Super Bowl 2018 Preview: A Relentless Dynasty Tale
Road To Super Bowl 52
- Date: February 4, 2018
- Time: 6:30 p.m. EST
- Where: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
- TV: NBC (check local channels)
Super Bowl LII Odds
- NE Patriots -180
- PHI Eagles +150
- Patriots -5.0
Regular Season Summary
New England Patriots – 13-3
New England started with a Super Bowl hangover, going 2-2 in the first four games, struggling to execute on the defensive end. Something clicked in week five, with the Patriots winning eight in a row, before losing a strange one against the Dolphins.
Brady’s been the big story of the year, resisting the gravity of father time to post another fantastic season. New England’s defense quietly turned into one of the best units in the league. The Patriots earned 28.6 PPG and allowed 18.5 PPG.
Philadelphia Eagles – 13-3
The Eagles were the best surprise of the season, winning nine games in a row after losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in week two. Carson Wentz ended up being the breakout star of the NFL, displaying a cannon arm, great field vision and the ability to play well in and out of the pocket.
When Wentz blew an ACL, the Eagles rallied defensively to lock down top spot in the NFC with a 13-2 record with one game remaining. Philly essentially had two weeks off before their playoffs began, resting key players during their last game against the Cowboys. The Eagles earned 28.6 PPG and allowed 18.4 PPG.
Divisional And Conference Playoff Summary
New England Patriots
The Tennessee Titans were lucky to make the divisional round of the playoffs after a fortunate wild card win against the Kansas City Chiefs. New England put the Titans away with relative ease, earning a 35-14 win to move on to the conference finals.
New England survived a serious scare against the Jacksonville Jaguars, requiring a vintage Tom Brady fourth quarter comeback to beat the Jags. Jacksonville applied the same old-school strategy which earned wins over the Buffalo Bills and the Pittsburgh Steelers, harassing Brady and running Fournette down the gullet, something the Eagles will likely attempt to repeat.
Sportsbooks deemed the Eagles as the first-ever top seed underdog during their divisional round matchup against last year’s Super Bowl victims, the Atlanta Falcons. Philadelphia’s defense withstood a Julio Jones-Matt Ryan assault while Nick Foles avoided mistakes, earning a 15-10 win.
The Eagles were underdogs once again for the NFC conference finals, against a Minnesota Vikings teams which needed a miracle to proceed past the divisional round. Philly was merciless, tearing the Vikings apart with a 38-7 final result. Foles threw a trio of touchdowns, zero interceptions and completed 26-33 attempts to earn a 141.4 passer rating.
New England Patriots
Julian Edelman missed the entire year with a torn ACL, depriving Brady of a favored playoff target. Rob Gronkowski has been upgraded to probable for the Super Bowl, recently rejoining practice squads. Running back Mike Gillislee may return from a knee injury to play in the big game, while linebacker Dont’a Hightower won’t return early from a torn pectoral muscle. Brady’s hand is fine.
People will wonder what could have been if Carson’s left knee remained healthy. Despite Foles filling in nicely, the Eagles would have been unquestioned favorites throughout the playoffs if Wentz was starting. Running back Jay Ajayi’s probable after taking limited reps in practice because of an ankle injury. Cornerback Sidney Jones will remain questionable until game time.
Key Super Bowl Stats And Trends
New England’s 15-0 in the playoffs against teams they haven’t faced earlier in the regular season. The New York Giants pair of upset victories over the Patriots occurred in years when the two teams met previously in the campaign.
Philadelphia has never won the Super Bowl, losing their last appearance to the New England Patriots in 2005 by a score of 24-21. Coincidentally, the Eagles defeated the Vikings and the Falcons to earn a spot in Super Bowl XXXIX.
Since the year 2000, New England’s 4-1 against Philadelphia, including their Super Bowl meeting. The last time these teams clashed, the Eagles defeated the Patriots 35-28, combining a strong defensive rush with an error-free performance by QB Sam Bradford.
Philly’s pass rush was by far the best in the NFL, completing the season with 41 more QB pressures compared to the next closest team. Seven Eagles defenders pressured the QB 20 or more times during the year, also an NFL-best.
The Eagles appear to be a popular underdog, with the spread moving from 6.0 to 4.5 on behalf of the Patriots. New England’s moneyline dropped from above -200 to as low as -170 with some sportsbooks.
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