Super Bowl LII (52) is set to take place on Feb. 4th at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN. The New England Patriots are seeking their 2nd straight title, and their 6th since 2002 against the Philadelphia Eagles who have never won the national championship. The game will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX (37) in 2004 when the Patriots narrowly beat the Eagles 24-21.
This year, the Patriots boasted an expected but still impressive record of 13-3, losing early to the Chiefs and Panthers, but steamrolling all the remaining competition minus the Dolphins. They beat impressive standouts in the regular season such as the Steelers and Saints. To reach the Super Bowl, they beat the Titans 35-14 in their first playoff game, and then the Jaguars in a nail biting 24-20 comeback for their seventh straight AFC Championship.
Undeniably, the success the Pats have can be contributed to veteran quarterback Tom Brady, who is now 40. He still reigns in efficiency, completing 66% of passes and throwing for over 4,500 yards. Throwing for 32 touchdowns, he without a doubt securing wins for his team. Tight End Rob Gronkowski also reaffirmed his vital position as Brady’s target of choice, catching for over 1000 yards this season.
The Eagles as well finished with a 13-3 season. They lost in Week 2 to a strong Chiefs team, but then won the next 10 games. However, in Week 14, starting QB Carson Wentz suffered an ACL injury and was unable to finish the season. Backup QB Nick Foles however, was able to finish the season strong, beating the Falcons in their first playoff game and dominating the Vikings in the NFC Championship 38-7.
Foles was returning to the Eagles for the first time this season since being drafted by them in 2012. In the 2015/16 season he spent time with the Rams and Chiefs, but assumed his position as backup QB at the start of this season. In his brief spotlight as the starting QB for a contending championship team, Foles has excelled, passing for 352 yards in 26 of 33 attempts against the Vikings defense, who were top ranked in the league and favored to win by 3. However, the Eagles will have to rely on all parts of their team to be successful against the goliath of the Patriots.
The Patriots are favored to win the contest, but the game is expected to be an offensive show. Fole’s vision has allowed him to see the open man on every play, and mid-season running back acquire Jay Ajayi will assure the Eagles will be putting points on the board. Tom Brady, however, is averaging 45 passes a game this post-season, and has several go-to guys to choose from. With too many ways for each team to move the ball, it can be expected that minute defensive plays and key opportunities must be taken advantages of to secure a win.
The Patriots are the “Home” team for this Super Bowl in chilly Minneapolis, but have elected to wear their white away jerseys as they are 3-0 wearing them in super bowls with Bill Belichick. Most fans are decisively torn with their opinions on the Patriots, most either hopping on the bandwagon or with every ounce of them willing the dynasty to fail.