When the CBSSports.com editors asked us last week for our Super Bowl predictions, I did not expect my pick to be such an unpopular one. The New England Patriots were arguably the NFL's best team during the regular season. They dominated their divisional round matchup with the Titans and staged an epic comeback to win the AFC title game against the Jaguars. They have the NFL's best player (Tom Brady) and best coach (Bill Belichick). They're favored in the game, but not by too much. The spread as of this writing is only 4.5 points, according to SportsLine. 

I was under the impression that the Patriots with the spread would be a popular pick. Instead, it's actually the least popular among the three possible pick combinations: Pete Prisco, Jason La Canfora, and Jamey Eisenberg all took the Pats to win, but they all took the Eagles to cover. Will Brinson, Ryan Wilson, and Dave Richard all predicted that the Eagles will win outright. Only John Breech and I have the Pats winning handily. 

So which side of the Super Bowl line do you need to be all over? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of Patriots-Eagles you need to jump on, plus what X-factor determines the outcome, all from a Vegas legend who's 9-3 on Eagles' games.

I came to that prediction through my research for our two Key Matchups posts, just as I have for the last three Super Bowls that I've covered here at CBS. 

For Super Bowl XLIX, I found myself gravitating toward what the Patriots needed to do to slow down the Seahawks' Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson-led running game, and what Tom Brady needed to do to attack the Legion of Boom. Through writing those posts, I came around to feeling the Seahawks had the edge in both areas, so I took Seattle to win and cover. I was wrong. 

For Super Bowl 50, I focused on whether the Broncos could get their run game going against the strong Carolina defensive front, and what the Panthers could do to keep the Broncos' pass rush at bay. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion within those posts that the Panthers stood a better chance of protecting Cam Newton than the Broncos did of running the ball effectively, so I took the Panthers to win and cover. I was wrong again. 

Last year, I wound up pondering how the Patriots could shut down Atlanta's explosive passing game and how they could control the clock enough to keep the eighth-highest scoring offense in NFL history off the field. After a while, I felt the Falcons' pass offense was simply uncontainable, and that it didn't much matter if the Pats controlled the clock. I took the Falcons to win and cover. And for the third time in three years, I was wrong. 

This year's Key Matchups posts focused on familiar themes. The first dug into how the Eagles need to control the line of scrimmage with their defensive line in order to get pressure on Tom Brady without resorting to the blitz. The second focused on how the Eagles need to control the clock with the run game and take targeted risks to overcome their underdog status and tip the odds in their favor. Just as I did the previous three times my Key Matchups posts focused on what one team needed to do to overcome the other's strengths, I wound up siding with the stronger team. I took the Pats to win and cover. So Eagles fans, if you believe I'm a jinx, you can freely rejoice. 

I wound up siding with Brady and company this time around largely because his performance in pressure situations has been so much better this season than in previous years. His ability and willingness to use his running backs as outlets in the passing game has led to fewer tight-window throws down the field and more safety-valve type throws to Dion Lewis, Rex Burkhead, and James White. As a result, he's turned the ball over with rushers in his face far less often than in the previous few seasons. So even if the Eagles' rush hits home on Sunday, they still need Brady to make mistakes with his throws. Brady rarely makes mistakes. 

New England's ability to throw from run formations and run from spread formations helps the Pats take advantage of numbers games on the perimeter and the interior, and move the ball against any type of defense. Philadelphia's defense is among the best in the NFL, particularly up front, but we just saw the Pats struggle for a while against what was likely the NFL's best defense, before suddenly cracking the code and moving the ball up and down the field with ease -- without their best pass-catcher. 

Unless the Eagles are able to both slow down the Patriots' explosive, versatile attack and stake themselves to sizable enough lead sizable to make any comeback attempt futile, the Pats seem likely to crack the code of Jim Schwartz's defense eventually. The last two times Brady has squared off with a Schwartz-coached defense, he's torched it for 300-plus yards and four touchdowns. This Philadelphia defense is far stronger than both of those units, but it plays the same style. 

Unless Schwartz has something up his sleeve, Brady isn't likely to see anything Sunday that he's never seen before. And when Brady, Bill Belichick, and Josh McDaniels have two weeks to prepare for something they're already familiar with, they usually come away with a win. The Pats are 24-8 with two weeks off to prepare for a game during the Brady-Belichick era. He's betting they make it 25-8 a couple days from now. 

Prediction: Patriots 23, Eagles 13

Super Bowl MVP: Tom Brady

Get more picks from CBSSports.com's Pete PriscoWill Brinson, Ryan Wilson, and John Breech.