The Super Bowl is old hat for the New England Patriots. They’re back in the Big Game for the eighth time in the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era, and they’re trying to become the first quarterback and first coach, respectively, to win six Lombardi Trophies.
The Philadelphia Eagles have been the loveable underdogs for the last month. They’ve won the NFC even though they had the longest odds on the board to do so heading into the Divisional round of the playoffs. Does Nick Foles have one more magical start in him?
Eagles Super Bowl History
Contrary to popular belief, the Eagles have actually won NFL championships. Their last was in 1960, though, long before the Super Bowl ever came into existence. After three titles in the olden days, Philadelphia didn’t get back to the championship game until 1980 when they were beaten in the Super Bowl by the Raiders.
It took 24 years to get back to the Super Bowl again, and the foes happened to be the same ones lining up on the other side of the field this year. Brady and the Patriots took care of business for their third title in this dynasty, 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Patriots Super Bowl History
Heading into Super Bowl XXXIX, the Patriots had won two Super Bowl titles in the past three seasons, and they were favored by a touchdown to beat the Eagles. This year, they’re not quite favored by a full touchdown, but they’re just a couple points shy of that. The script, though, remains the same. This would be the third Super Bowl win in four years for the Pats.
New England is playing in the Super Bowl for the 10th time, becoming the first franchise to get to football’s Mecca 10 times in its history.
Why New England Will Beat the Eagles
Few would argue with the fact that New England had the best team in football this year. The Patriots have a Hall of Fame coach, a Hall of Fame quarterback, a Hall of Fame tight end, and at least one Hall of Fame pass rusher. There are rings for days in that locker room, and the experience of having been here and done this before can only help.
The matchup itself isn’t necessarily the juiciest for New England, but there’s no doubt its defense is going to have a huge edge over Foles and the Eagles offense. Giving Belichick two weeks to prepare for a game like this one almost isn’t fair, and we have a tough time imagining a journeyman quarterback ultimately figuring out how to beat a team full of Hall of Famers.
Why Philadelphia Will Beat the Patriots
The Eagles don’t have anything to lose in this game. They were never expected to beat the Falcons, let alone the Vikings and certainly not the Patriots. They’ve embraced this underdog role like few teams we’ve seen in recent years, and they’re loving every minute of it. The City of Brotherly Love can’t get enough of being doubted, and the whole town wants to prove to the rest of the world that its team is superior to the other 31 in the NFL, even with Carson Wentz on the sidelines rehabbing his torn ACL.
If the Eagles are going to win this game, though, they’re going to need to do so on the defensive side of the ball. Fletcher Cox and Timmy Jernigan make up the best defensive tackle pairing in the NFL, and they should shut down the New England ground game.
Of course, that’s generally a recipe for disaster against the Patriots; forcing Brady to throw the ball 40 times because the Pats can’t run the ball isn’t exactly desirable. But toss in a good game from these corners who have played so well in the playoffs, and you’ve got the recipe to hold New England’s offense down.
Super Bowl LII Prediction
Simply put, we don’t think the Patriots were all that good this year. They won a weak conference and have had absolutely zero challengers thus far in the playoffs. They weren’t the better team against a Jacksonville squad we considered to be suspect all year, and they were fortunate that the Jags went into a shell in the second half to blow a double-digit lead.
For our money, the Eagles have been the best team in the NFL all season. Sure, they don’t have Wentz, but one man doesn’t necessarily make the entire team. Nine different backup quarterbacks have won the Super Bowl in the past, perhaps most notably, Jeff Hostetler.
“The Hoss” took over for the Giants in place of an injured Phil Simms and won the Super Bowl against all odds. This game looks so much like that one when Scott Norwood booted his game-winning field goal attempt wide left for the Bills. Don’t be shocked if the Eagles find a way to pull off this upset.
Super Bowl LII Prediction: Philadelphia 24, New England 20
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