Injuries don't bode well for the Giants as they try to rebound from a 98-loss season
Bumgarner's fractured hand, Smardzija's strained pectoral muscle, and Posey's troublesome ankle
There are a lot of good players in the Super Bowl, but only one will be voted the Most Valuable Player. In an era where we can bet on everything from how long it will take to sing the National Anthem to what colored shirt Bill Belichick will wear, I suspect some of you might have an interest in knowing who the Super Bowl LII MVP will be.
Quarterbacks win most MVP awards, but it’s not a lock. In fact, non-quarterbacks took the title 23 times. That is only five times less than quarterbacks.
That gives hope to Dion Lewis and Jay Ajayi. I’m sure Alshon Jeffery and Brandin Cooks are thinking about it. Fletcher Cox and Malcolm Butler know eight defensive players have been MVP. Desmond Howard even won in 1997 as a kick and punt returner.
Anyone on the field can be the MVP, but this year, it’s going to be a quarterback. It’s inevitable when you have a playoff-experienced veteran with a 75% playoff completion percentage and .670 winning percentage. It will be all Tom Brady can do to keep up with the offensive juggernaut coming out of Philadelphia this weekend.
That’s right. Nick Foles will be the MVP for the 2018 NFL Champion Eagles. Forget about statistics and rings and even about the emotions of Matt Patricia’s and Josh McDaniels’ last games on the Patriot sidelines. All the signs that count point toward an Eagles upset led by a backup quarterback.
Here are three arguments to make my case:
1. Which 2017 Nick Foles performance should we expect?
With an extra week off before the Super Bowl, the NFL took the momentum factor out of the predictions equation. Even 18 wins in a row wouldn’t matter. Just ask the Patriots.
But we shouldn’t downplay the NFC Championship performance of Nick Foles versus Minnesota. It’s not just that he threw for 352 yards and three touchdowns; it’s how he did it.
Foles regular season play didn’t inspire Philadelphians to invest in Super Bowl tickets. Sure, he had a nice-looking game against the Giants, but what quarterback didn’t? He struggled mightily against Oakland and Dallas.
Philadelphia’s offense relied heavily on Carson Wentz making things happen with his legs. Nick Foles racked up a whopping 3 yards on 11 carries. His legs were not happening.
Offensive coordinator, Frank Reich, tweaked the game plan. He limited formations and allowed Foles to do what he does best- read defenses. Run-Pass Options made Foles a Pro Bowl quarterback in 2013. With the Eagles’ cast of running backs, RPOs will be an effective weapon for Foles this Sunday.
2. Foles is miscast as a backup quarterback
Nick Foles took over for an injured Michael Vick in Week 7 of the 2013 season. At the time, the Eagles owned a 2-4 record. They went 8-2 the rest of the way to win the NFC East. Foles boasted a 119.2 quarterback rating with 27 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions.
Foles’ didn't come close to those numbers in 2014, but he still had the Eagles in first place with a 6-2 record before going down with an injury in Week 9.
Chip Kelly famously purged the Eagles’ roster after the season, dumping most of his stars for players who supposedly fit his system better. Foles was shipped to Jeff Fisher’s Rams.
Foles struggled with the Rams. His offensive coordinator was fired mid-season and Fisher’s juggling of passers didn’t allow any of them to get comfortable. The Rams committed to Carson Wentz and Case Keenum for 2015.
His confidence shaken, Foles considered retirement before accepting the role of Alex Smith’s backup in Kansas City. He completed 36 of 55 passes (65%) and threw 3 touchdowns without an interception for Andy Reid. It was a confidence-building effort, but Reed let him go after the season. Then, Philadelphia came calling.
Since stepping in for Vick in 2013, Foles owns a 62% completion rate with 48 touchdowns and 14 interceptions in non-Jeff Fisher-coached games. His record as a starter is 17-5. Those numbers tell us the Nick Foles we saw beat Minnesota is more likely to show up against the Patriots than the Nick Foles who struggled against Oakland.
3. Blame the New York Giants
2017 is a cursed season for the Giants. Fans knew something was awry the second coach Ben McAdoo showed up with his new slicked-back haircut.
Sure enough, the Giants imploded. Entering the season as playoff-favorites after a surprise appearance the year before, New York never got their act together. Injuries, suspensions, an apparent player revolt, the benching of fan favorite players, 13 losses, and a rare mid-season head coach change left Giants fans in disbelief.
To add insult to injury, former coach Tom Coughlin’s brought the Jacksonville Jaguars to the AFC Championship round, where they got conservative a little too early against the Patriots. But that wasn’t the worst thing that happened.
The Philadelphia Eagles made the Super Bowl! The Giants’ hated rivals were where most Giants’ fans thought their team would be. Then, the Eagles’ appeared in multiple television and radio interviews saying they will beat New England using the “Giants Formula”?
Next came multiple articles comparing Nick Foles to Jeff Hostetler, the Giants backup quarterback who led the Giants to a Super Bowl victory weeks after Phil Simms broke his foot. What better way to cap the most miserable season in New York Giants history than by letting their most bitter rival win it all with a backup quarterback?
It’s a lock
Go for the under on the National Anthem, Bill Belichick will wear a blue shirt, the first score will be a New England field goal, and Nick Foles will be the MVP.
Philadelphia’s runners will be held in check, making Foles and his three touchdown passes the obvious choice. The Eagles win 21-17, which they will quickly remind Giants fans was the score of their last Super Bowl victory, too. You can bet on it.