The New England Patriots will face off with the Philadelphia Eagles in Superbowl LII in Minnesota on Sunday night. The Patriots have been the favorite in every game they have played in the playoffs and were able to overcome a wound that required stitches in the throwing hand of quarterback Tom Brady to win the AFC Championship game. The Eagles have been underdogs in every game they have played this post season and have certainly delivered. They are coming off a blow out win over the Minnesota Vikings to advance to the Superbowl.
The line has fluctuated from as high as -6 to its current -4.5in favor of the Patriots which is indicative of how good the Eagles have been thus far in the playoffs. Quarterback Nick Foles has not only filled in admirably for starter Carson Wentz but perhaps put himself in a position to become another team’s starter next season when Wentz returns. He shredded a strong Vikings defense going 26-33 for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Vikings scored on their first possession and that proved to be the first and last time they were able to move the ball against an aggressive Eagles defense. They have now defeated last seasons Superbowl runner up and the best team in the conference to advance. It remains to be seen if Foles and the rest of the offense will be able to duplicate their success against a New England defense that will have 2 weeks to prepare. The Philadelphia defense will have the ultimate challenge of trying to stop the defending Superbowl champions. The defense has been the backbone of the team all season long and they will need a big performance in order to slow down Brady and company.
The Patriots certainly had all they could handle with the Jacksonville Jaguars however in the end they relied on a defense that made the big plays when it needed to and the stitched up right hand of Brady to complete the 24-20 come from behind victory. Brady finished 26-38 for 290 yards and 2 late passing touchdowns. With the two weeks between games, Brady’s hand is a non issue headed into the Superbowl, however the health of All Pro Tight End Rob Gronkowski who is in the concussion protocol after sustaining a head injury against Jacksonville. It is unclear if he will play however it needs to be noted that he missed last seasons Superbowl and the team was still victorious so his absence isn’t as big a loss as it would be to lose a Pro Bowl player with most teams.
The spread is not nearly as high as many predicted. That may have a lot to do with the way Philly has played combined with the fact that while the Patriots have been winning they have not been dominating. The Eagles have a rabid fan base that is sure to make their presence felt. New England has been the class of the NFL for many years now and there is no reason to think that will change this Sunday.
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