steve Burton Matt Yurus
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
Sunday, February 4, 6:00 pm ET
Eagles Eagles Patriots Patriots
Picks Analysis
Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
Sunday, February 4, 6:00 pm ET
Bob Pompeani, KDKA Pittsburgh
Bob Pompeani, KDKA-TV, CBS Pittsburgh
The Patriots are again favored to win another Lombardi trophy, and I can see why. The duo of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick have been their very best on the biggest of stages, and there is none bigger than this. But if you are looking for reasons to believe that the Eagles will fly in Minnesota, look no further than the battles in the trenches. The Eagles have the best defensive linemen that Tom Brady will see all year. Fletcher Cox leads a group that can get plenty of pressure on any quarterback, especially one like Brady, who is no threat to run. The key for the Eagles lies in down and distance. They must win the battle of first down, set up second and long, and third and long. This plays to their strength. If New England wins the first-down game, then the Eagles will play more back on their heels. Nobody can pressure the quarterback in third and long better than the Eagles. The same applies to Philadelphia’s offensive line. They can win the line of scrimmage. They are better than what the Patriots have up front. Their run game can do damage, and LeGarrette Blount would like nothing more than to beat his old team and get another ring for a different team. Blount could be the X-factor for Philly. It is still hard for me to see a Nick Foles-quarterbacked team beat a Tom Brady-quarterbacked team. And I have tons of respect for Foles, who has been terrific in high-leverage games. He has, in fact, thrived on those stages. But, always, Brady gets the check mark in the category of advantage QB. There is also the coaching matchup. Doug Pederson is in a tough situation going against Belichick, especially matching X’s and O’s late in the game, as they enter pressure time. Pederson has been known to take risks. That could backfire in a game like this. If New England wins, they would tie the Steelers for the most Lombardi trophies at six. And while my head tells me New England is the logical choice in SB 52, I am going with my gut. I like Philly in a very close game. Eagles will fly.
Don Bell, Sports Director, CBS 3 Philadelphia
Don Bell, CBS 3, Philadelphia
Based off pedigree alone, this a total mismatch. The Eagles franchise has 21 playoff wins; Tom Brady has 27. Philly has never won a Super Bowl; New England has five since 2002. It’s a good thing this game isn’t played on paper. There are three keys to this game: 1) pressure on the quarterbacks 2) third-down efficiency and 3) Turnovers. The Eagles have the advantage in two of the three. The Eagles front four, with former Patriot Chris Long and first-round pick Derek Barnett, is the best unit in the game on either side. Behind Doug Pederson’s one-step-ahead play calling, the Eagles converted 10-14 third-down attempts against the best third-down defense in NFL history (Vikings). As for the turnover riddle, the Patriots are the second-stingiest in the biz. They were second to Kansas City during the regular season, with only 12, and they have only one turnover in the playoffs. I give the slight edge to the Eagles. Doug Pederson and his coaching staff are in a zone. They’ll do the unthinkable — outfox future Hall of Famer Bill Belichick.
Steve Burton, Sports Director, WBZ-TV Boston CBS 3
Steve Burton, WBZ-TV, CBS Boston
I think the Patriots win this game, 31-24. Tom Brady will have another outstanding game, and people will hate him, because he’s going to win his sixth Super Bowl.
Matt Yurus, Digital Anchor, CBS 11 Dallas
Matt Yurus, CBS 11, Dallas
As long as Bill Belichick and Tom Brady are paired together, I’m picking the New England Patriots, no matter the game, no matter the opponent, because of the Patriot way. They make you beat them -- somewhat ironically in an era of “me first” football -- by following sports clichés: “…one game at a time,” “…focus on the fundamentals,” “…play until the final snap,” “…no mental mistakes,” etc. And by no means is this meant to suggest, that the Patriots are not capable of lining up and taking their opponent to the woodshed. Brady is the GOAT. (Is it really still a debate?) And when it comes to tight ends, Rob Gronkowski is a matchup nightmare. Not to mention, Belichick’s defense’s uncanny ability to limit the other guy’s top threat. In this case, that means slowing the Nick Foles-led run-pass-option attack. It has been the staple of the Eagles’ offense in the playoffs. And when it is time for Foles and company to go down field, I do not expect the Patriots’ defensive backs to get caught staring in the backfield on double moves, as the Vikings did. Having said all that, this is going to be a game. The Eagles are a worthy opponent.