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Super Bowl 2018 picks: Experts expect Patriots to repeat (most of them, anyway)

A majority of our panel is siding with the defending champions, but the Eagles have a couple of believers.

NFL: AFC Championship-Jacksonville Jaguars at New England Patriots David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Update: As of Sunday morning, it looks like both teams will be, mostly, healthy for the game. We gave them all ‘til Friday to change their picks, but everybody on the panel is sticking with theirs.

The New England Patriots are seemingly here every year and they have Tom Brady at the helm, so it’s not too surprising that most experts are picking them to beat the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 52.

The majority of the expert panel here at SB Nation is taking the defending champions, with only Harry Lyles Jr. and Ryan Van Bibber thinking upset.

Two weeks ago, Geoff Schwartz, Jeanna Thomas, and Joel Thorman all correctly picked the Patriots and Eagles to win at home in the conference championships. All three are picking the Patriots to repeat as champions.

But no one at SB Nation did better over the course of the entire season than Lyles. His 175-91 record was a full three games better than anybody else, so his pick of the Eagles comes with a little extra weight.

Philadelphia will start Nick Foles, who took over at quarterback when Carson Wentz suffered a season-ending knee injury in December. But the Eagles’ best chance is to lean on their stingy defense Sunday.

The Eagles held the Atlanta Falcons and Minnesota Vikings to a combined 17 points in the playoffs. They haven’t given up more than 10 points in their last four games.

To beat the Patriots, Philadelphia will need to follow a similar formula that the Jaguars almost used to success in the AFC Championship before blowing a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter. Like the Eagles, the Jaguars lean heavily on a powerful rushing attack and a top-rated defense.

Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette rushed for just 76 yards on 24 attempts against the Patriots. The Eagles will likely need more than that from the combination of LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi to take pressure off Foles.

Most of the experts think the Patriots will get the job done, though. Here’s the breakdown of our experts’ opinions on the last game of the year:

NFL picks, Super Bowl

Games Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Geoff Schwartz Harry Lyles Jr. Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Joel Thorman OddsShark Computer
Games Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Geoff Schwartz Harry Lyles Jr. Jeanna Thomas Adam Stites Joel Thorman OddsShark Computer

How the Eagles can win with backup Nick Foles