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Patriots Eagles Super Bowl is no lock in NFL just yet

Danny Picard is a columnist for Metro Boston
Patriots, Eagles, Super Bowl, NFL
Tom Brady and the Patriots are the favorites in the AFC to return to the Super Bowl. Getty Images

Don’t make any reservations for a New England vs Philadelphia Super Bowl just yet.


I completely understand the mindset though, for both sides.


The Patriots are 8-2 and have won six straight after whooping the Oakland Raiders 33-8 in Mexico on Sunday. The Eagles are 9-1 and have won eight straight after crushing the Cowboys 37-9 in Dallas on Sunday night.


In a league that’s never been more unpredictable than it is this season, the only sure thing every weekend is the Patriots and Eagles holding up their end of the bargain.


Their dominance this season is a perfect example of what you must have in order to be successful in the NFL: a quarterback. Through Sunday, Carson Wentz has thrown the most touchdown passes in the NFL this year with 25, and Tom Brady has thrown the second-most touchdown passes with 22.


If you had to choose one over the other right now, I’m not sure how anyone could take Wentz over Brady, but that doesn’t mean we should disregard what the Eagles’ second-year QB is doing right now.


At the same time, that promising future Wentz is providing in Philly shouldn’t make you believe the Eagles are ready to slay the beast that is the Patriots.


There’s only one way to find out, of course. And that would have to be at Super Bowl LII in Minnesota.


But we’re a long ways away from February. So I’m here to pump the brakes for everyone who’s fast-forwarding to a Patriots vs Eagles Super Bowl, after Week 11.


As dominant as both teams have looked thus far, each have a few roadblocks in their path the rest of the way.


The Patriots are currently the No. 2 seed in the AFC, behind the No. 1 seed Pittsburgh Steelers, who are also 8-2. The Steelers hold the “conference record” tiebreaker over the Patriots. But, in Week 15, the two teams will do battle in Pittsburgh, with the winner of that game most likely clinching the top spot in the conference.


Also, for the Patriots, five of their final six games are against AFC East teams. Granted, the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New York Jets are all currently out of the playoff picture, they’re all also mathematically alive, and you can’t expect all five of those games to be a walk in the park.


The Eagles are currently the No. 1 seed in the NFC, but the No. 2 seed Minnesota Vikings and No. 3 seed New Orleans Saints are both just one game behind them.


Also, for the Eagles, the rest of their schedule features games in Seattle in Week 13, in Los Angeles against the Rams in Week 14, and a rematch with the Cowboys in Week 17 that will see Ezekiel Elliott back from his suspension.


My ultimate point is, it’s still too early to crown a conference champ. But make no mistake about it, the road to the Super Bowl will be much tougher in the NFC because, unlike the AFC with New England and Pittsburgh, the NFC looks to be more than just a two-horse race.


I realize I haven’t acknowledged the 7-3 Jacksonville Jaguars, who have won four straight and are the No. 3 seed in the AFC with the best defense in football. But they have some more work to do to earn everyone’s respect.


After all, we’re talking about Super Bowl contenders here. And most of that talk, through Week 11, has begun and ended with the dominant Patriots and Eagles destined to collide on Feb. 4.


It very well could happen. I’m just here to tell you that, in this league, this year, nothing is a lock.


And the road to Minnesota, for both New England and Philadelphia, won’t be as easy as you think.


Listen to “The Danny Picard Show” at dannypicard.com. Follow him on Twitter @DannyPicard.


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