Super Bowl LII
After all that developed during the 2017-2018 season, it will conclude with the two top-seeded teams squaring off in U.S. Bank Stadium. Fans and media have huddled around the drama, adversity and success (or lack thereof), of each NFL franchise since August. This year’s playoffs featured twelve teams which all had the potential to have their ticket to the Super Bowl punched. The Bills made their first playoff appearance in decades. Chiefs fans left Arrowhead Stadium disappointed after the Titans pulled off a comeback upset in the Wild Card. The Saints were one play away from advancing to the NFC Championship, until the Minneapolis Miracle happened. The postseason has been filled with surprises and highlights, but in the end, there can only be one victor.
On February 4th, the New England Patriots, and Philadelphia Eagles, will battle to make history. All thirty-two teams in the NFL share a common goal: to win the Super Bowl. Every franchise grinds from August to January to earn a spot in the playoffs. The twenty that fail to make it plan accordingly to ensure that they will be present in January next season. The Super Bowl is the mecca of the football world, where sports and entertainment collide. Numbers, statistics and odds circle around the media in the two week break between the Championship games and the Super Bowl. This guide contains for betting on an array of props in the Super Bowl, ranging from points scored to the color of Gatorade poured on the winning coach.
Super Bowl LII- Patriots vs. Eagles: Three Things to Know
1. Experience is Key
Nick Foles will be making his first Super Bowl appearance, to add to his four postseason starts, in his six year career. Though impressive, it is a ninth of Tom Brady’s thirty-six starts in the playoffs. This will be Brady’s eighth Super Bowl appearance in his career, he has only lost in two of them. Coincidentally, the last time the Eagles appeared in the Super Bowl was in 2004, and they lost to none other than Tom Brady and the Pats. Fast forward fourteen years, both teams are completely different except for Bill Belichick and Tom Brady leading New England.
Brady and Belichick might have the upper edge with Super Bowl experience, but they have not faced the Eagles since 2015. Head coach, Doug Pederson, is a crafty play caller and defensive coordinator. Jim Schwartz coaches a young and hungry defense, that leads the league in defensive scoring. Nick Foles might be rattled in his first few drives in a Super Bowl environment, but the Eagles’ planning prior to kickoff could cause a few surprises.
2. Offensive Maestros
Nick Foles unexpectedly became a starter for the Eagles late into the season, after Carson Wentz suffered an ACL injury. He started out rusty the first few games, but was able to pull out a win in each of his starts, except for one. Foles is a talented veteran, and a scary backup, to have on a team. He picked up right where Wentz left off, with little turbulence.
Carson Wentz might have locked up the first seed in the playoffs for the Eagles, but it’s no fluke that Foles has gotten the team to the Super Bowl. In the NFC Championship, Foles tore apart the Vikings’ stingy defense. He posted 352 passing yards, and three touchdowns, in a blowout victory. The Eagles’ running back trio of Jay Ajayi, LaGarrette Blount, and Corey Clement, are all great weapons for Foles to utilize in the backfield as well. The Eagles’ boast a stacked receiving corp as well. Wrapping up the offense, Lane Johnson and his o-line, are one of the best in the league.
The best offensive tackle performances from the 2017 playoffs! pic.twitter.com/m69Q63IAlY
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 24, 2018
The opposing offense is extremely resilient. The Patriots are missing multiple starters to injury, but still cannot seem to lose. Dion Lewis is having a career year at the team’s primary running back position. Rob Gronkowski, whose availability is up in the air at the moment, can be a spark to the offense on every drive. Both Brandin Cooks and Danny Amendola, are posting career numbers in the playoffs. Amendola has been a key receiver in the playoffs, and came in clutch on Sunday against the Jaguars.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 21, 2018
However, only one team has Tom Brady. He has mounted a whopping eight postseason comebacks, upon a plethora more in the regular season. He completed an MVP-worthy season, without one of his best receivers, and an occasionally faulty offensive line. Only Brady could make a season like this look like a clinic.
3. Protect the Throne
Coming into this year, almost everyone expected the Patriots to make a deep playoff run. No one held the Eagles to the same standard. The Eagles are hungry for a Super Bowl trophy. Despite losing their starting quarterback, they came out swinging in every playoff match-up. They are not scared of Tom Brady, or the Patriots, but rather they are excited to dethrone them:
The Eagles are coming for Tom Brady's crown. pic.twitter.com/mZuDrdbSgM
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 22, 2018
The Eagles want nothing more than to have a repeat of the beat-down they gave to the Vikings. Though they are the one seed in the NFC, they were written off in the Divisional Round. The Eagles embraced their underdog role, and played their hearts out throughout the playoffs. Now in the Super Bowl, the odds are against them once again. This time, however, they will battle one of the most methodical teams in the NFL. The Patriots are elite because of the preparation they put into each game. Their game-plan changes depending on what team they face. They have two weeks to study film, and see how the Eagles play. Bill Belichick is amazing at pointing out teams’ weaknesses, so it is safe to say the Patriots will be ready. We’ll all have to see how this match-up fares out on Super Bowl Sunday.
Prediction: 33-24 Patriots
Cover image courtesy of PennLive.com.