EAGLE RUN OFFENSE
VS. PATRIOT RUN DEFENSE
* Brian Westbrook has emerged as one of the NFL's top multi-purpose running backs, gaining 5.9 yards a carry with a team-high 10 receptions in the playoffs. The Eagles will need to pass to set up their running game against the Patriots, who have dominated opposing ground attacks the last two postseasons. A key matchup will be quarterback Donovan McNabb's scrambling against the open-field tackling of New England linebacker Tedy Bruschi. The Patriots will get a boost by the return of lineman Richard Seymour.
EAGLE PASS OFFENSE
VS. PATRIOT PASS DEFENSE
* Even if receiver Terrell Owens proves healthy enough to be a factor, the Eagles will go only as far as McNabb can take them with his pre-snap reads of the Patriots' complex coverages. McNabb can't afford to hold the ball too long or force ill-advised passes. Even with a patched-up secondary that features receiver Troy Brown as a nickel back, New England's pass defense is a strength because it rarely makes a coverage mistake. A key matchup will be tight end L.J. Smith against Patriot safety Rodney Harrison. Edge: Eagles.
EAGLE RUN DEFENSE
VS. PATRIOT RUN OFFENSE
* Since Jeremiah Trotter took over at middle linebacker, the Eagles have been much improved against the run. But they will face a difficult challenge with New England running back Corey Dillon, whose combination of power and speed is tough to stop. Look for the Patriots to run at defensive end Jevon Kearse, who is more of a pass-rushing specialist. A key matchup will be the Eagles' middle down linemen, led by Corey Simon and Darwin Walker, against center Dan Koppen and guards Joe Andruzzi and Steve Neal.
EAGLE PASS DEFENSE
VS. PATRIOT PASS OFFENSE
* With hard-hitting safeties Brian Dawkins and Michael Lewis buzzing around the secondary, the Eagles do not give up many completions across the middle without making opponents pay a price. That helps make the job easier for cornerbacks Sheldon Brown and Lito Sheppard, who will have to be physical against New England quarterback Tom Brady and his assortment of receivers. A key matchup will be Patriot wideout Deion Branch against Sheppard, who has to make sure he does not get beat deep on play-action passes.
* With kicker Adam Vinatieri, the Patriots are known for being very efficient on special teams, especially in the playoffs. Vinatieri is used to producing under pressure and he has a strong leg, but so does his Philadelphia counterpart, David Akers, who made 17 kicks of 40 or more yards during the regular season. New England's Josh Miller holds a slight advantage over fellow punter Dirk Johnson, who does a good job of putting kicks inside the 20-yard line. The Eagles' J.R. Reed has emerged as a solid kick returner and New England's coverage units have shown some cracks. Edge: Eagles.
* With Brady at quarterback, the Patriots are undefeated in the playoffs and he's a two-time Super Bowl MVP. Not making mistakes has been the key to his postseason success. Conversely, this is the first season McNabb has been able to lead his team to victory in a big game -- the Eagles' win over Atlanta for the NFC championship. McNabb is hungry, ready to show his talents on the Super Bowl stage and lead the Eagles to an upset.
* Andy Reid has done an outstanding job getting the Eagles into the right frame of mind to reach the Super Bowl. Philadelphia offensive coordinator Brad Childress' game plans have been sound in the playoffs, and defensive coordinator Jim Johnson has nearly been perfect with his schemes. They will be going up against football's hottest coach, Bill Belichick, who has led the Patriots to victories in two of the last three Super Bowls. Defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and Belichick put together plans to effectively shut down the high-scoring offenses from Indianapolis and Pittsburgh in the playoffs. New England offensive coordinator Charlie Weis is one of the game's best.
* Lonnie White's pick: Eagles, 31-27.