It all comes down to this one game as the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles fight to win on the grandest stage in the NFL at today’s much-anticipated Super Bowl LII (6:30 PM ET on NBC).
The Patriots will be looking for their sixth Super Bowl of all-time and their second in a row, after last season’s miraculous comeback against the Atlanta Falcons. The Eagles are seeking their first Super Bowl in franchise history on only their second appearance in the big game since they lost to New England in 2005.
Then and Now
Much about both teams has changed since that Super Bowl including almost all of the personnel. The constant however, has been Tom Brady and Bill Bellichick, who are one of the most dynamic head coach/quarterback duos in the NFL, past or present. Brady and Bellichick have been at the helm of all but one of New England’s five Super Bowl victories and they have been responsible for the team’s turnaround and formation of a dynasty. If New England wins again this year, it will mark the second time in history that the team will have won back-to-back Super Bowls. Currently, only the Pittsburgh Steelers have accomplished this feat.
For the Eagles on the other hand, none of the players or coaches from the 04-05 Super Bowl team are still on the roster. In fact, Philly’s longest tenured player Brent Celek, wasn’t drafted until two seasons later. What the Eagles do have however are two former Patriots in LeGarrette Blount and Chris Long, both of whom are coming off of winning the Super Bowl with New England just last season.
Not to be outdone, New England has its fair share of former Eagles on the roster as well including Patrick Chung and Dion Lewis, both of whom have flourished since leaving Philadelphia.
New teams and new players mean new storylines and that is exactly what has been on display over the past two weeks leading up to the big game. Philadelphia has embraced its role as the underdog all throughout the postseason. The pundits’ Super Bowl predictions and picks have been leaning towards New England. An Eagles’ Super Bowl win really could be seen as a Cinderella story for the franchise without a ring. The Patriots are playing for history and immortality.
At the start of the postseason, this was not likely the Super Bowl matchup that anybody was expecting. Sure Brady and the Patriots were basically a lock to play on to Minneapolis but after Eagles starter Carson Wentz went down with an injury, it was hard to believe the team still had a chance to get out of the NFC. On its face, that means this game probably feels like a mismatch to most but with the way that the Eagles defense has been playing, the Super Bowl is far from a given.
In Foles We Trust?
Last week, Nick Foles absolutely dazzled, silencing doubters throughout the tri-state area and beyond about his ability to lead the Eagles to the promised land. However, is the Foles that showed up last week against the Minnesota Vikings the same guy who can be expected today, this Super Bowl Sunday, against the Patriots?
This is one of those rare Super Bowls where the matchup between the quarterbacks is really so drastic and lopsided, that it’s actually one of the sole factors impacting the betting lines from the trusted USA sportsbooks. With Wentz, the Eagles were the NFL’s best team and were at one point favorites to win the Super Bowl. But when he went down, Philadelphia found themselves as home underdogs, despite only losing one contest at Lincoln Financial Field all season long.
The same is the case when it comes to the Patriots. Despite one of the NFL’s best defenses and a defense that has allowed no more than 10 points per game, Philadelphia are underdogs yet again. A lot of this has to do with Foles. Against the Falcons, Foles played well, completing 23-of-30 passes for just shy of 250 yards. Against the Vikings, Foles was masterful. He completed 26 passes for over 350 yards, three touchdowns and a passer rating of 141.4.
These numbers are pretty on par with what Brady has done so far in the playoffs, throwing for over 625 yards and five touchdowns in the Patriots’ two postseason games. He has attempted a lot more passes than Foles though, with over 90 attempts in just the two games. That’s a lot for anybody but when you have the accuracy of Brady, it’s not much of a worry for New England.
Brady vs Foles, while not a matchup we’ll actually see on the field, is one that is so dynamic and could have a huge impact on this game. If Foles struggles at all from being on the big stage for the first time, no amount of defensive dominance that the Eagles can counter with, is going to make a difference.
Breaking down the numbers, Brady averages more than 2.9 yards per attempt than Foles across this postseason which is the seventh biggest gap in the history of the Super Bowl. The better quarterback has won six of the last 10 matchups. However, in a matchup of quarterbacks with the biggest yards per attempt differential, Brady was bested by Eli Manning, despite averaging four more yards than his opponent.
The biggest positive for Foles is that New England’s defense has been less than stellar this season. In fact, it has been one of the worst in the NFL this year. Historically, New England’s defense has not held up in the Super Bowl anyway, only twice holding their opponents below their defensive average. As it would turn out, New England lost both of these games.
New England Patriots vs Philadelphia Eagles Betting Picks & Super Bowl Preview Predictions Verdict
This is not a game between Brady and Foles, it’s a game between the Patriots and the Eagles. That being said, the quarterback matchup may have never been as important in a game as it will be today. The Eagles have the better all-around roster, the better defense, the better personnel. All they really lack is the better quarterback. If Philadelphia can play up to the level they did last week and if Foles can continue to capture the lightning in the bottle that has been his postseason, the Eagles will win this game. Anything less however, and the Patriots and Brady will easily be able to take advantage.
These are this preview’s Super Bowl predictions:
- The line has been moving constantly since two weeks ago but right now it sits at 4.5pts, with the Patriots as favorite. Take Philadelphia and the points because if history has taught us anything, New England doesn’t win Super Bowls decisively. Most bookies, like 5Dimes and Intertops, go Eagles + 4.5pts @ -110, but Bovada Sportsbook currently has the best option with Philadelphia +4.5pts @ betting odds of -105.
- As for the total points to be scored in this Super Bowl game, this preview’s pick is to go over 48.5pts @ odds of -110 with 5Dimes, Bookmaker or Intertops. Bovada has their spread at 49pts.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.