HONOLULU, February 6, 2018: The most challenging NFL season in recent memory comes to a close. Minneapolis, Minnesota is the site of a Super Bowl(52) LII. In a rematch from thirteen years ago, The AFC Champion New England Patriots are taking on the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles.
Kickoff is at 6:30pm Eastern time on NBC.
The Patriots are favored by 5 1/2 points.
Under normal circumstances, the names would be different. Nothing about the Patriots is normal. They have defied gravity in reaching their eighth Super Bowl in the era of owner Robert Kraft, coach Bill Belichick, and quarterback Tom Brady. A sixth Super Bowl win would tie them for most ever by a team.
The Eagles have yet to win the big one. The last time they reached the Super Bowl, Walrus Lite Andy Reid was their coach. After owner Jeffrey Lurie replaced Reid with a disastrous experiment, Lurie went back to what worked in hiring Reid clone Doug Pederson.
Normally when playoff teams claim that nobody respects them, that is dismissed as gamesmanship. In this case, nobody expected the Eagles to be here after quarterback Carson Wentz went down with an injury. Despite being the top seed, the Eagles barely survived a divisional round slugfest against last year’s NFC Champion Atlanta Falcons.
Yet in the NFC Title Game, the Eagles throttled the Minnesota Vikings 38-7. Backup quarterback Nick Foles has done his job.
The Patriots trailed 20-10 in the fourth quarter of the AFC Title Game before coming back to beat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20.
The Philadelphia Eagles
The Eagles are also celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1992 team that vowed to “Bring it home for Jerome” after the tragic death of defensive standout Jerome Brown. He, Reggie White, and Buddy Ryan would be proud of this Eagles defense.
The Patriots seem to win every big game by the skin of their teeth. They won five Super Bowls by a combined 19 points. They overcame 28-3 Super Bowl deficit in the third quarter to win it all last year. Those who hate the Patriots wonder if Belichick and Brady made a deal with the devil or if they are the devil.
Rooting against the Patriots has become a fool’s errand. However, the Patriots never win easy. An Eagles victory would be the fourth greatest upset behind the 1968 Jets beating the Colts, the 1990 Giants beating the Bulls, and the 2001 Patriots beating the Rams to begin their dynasty.
The Patriots are the better team. They will fail to cover the point spread, but they will win the game.