With Super Bowl LII almost upon us, much has been made of the quarterbacking battle between Nick Foles and Tom Brady. Foles, a backup who has played admirably, is taking on arguably the best quarterback to ever play in one of the most intriguing positional matchups in recent Super Bowl memory. In the lead up to the game, many have speculated that Foles is the key to victory for the Eagles. The thinking is that if he plays well, the Eagles may have just enough to topple the Patriots. Here’s the thing though, while Foles is undoubtedly important, the real key to victory lies in the Eagles running game.
Between LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi, the Eagles have a pair of hard-nosed power backs with the ability to impose their will on opposing defenses. Given the Patriots struggles on defense this season, having the type of runners that can wear down defenders is invaluable to Philadelphia. By really focusing on running the ball, the Eagles will have the opportunity to make the Patriots vulnerable to play-action, an area in which Foles has thrived throughout his career.
One thing the Eagles have going for them is the similarity between Ajayi and Blount’s styles. Both rely on power more than speed and while both have distinctive skills, that ability to keep the defense guessing is incredibly important, especially given defensive coordinator Matt Patricia’s ability to adapt his scheme to take out the strengths of opposing players.
All in all, while Foles and the passing game will almost certainly play a role in a possible Eagles victory, the team must establish the running game if they hope to take home the Lombardi Trophy. New England is viewed as the overwhelming favorites to win, but if Blount, Ajayi and the Eagles ground game can wear down an already soft Patriots defense, that could be the difference in what should be a very close game.