Philadelphia Sports Day

Moeller: Eagles’ D-Line Will Stop Brady To Win Super Bowl

The Eagles’ defensive line impressively shut down the arsenals of Atlanta’s Matt Ryan and Minnesota’s Case Keenum in succession.

However, fittingly, it comes down to the biggest challenge and the biggest prize of all – Tom Brady and the Super Bowl.

Sounds like a simple plan. Hit Brady as often as possible and sack him in multitude in the process.

However, few teams on the big stage have achieved the mark. The Giants rattled and sacked him five times in 2008 and twice in 2012 for their titles. Denver managed to get to him four times in a playoff loss in 2016.

Now, it is the Eagles’ turn on the recently named 40-year-old MVP, who still manages to move around like a 28-year-old in his prime.

Jacksonville kept Brady in check for three quarters in the AFC championship game, but they couldn’t close the door. It was another fourth-quarter comeback that was logged for the record books.

The Jaguars arguably had one of the best overall or the best defensive unit in football, but their inexperience in the spotlight showed as they allowed both the Steelers and Patriots back into games. They did manage to sack Brady three times, but allowed too many, short, underneath passes that eventually carved them up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

Brady was sacked 35 times during the regular season behind a line that hasn’t been one of the better units in recent years. The Eagles need to record at least three sacks to be within striking distance.

For what it’s worth, Brady has completed nearly 75 percent of his passes in Super Bowls without pressure.

The Eagles will have to rely on their versatility up front on their seven-man rotation. Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham will need to pressure Brady and hold the Patriots’ run game under 100 yards. The Pats ran for only 46 against Jacksonville, but had 101 yards against Tennessee.

Rookie defensive end Derek Barnett has looked like a seasoned veteran and veteran linemanChris Long needs to keep his emotional play at a high level.

If the line can penetrate and harass Brady, the linebackers and secondary will have an easier night, knowing that Rob Gronkowski likely will work to make an impact. The Eagles had 10 interceptions among their 15 takeaways this season.

The Eagles can’t allow Brady to play at an un-tempo pace, as it eliminates their ability to adapt effectively to schemes with their rotation. Just think back to what Eli Manning did to the Eagles late in the regular season with a heightened pace.

Keep the pressure on Brady. It sounds easy, but it will be a Herculean task, one that also will alleviate pressure on Nick Foles.

Stop Brady and win one of the biggest games in Philadelphia sports history. Hope it is a nice day for the parade.

 

 

 

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