Philadelphia and New England were the best teams in the league all season, and they have backed it up with strong playoff runs.

When the Eagles meet the Patriots in Super Bowl 52 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, it will mark the fourth time in five years that the top seeds in the NFC and AFC have battled for the NFL championship.

The Eagles and Patriots match up well with each other, offensively and defensively.

A good 13 years since the franchises met in Super Bowl 39, who will take the rematch in Super Bowl 52? Here’s an early prediction.

The Patriots are vulnerable in linebacker coverage but have the cornerbacks and safeties to contain big plays. The Eagles’ defensive weaknesses lie on the edges of their back seven.

The Eagles will make more plays in the slot with Nelshon Agholor working on former Eagle Eric Rowe, and the Patriots will see Danny Amendola cool off against Patrick Robinson. Overall, not much will separate the offense explosiveness. And with weather not being a factor, the game likely will come down to the final possession.

In the end of a close, somewhat high-scoring game, it’s easier to trust the steady Brady over the streaky Foles.

“I’m convinced he’s not 40 years old,” Theismann told USA Today. “I think his birth certificate was sealed hermetically a long time ago, and he’s a genetic freak is what he is.

“When your arm starts to wane, you don’t make those (precision) throws anymore. And in Tom’s case, I haven’t seen any dropoff.”

Theismann isn’t the only one to give credit to Brady’s throwing arm. Ron Jaworski, who was a quarterback in the NFL for 17 years, echoed similar thoughts.

“The ball comes out with a great deal of velocity. His mobility may even be better at 40 than it was 30. It’s amazing. I marvel at the guy. At (38), I was at the end of line and I was hanging on,” Jaworski said.bills_033

Some who condemned Jackson have finally admitted it was too much.

In 2014, former FCC chairman Michael Powell told ESPN the Magazine that the committee had acted “unfairly” toward the singer. “It all turned into being about her,” Powell said. “In reality, if you slow the thing down, it’s Justin ripping off her breastplate.”

As for Timberlake, he recently said that he “stumbled through” his handling of the situation. Jackson family insiders reveal he had to ask a few times before Jackson finally agreed to quietly meet up with him a few years ago in Los Angeles. After talking for a while, the two patched up their differences and sealed their friendship with a kiss and a long embrace.

That said, however, the Jackson insider explained that, “Publicly, Janet will tell everyone she’s forgiven Justin, but privately, she’s reluctant to trust him. He’s reached out to her about doing some things together but I don’t think she’s ready for that. Is she still angry? No. She doesn’t wish him any ill will. Does she still think about it? Not all of the time, but certainly since he’s doing the halftime show again, it’s definitely been a dinner table topic.”

Just looking at those numbers alone, I can justify a big payday for Donald. He has a long resume of providing disruptive production, and his consistency warrants the kind of contract that puts him on the top of the hill for defenders. Considering the current high-water marks for pass rushers (Miller’s deal for $114.5 million over six years, with $70 million in guarantees) and defensive tackles (Ndamukong Suh’s deal for $114.3 million over six years, with $60 million in guarantees), Donald should be the league’s first $20 million defender, based on his work as a disruptive playmaker at the point of attack.

The only time New England won the Super Bowl and Brady wasn’t named the game’s most valuable player was the 24-21 Super Bowl 39 win over Philadelphia. That year’s winner, wide receiver Deion Branch, had 11 catches for 133 yards thanks in big part to Brady. When New England lost the Super Bowl twice with Brady to the Giants, his counterpart Eli Manning winning game MVP both times.

The Eagles have given up some big games to athletic tight ends this season, including Travis Kelce, Jordan Reed and Evan Engram. With two weeks to recover from his concussion, Gronk should be full go for the Patriots.

We want to see Gronk win just to see him smirk while getting the game MVP ball from Roger Goodell the morning after.

Lewis, a fifth-round draft pick of the Eagles in 2011, has the ultimate chance at a revenge game as New England’s unquestioned top running back. The Eagles got ripped by a pair of diminutive dashers in the NFC playoffs, first Tevin Coleman and then Jerick McKinnon.

Philadelphia stops the run well, but it has trouble with backs like Lewis who are elusive in the open field.bills_006

The last week of byes: The Panthers, Colts, Jets and 49ers are off.

“Their efforts, both on and off the field, help bring people together and make our community stronger,” he added. “There is no greater unifier in this country than sports and, unfortunately, nothing more divisive than politics.

“I think our political leaders could learn a lot from the lessons of teamwork and the importance of working together toward a common goal,” Kraft continued. “Our players are intelligent, thoughtful and care deeply about our community and I support their right to peacefully affect social change and raise awareness in a manner that they feel is most impactful.”

Patriots players have not protested during the anthem, and two of the team’s most prominent members — Coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady — also have had ties to the president.

Who’s on the NFL coaching hot seat? There are compelling cases to be made for and against Chuck Pagano, Hue Jackson, Ben McAdoo and Dirk Koetter.

Laughable, ridiculous: Jerry Jones has two words for those reports that he could be ousted as the Dallas Cowboys’ owner.

A Papa John’s apology: The pizza purveyor is sorry it blamed sagging sales on the NFL’s national anthem demonstrations.

The Falcons locked themselves into the No. 2 spot in the NFC with a 38-32 win over the New Orleans Saints, while the Seahawks (10-5-1) claimed the No. 3 position by fending off the San Francisco 49ers, who put up a surprising effort in a 25-23 loss at home.

