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Super Bowl XLVIII: Predicting next year's winner

Super Bowl XLVII is in the books, and the Baltimore Ravens now rule the football world until we kick off the 2013 season in Maryland come September. Leading up to that game will be months of speculation, prognostication, and pontification as experts and weekend warriors alike try to look into the future and divine who will be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl XLVIII. Little do they know, however, the answer may be apparent by the time the 2013 NFL Draft rolls around.

Over the past four years, a new trend has emerged in the NFL for picking the Super Bowl champion. Since 2009, whichever team has played the Philadelphia Eagles in their home opener at Lincoln Financial Field has gone on to win the Super Bowl. Here's the breakdown:

2009 New Orleans Saints - Before the Saints claimed their first Super Bowl title by defeating Peyton Manning, they shellacked the Philadelphia Eagles in Week 2 to the tune of 48-22. Drew Brees and company would go on to win their first 13 games of the season and secure the number one seed in the NFC.

2010 Green Bay Packers - The Packers opened up the season with a victory on the road in Philadelphia, a place they hadn't won since 1962. After suffering numerous key injuries throughout the season, the Packers became the first sixth seed in the NFC to win the Super Bowl.

2011 New York Giants - Before Eli Manning and company went on to defeat Tom Brady for a second time in the Super Bowl, they took care of business in Week 3 against the Eagles in Philadelphia. Manning's four touchdown passes helped the Giants win 29-16.

2012 Baltimore Ravens - This season, the Ravens lost a close game on the road against Philadelphia in Week 2, but as we all now know they went on to defeat the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

So who will the NFL schedule favor for 2013? We'll have to wait until April to find out. But until then, fans of the Cowboys, Giants, Redskins, Bears, Lions, Chiefs, Chargers, and Panthers can hold out hope that their match against the Eagles is the first of the season in Philly.

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