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window washer
Window washer Dominic Ruiz cleans the windows at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida, on Monday, January 31.
(Photo: AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)

Super Bowl Preview
Bob Herzog

Monday, February 7—For once, the Super Bowl really has come down to the two best teams in the National Football League. From preseason predictions to postseason analysis, the experts have agreed all season: The Philadelphia Eagles are the class of the NFC and the New England Patriots are the best in the AFC.

When the opening kickoff occurs at approximately 6:30 p.m. (ET) Sunday night in Jacksonville, Florida, the Patriots (14-2 in the regular season) will try to become the first team since the Dallas Cowboys of the 1990s to win three Super Bowl championships in four years.

The Eagles (13-3) haven't been to the Super Bowl since 1980. They reached the NFC championship game for the past four seasons, finally winning this year after three straight defeats, much to the delight of the tortured Philly Phanatics.

Team Matchups

As always in the NFL's ultimate game, the quarterbacks will be in the spotlight. New England's reliably accurate Tom Brady was awarded the MVP trophy in the Patriots' two Super Bowl triumphs, and if he does it again, his name will have to be mentioned alongside Joe Montana's as the greatest big-game quarterback in history.

The Eagles' Donovan McNabb, only the third black quarterback ever to play in the Super Bowl (Washington's Doug Williams and Tennessee's Steve McNair are the others), is one of the league's most versatile quarterbacks. He has a very strong arm and is also one of the best runners at the position, able to avoid sacks with his quickness and daring.

Both teams also have top-notch, opportunistic defenses. The Patriots are led by their stellar linebackers, including Pro Bowl selections Tedy Bruschi, Mike Vrabel, and Willie McGinest. The Eagles' defense is led by their secondary, which features Pro Bowl selections Lito Sheppard, Michael Lewis, and Brian Dawkins.

Injured All-Pro players are also a story line. Outspoken Philadelphia wide-receiver Terrell Owens insists he will play, less than two months after surgery for a broken leg and injured ankle. New England defensive end Richard Seymour, who missed the playoffs with strained knee ligaments, hopes to contribute in a limited role.

If New England wins, they may rank among the greatest dynasties ever. If the Eagles win, Philadelphia fans will celebrate their team's first football championship—ever.


RELATED WEB SITES

The Official NFL Site for Kids
Visit this Web site from the NFL—just for kids. Learn more about your favorite teams, check out football facts, play games, and more!

Philadelphia Eagles Kids
Want to know more about the Philadelphia Eagles? Check out their fun Web site. You'll find news, the team's schedule, and more.

New England Patriots
Visit this New England Patriots Web site to get information on the team stats, the individual players, and the fans.