On Sunday, Feb. 4, the world will feast their eyes on Super Bowl 52 as the Patriots and the Eagles battle it out for the league’s top prize. Philly comes into this matchup as the biggest underdog since SB XLIII, and it’s their first Super Bowl appearance since XXXIX. New England is returning to the big show for the second straight year and looks poised to repeat as the champs. Can the Eagles defy the odds for a third straight post season game and upset the Patriots? Kickoff inside U.S. Bank Stadium is at 6:30 PM ET.
This Super Bowl matchup will be the 14th all-time encounter between these two teams. Currently, the Eagles have the slight advantage with a 7-6 record. New England has won 4 of the last 5 games. However, Philadelphia won their last meeting, which was near the end of the 2015 season.
Philadelphia and New England have also played one time against each other in a Super Bowl. The Patriots were victorious over the Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX
The Eagles were underdogs in both of their postseason games so, it’s not a surprise that they’re underdogs against the reigning world champs. In my opinion, they sent a loud message by defeating the Vikings 38-7 in the NFC title game. It was the worst loss of the season for the Vikings. Philly looked great on both sides of the ball and I believe it was the confidence booster needed for a team heading to the Super Bowl against the league’s dynasty team. Can Philly shock the world?
The Patriots came from behind to defeat the Jaguars in the AFC title game. It was another brilliant late-game charge by Tom Brady, who is heading to his 8th Super Bowl. He finished the title game going 26-of-38 for 290 yards and 2 touchdown throws. The Patriots will look to their postseason experience, head coach and Tom Brady as advantages over the Eagles and Nick Foles. Will New England repeat as SB champs?
The spread opened at -5.5 for the Patriots. It currently sits at 5 points in favor of New England. The Over/Under opened at 48 total points and remains unchanged.
Until the champs are defeated, you have to go with them in this matchup. But, don’t be surprised if the Eagles have a chance to win late in the game and/or possibly pull off the upset. Philly has the defense and the running game to make life difficult for New England, and the Patriots know this.
Coming into this matchup, the Eagles have held their postseason opponents to 8.5 ppg. They grounded the Falcons and beat up the Vikings. Their success started up front, as they dominated the opposing rushing attacks. Philly only allowed 70 rushing yards to the Vikings and 86 rushing yards to the Falcons. New England was only able to muster up 46 total rushing yards in their victory over the Jaguars. So, I expect Philly to shut down the Patriots running game and force the Patriots to rely on Tom Brady and his arm.
Now, that’s not a problem for the Pats as Brady led the league in passing yards and is the greatest QB of all-time. But, it should be noted that the Eagles only allowed the Falcons and the Vikings to average 240.5 passing ypg. And, Philly averaged at least 9 QB hits, 2 sacks and 6.5 passes defended over those two games. In other words, the Philly defense harassed opposing offenses, generated pressure, played in their opponent’s backfield and got after opposing QBs all game along.
The Jaguars were able to play fantastic football for 3 quarters with the same approach. I expect Philly to build off what Jacksonville exposed in the Patriots and put New England under pressure for 4 quarters.
Offensively, it all begins and ends with Tom Brady. Despite the Jaguars taking away New England’s run game, Brady still had 290yards and 2 touchdowns. That was actually a step down from his performance against the Titans in the AFC Divisional Round game where he went 35-of-53 for 337 yards and 3 touchdowns. I don’t think Brady will surpass the 300 yard mark this game, but he will definitely be the reason New England wins this matchup. Tom should get at least 275 yards and 2 touchdowns in the SB, but it won’t come easily.
Philly’s chance at winning all comes down to their pressure on Brady. Although the QB is great against pressure, if the Eagles can bring the pass rush right in his face, they will disrupt the timing and possibly force a mistake or two. Philly has the corners to shut down the Patriots receivers, but if Tom has all day to throw then he will pick apart any defense. Just ask Jacksonville.
Defensively, the Pats are vulnerable against the run and deep passes. Philly will need to establish a run game against New England to have success. They need to get Foles into manageable third downs so that the Pats can’t tee-off on the QB. Look for Philly to grind it out with Ajayi and former Pats running back Blount. You can bet that LeGarrette Blount will be looking to stick it to his former team and I expect him to have some bruising runs late in the game. Philly averaged roughly 100 yards rushing in their two postseason games. They will need to get at least 120 yards on the ground against the Pats to have a shot at winning.
The Patriots secondary has shown that they can handle the pressure and I expect them to do a good job against the Eagles group of receivers. Look for Butler and Gilmore to contain Jeffery wherever he goes and for the secondary to force Foles to throw it deep on them, taking away short passes.
I think whichever QB can successfully use their running back out of the backfield will have the advantage this weekend. I also believe that the TE position will be the key to the passing game. New England’s Gronkowski will return for the SB and you can bet Brady will be looking for him. Gronk was knocked out of the Jaguars game early, but was coming off an 81 yard, 1 touchdown performance against the Titans. For the Eagles, TE Zach Ertz has had 125 yards and 11 receptions in two post season games so far.
The Patriots are 12-6 ATS this year, 12-6 ATS as a favorite this season, 6-3 ATS versus teams with winning records, and 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games against the NFC. Philly is 11-10 ATS as an underdog, 17-16 ATS when an underdog between 42.5 and 49.5 total points, 0-2 ATS as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points this season, and 1-2 ATS when playing on turf this year.
I expect Brady to lead the Patriots to victory and claim the Super Bowl championship for the 2nd straight year. I believe his greatness will be enough for the Patriots to beat the Eagles. I expect Philly to play a great game, but fall short in the end just like most teams do against New England. I like Gronk to have a major impact in SB 52 and to lead all players in touchdowns. Patriots win this game 23-16.