How close do we expect this second Patriots-Eagles Super Bowl to be? Try a 5-4 edge to the Eagles in the nine position matchup breakdowns below. However, the most important one — quarterback — is lopsided toward Tom Brady and the 4 ½-point favorite Patriots. On paper, Sunday's game at U.S. Bank Stadium should be strength against strength as the New England offense and Philadelphia defense put forth the best talent on their respective sides of the football.

Tom Brady vs. Nick Foles

There's simply no contest at quarterback between perhaps the greatest of all time in Tom Brady, a five-time Super Bowl champion, and Nick Foles, who started the year as Carson Wentz's backup. The Eagles quarterback is coming off his best start in place of Wentz, who was having an MVP-caliber season until he injured his left knee Dec. 10. Foles completed 26 of 33 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns while destroying a vaunted Vikings defense in the NFC title game. Most important for Philadelphia: Foles did not turn the ball over in two playoff wins. But against Brady? There is no question who gets the edge. Edge: Patriots

Running backs
Dion Lewis vs. Jay Ajayi

This really feels like a push. The Patriots' committee backfield has outgained the Eagles' committee of running backs 2,626 to 2,036 yards from scrimmage this season. But we're going to award the edge to Philadelphia's leading trio of Jay Ajayi, LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement, who is averaging 6.7 yards per touch since the Eagles' Week 10 bye. Ajayi has taken the Eagles' lead role, overcoming a fumble in the NFC divisional round to amass 99 yards on the Vikings. Don't overlook Blount, the ex-Patriots back who ranked third in the NFL averaging 3.56 yards after contact, per Pro Football Focus. Edge: Eagles

Brandin Cooks vs. Alshon Jeffery

To paraphrase Gisele Bundchen, the Brazilian mogul and Brady's wife: He can't throw the ball and catch it, too. Well, these Patriots receivers are catching nearly everything despite the loss of Brady's No. 1 target, Julian Edelman, before Week 1. Brandin Cooks, Danny Amendola and Chris Hogan all produce a passer rating above 100 when thrown at this season, per PFF, while dropping a combined 14 passes on 259 targets. Cooks' ability as a deep threat — catching 44.4 percent of throws over 20 yards — dwarfs Eagles receiver Alshon Jeffery's 13 percent conversion rate on the long ball this season. Edge: Patriots

Tight ends
Rob Gronkowski vs. Zach Ertz

He's cleared to play, which means the Patriots' Rob Gronkowski will be the best player on the field this side of Tom Brady. Gronkowski's 86 TD receptions are the most in the NFL since he was drafted in 2010, all while missing a third of the Patriots' 18 playoff games in that span. His Kryptonite has been injury, with a concussion recently knocking him out of the AFC title game. You can't short-sell Eagles tight end Zach Ertz, Philadelphia's leading receiver who ranked third among tight ends with 46 first downs, behind Gronk and Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. Edge: Patriots

Offensive linemen
LT Nate Solder vs. RT Lane Johnson

An Eagles offensive line stripped of Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters still boasts two of the league's top 10 pass protectors at their positions: right tackle Lane Johnson and right guard Brandon Brooks. Overall, the Eagles offensive line is eighth in pass-blocking efficiency, according to PFF, compared with the Patriots' 23rd ranking in the same metric. Philadelphia's offensive line also has the edge in short-yardage situations, converting 67 percent of run plays in those spots compared with the Patriots' 64 percent conversion, according to Pro Football Reference.Edge: Eagles

Defensive linemen
DE Trey Flowers vs. DT Fletcher Cox

This is where the Eagles have the biggest edge over the Patriots. A seven-man defensive line rotation makes for fresh legs late in games, when end Brandon Graham (9.5 sacks) and tackle Fletcher Cox (54 pressures) have dominated in pass-rushing situations. Philadelphia pressured quarterbacks more than any other NFL defense (287 sacks/hits/hurries) this season, doing so primarily with a four-man rush. Patriots defensive end Trey Flowers has grown into New England's top threat, notching four of the Patriots' eight hits on Blake Bortles in the AFC title game. Edge: Eagles

OLB Kyle Van Noy vs. OLB Nigel Bradham

Eagles linebackers shouldn't be overlooked when assessing the NFL's No. 1 run defense in Philadelphia, which gave up only 79.2 rushing yards per game this season. Primary linebackers Nigel Bradham and Mychal Kendricks were the 1-2 punch leading the Eagles in tackles this season, including nine for a loss. They're also stout in coverage, combining for 14 pass deflections in Philly's often-used nickel package. The Patriots defense is best in the red zone, where outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy had one tackle for a loss in the AFC title game. Van Noy gets after the passer, too, ranking second for New England with 5.5 sacks. Edge: Eagles

Defensive backs
S Devin McCourty vs. S Malcolm Jenkins

How can you argue against a Patriots secondary featuring a former second-team All-Pro safety Devin McCourty, the sure-tackling Patrick Chung and cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Stephon Gilmore? With an Eagles secondary that flat outplayed them this season. Safeties Malcolm Jenkins and Rodney McLeod back up opportunistic corners in Patrick Robinson (18 pass deflections), Jalen Mills (14 deflections) and Ronald Darby (three picks). Only two NFL safeties blitzed more than Jenkins, one of the league's most disruptive with eight deflections, two picks, a sack, a forced fumble and a blocked kick this season. Edge: Eagles

K Stephen Gostkowski vs. K Jake Elliott

The kicking experience of the Patriots' Stephen Gostkowski is enough to sway the specialists in New England's favor. Gostkowski, with 24 playoff games (107 makes on 113 kicks), dwarfs the 23-year-old rookie Jake Elliott, who was plucked off the Bengals practice squad in September when Eagles starter Caleb Sturgis went down. Elliott has made nine of 10 kicks in two playoff games, missing an extra point while hitting from 53 yards vs. the Falcons. But Gostkowski hit from 62 yards in November and has missed only one kick in his four Super Bowl appearances: an extra-point attempt against the Falcons last year.Edge: Patriots