Chris Berman took his Swami Sez NFL picks segment, seen on SportsCenter, to ESPN Chalk every week last season. He's back for the Super Bowl to give his pick for the big game, with some added analysis.
It's my 36th Super Bowl and I think we're in for another good one. Last year's postseason was dominated by the favorites. This year? It's all underdogs, as they've gone 9-1 against the Vegas number.
Philadelphia has been undervalued by oddsmakers and will be an underdog in the Super Bowl as well. I make this game Patriots -4, so the market has kind of caught up to what Philadelphia is -- and that is a more complete team than just Carson Wentz at QB. I used to believe in trends more in the past when players didn't change teams as much, but it has to be said that the Patriots have won their Super Bowls with Tom Brady and Bill Belichick by three, three, three, four and six points -- and they lost the other two by a combined seven points. I think this will be another close game.
You know it's a given that Brady will play great -- it's what he does. I don't think Brady's hand will be an issue in this game. Seemed like he was pleasantly surprised with how well he threw it against Jacksonville in the AFC Championship Game. I'd also be surprised if Jim Schwartz doesn't dial up some pressure to get to him early.
Philadelphia is coming in with a lot of confidence, but I go back to Super Bowl 50 between Denver and Carolina. I was watching the pregame warm-ups from the stands, and Cam Newton and his teammates were out so early. They were fired up, getting the fans excited ... and it was 2½ hours before the game. I said "uh-oh." Meanwhile, Peyton Manning was just going through his typical routine and through his progression like any other game. I'm not saying it's bad that it's Philly's first time there, but New England has been through the travel, media requests, extended halftime and everything else we don't think about surrounding the Super Bowl.
Regardless of the outcome, we should marvel at what the Patriots have done, nearly 20 years in the making. It's unbelievable. I think we're going to look back and ask if it was real.
Last year, I had New England 27-21 over Atlanta. We got there, even if it just took a while. I don't think I can top that for the Swami's last official pick.
Believe me, I've had many of Jules Verne "Bottom of the Sea" marks. But in the Super Bowl 13 years ago, it was one of the Swami's high-water marks, as I had the score exact -- New England 24, Philadelphia 21. Only the QB and coach are the same for the Patriots ... hmm.
I know I just was saying earlier why history matters less now, but this is the Swami. Why wouldn't I pick the same thing? New England by three, 24-21.
Score: New England 24, Philadelphia 21