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Key Matchup: Alshon Jeffery Vs. Stephon Gilmore

Posted Jan 30, 2018

Each day leading up to Super Bowl LII, we're going to take a look at a key matchup between the Eagles and the New England Patriots.

Today, it's wide receiver Alshon Jeffery vs. cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

These two players battled on the practice field as teammates at South Carolina. Both are good friends. They were roommates in college and Jeffery served as a groomsman in Gilmore's wedding.

Jeffery and Gilmore left the teams that drafted them last offseason to sign with new squads hoping to earn a Super Bowl ring.

One player will fulfill that dream come Sunday.

The 6-3, 218-pound Jeffery had six touchdowns in the final two months of the regular season and has carried that success into the playoffs with nine catches for 146 yards and two more scores. Quarterback Nick Foles had a perfect passer rating when throwing to Jeffery in the NFC Championship Game.

What makes Jeffery so dangerous is that he can win in the red zone and provide explosive plays.

The Patriots have struggled to cover taller receivers this season. Fourteen of the 24 receiving touchdowns allowed were by players 6-3 or taller to go along with an average of nearly nine catches and over 102 yards per game.

Gilmore, who came to New England after five years in Buffalo, is likely to shadow Jeffery to avoid the wide receiver going against the 5-11, 190-pound Malcolm Butler. The 6-1, 190-pound Gilmore has held receivers to no more than five catches and 70 yards in nine games where he's shadowed an opponent.

The friend who emerges victorious in this matchup could very well be holding the Lombardi Trophy for the first time Sunday night.

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