Written off after they lost MVP quarterback Carson Wentz to a season-ending injury, the Philadelphia Eagles have thrived and survived all the way through to the Super Bowl. Even though they were a home underdog in both playoff games and were overlooked by the oddsmakers, they have played well enough on both sides of the ball to now convince the experts they have a shot to win the championship game. To complete the journey, they’ll have to defeat the New England Patriots, who are back in the Super Bowl for the third time in the last four seasons.
Super Bowl LII
Philadelphia Eagles vs New England Patriots
Date: Sunday, February 4 – 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Line: New England -5
Nobody expected Nick Foles to lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl following the injury to Wentz. However, Foles surprised everybody by throwing for 352 yards in an NFC championship game win over the Minnesota Vikings to help Philadelphia clinch its third Super Bowl berth. Can he deliver again on the biggest stage?
While Foles only has two playoff wins under his belt, this will be Tom Brady’s eighth Super Bowl and he has the weapons to win his sixth ring. The Patriots will have an edge in experience and that could be crucial. Foles – and many other members of the Eagles – haven’t played in a game of this magnitude whereas the Patriots do this virtually every season.
The Eagles have the better of the two defenses, though, as they finished fourth in total yards and points allowed. The Patriots defense will be in the crosshairs after Foles picked apart the vaunted Vikings defense. Was it a one-game aberration or will he find success against the Patriots, who finished 30th in passing yards per game allowed?
The big question for the Patriots is whether tight end Rob Gronkowski will be good to go after he suffered a head injury in Sunday’s win over Jacksonville. Both teams are fairly healthy otherwise, so Gronk’s status will be closely monitored over the next two weeks.
In terms of the total, we’re looking at an opening number of 48. New England scored 24 points against Jacksonville and has averaged 29.5 points in its two playoff wins. Meanwhile, the Eagles exploded for 38 points against Minnesota after the offense was held to just 15 points the week before against the Atlanta Falcons. That makes it difficult to predict what pace the game will be played at. Obviously, New England would like to make this a shootout because the Eagles likely won’t keep up. Remember, they were shut out at home in Week 17 by the Dallas Cowboys and scored just 19 points against the Oakland Raiders a week earlier. That means they’ve hit 19 points or less in three of their last four.
Can they keep the Patriots under wraps is the question? They have a strong defensive line and have held opposing quarterbacks to a 79.6 quarterback rating (ninth-best in the NFL). They also didn’t give up many big passing plays, allowing 6.5 passing yards per game (second-best).
It’s going to be an entertaining couple of weeks of handicapping as we make our way up to kickoff. Keep an eye on all of the props that are going to pop up as we approach Super Bowl Sunday.