The Philadelphia Eagles have the all-round game to overcome the great Tom Brady and his New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII, according to Dallas Cowboys icon Emmitt Smith.
Brady is set for his eighth Super Bowl in Minneapolis on Sunday, chasing his sixth title, while the Eagles are yet to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy and were beaten by Brady's Patriots in their last appearance 13 years ago.
Shorn of injured starting quarterback Carson Wentz, the Eagles were classed as underdogs despite entering the playoffs as the NFC's number one seed. However, back-up QB Nick Foles guided them to a 15-10 win over the Atlanta Falcons before producing the performance of his career in the 38-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings in the Championship game.
The Eagles are regarded as marginal second-favourites to prevail at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday but legendary former running back Smith, a three-time Super Bowl champion across a four-year span with the Cowboys in the 1990s, believes those predictions could prove misguided.
"I think the Eagles have a very good chance of winning this game," he told Perform. "I believe in defence and I think the Eagles defence is built tough, inside, out, the defensive front four is pretty stout.
"They're strong, they're physical, they can run, they put a lot of pressure on the quarterback without doing a whole lot of blitzing, they have cornerbacks and safetys that can cover.
"Then when I look at their offense, I see their offense is built the same way with the offensive line being built tough. They run the ball pretty effectively, they throw the ball effectively, they move the ball around and they have three good running backs too. So I think they're built for these moments."
If the Eagles are to succeed they will have to outwit the extensive experience of Brady, who can bring the Patriots level with the Pittsburgh Steelers' record of six Super Bowl victories this weekend.
"Not only has he put in 16 years but he's put in 16 productive years, consistent years," Smith added. "He's been to eight Super Bowls in 16 years and won five of them.
"That says consistency, it says hard work and dedication and commitment to his goals and his team goals and his organisational goals, but it also says a lot more. It says he has the ability to have humility and perseverance enough to know that he's trying to leave a legacy and that's what he's working towards.
"We used to have the saying, enjoy this victory for 24 hours then let's put it behind us and get ready for the next opponent. It's the same way this team is and it's the way Tom Brady is built. Trust me, they celebrate, they enjoy those moments and then they get right back to work and focus on the next task at hand."