In the night game, Aaron Rodgers continued his late-season tear, ripping the Lions for four touchdowns and 300 yards passing in Green Bay’s 31-24 victory. That secures the Packers the fourth seed in the playoffs; they will host the Giants in the first round. Detroit, meanwhile, will now head to Seattle to start the postseason.

They say success has many fathers but failure is an orphan. Against that backdrop, it’s easy to forget just how much of a gamble the risky Romo hire was for CBS Sports boss Sean McManus.jaguars_084

The toughest part of the Eagles’ schedule is still to come.

That is undeniable, and it begins with Thursday night’s game at Carolina. But win or lose against the Panthers, the Eagles have shown enough to prove they should have staying power. Carson Wentz is legitimate, making the Eagles a factor in the division chase all season.

The Broncos return from the bye with a favorable matchup Sunday night against the Giants, who are winless and basically out of wide receivers. If they can beat the Giants and then the one-win Chargers, the Broncos would take a 5-1 record into an Oct. 30 showdown with the Chiefs in Kansas City on “Monday Night Football.”

QB Cam Newton has completed 48 of 62 passes for 671 yards with six TDs and one interception in his past two games. His return from shoulder surgery was gradual but now he has emerged as an accurate pocket passer who clearly has changed his game, with a relatively modest 90 rushing yards this season.

Serigne was a leader for the Deacons. A fifth-year senior, he played an important starting role for four years and littered Wake Forest’s record books. He broke the school record for tight end receptions and touchdowns after just his first two seasons.

Serigne shows a good feel for space and how to get open. He’s a smooth, agile player who can weave in and out of zone coverages, as well as make some acrobatic catches in traffic. He’s not an overly physical player, but he is an athlete with an aggressive mindset. Serigne is not a hulking blocker, but he can quickly get to his mark, and he has the tenacity to get after defenders.

In the other late afternoon game, the Dallas Cowboys played safe enough in slick, rainy conditions to beat the Washington Redskins, 33-19, and reach 4-3. The Redskins drop to 3-4, losers of two straight in their division. Ezekiel Elliott rushed for two touchdowns and nearly had a third, if not for a holding penalty. Kirk Cousins threw for 263 yards and a touchdown, but also threw a pick-six late in the fourth quarter. More injuries piled up for Washington, as well, which was already dealing with plenty of ailing bodies.jaguars_044

Offensive tackle Andrew Whitworth and guard Kevin Zeitler exited via free agency Thursday.

Some NFL owners believe there is a strong possibility they will enact an offseason change to the league’s national anthem policy if players’ protests during the anthem persist through the end of this season, reverting to a previous approach of keeping players in the locker room while the anthem is played, according to several people familiar with the league’s inner workings.

“I think that if players are still kneeling at the end of the year, then it could very well happen,” said one person familiar with the owners’ deliberations on anthem-related issues.

Bengals: Coach Marvin Lewis usually has been able to make things work and get the Bengals into the playoffs. But that didn’t happen this past season. And the task just got tougher for Lewis and quarterback Andy Dalton.

Adrian Peterson, Tony Romo, Jay Cutler, Colin Kaepernick: Yes, it’s early. But no one seems to be in any rush to sign Peterson, Cutler or Kaepernick. And the Cowboys aren’t putting Romo’s decision about his next NFL team completely in his hands, at least not yet. They did not release him Thursday, as had been widely expected, amid renewed speculation that a trade to the Texans or Broncos might be possible.

Matt Forte, RB, Jets: Just when it looked like Forte was turning back the clock and beginning to ascend to the top of the depth chart in New York, he suffered a setback, missing back-to-back days at practice with a knee injury. He was going to be part of the Fringe Starters list, but now his status for this weekend’s matchup is up in the air. If Forte is unable to go, Bilal Powell owners should get him in the lineup.

T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts: Hilton is nursing a groin injury and Friday he was listed as questionable for Week 10. He’s been a limited participant in practice this week so Hilton owners should keep an eye on the situation leading up to game-time. It’s not a terrific matchup and if Hilton is a step slower, he could be in for a quiet day.jaguars_019

He’ll work with a former Patriots executive in Lions General Manager Bob Quinn.

What is the Senior Bowl? It’s an invite-only showcase event for the best seniors in college football, though some underclassmen who have procured their degrees — like Allen — are invited to participate as well. The prospects are split into two teams and coached by NFL coaching staffs.

Which NFL teams are coaching? The Denver Broncos staff will coach the North team, and the Houston Texans staff will coach the South.

Patricia is set to land in Detroit as the Lions’ head coach. And he’ll have a franchise quarterback in place in Matthew Stafford. There is no major rebuilding project required, with the Lions coming off a 9-7 season that nevertheless cost Jim Caldwell his coaching job.

“We are talking about a man who helped to orchestrate a commercial planeful of food and supplies for famine-stricken Somalia. A man who has invested his time and money into needy communities here at home. A man I am proud to call my brother, who should be celebrated for his courage to seek change on important issues. Instead, to this day, he is unemployed and portrayed as a radical un-American who wants to divide our country.

Anybody who has a basic knowledge of football knows that his unemployment has nothing to do with his performance on the field. It’s a shame that the league has turned its back on a man who has done only good. I am aware that my involvement in this movement means that my career may face the same outcome as Colin’s. But to quote the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “A time comes when silence is betrayal.” And I choose not to betray those who are being oppressed.”

Kaepernick created, among his peers, a way of thinking that took on a life of its own and infiltrated even a staunchly conservative league. The majority of NFL owners responded to Trump’s comments about player protests, which started with Kaepernick, by criticizing Trump. Many of them demonstrated alongside players.jaguars_004