Strategic indicators will tell tale

Originally Published: February 4, 2005
Scouts Inc.

With coaches Bill Belichick and Andy Reid pulling the strings and pushing the buttons in Super Bowl XXXIX, any conversation about who will win the New England Patriots-Philadelphia Eagles matchup seems to be dominated by terms such as "overload blitz," "cover-2" and "spread formation."

After a week of breaking down film, talking to coaches and analyzing tendencies, our scouts look deeper into those schemes and offer up several key strategic points that could determine the outcome.

When New England has the ball

Can the Patriots counter Philadelphia's overload blitz?
Tom Brady
When New England quarterback Tom Brady has struggled – and it's not often – it's when the blitz has come in his face from his right side. It so happens that's where the Eagles love to use their overload. In the Patriots' two losses, to Miami and Pittsburgh, Brady had six interceptions and six sacks. The Eagles know if they don't get hits on Brady and get in his face, he'll pick them apart.

For that reason, look for Philadelphia to lean on its overload blitz, bringing pressure with some combination of a linebacker, safety and corner from the defensive left side. The linebacker on the right side will drop quickly into the hot zone on Brady's backside to take away the quick throw away from the pressure.