Bixby SPN’s football guru offers his take on Super Bowl LII between the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles. The game kicks off at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Nick Foles is going to the Super Bowl. Yes, Nick Foles.
No one would have expected Foles to be the starting quarterback for the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII a few years ago. In the 2012 NFL draft, he was taken in the third round by Philadelphia but traded to Kansas City after a year. The Chiefs traded him to the St. Louis Rams as a second-string quarterback.
Foles’s career has been up and down, but he has persevered. After the 2016 season, Foles was traded back to the Eagles as the backup for young franchise quarterback Carson Wentz, who showed MVP potential this season by losing just one game before a season-ending knee injury. Foles took over and Philadelphia ended the season as the top seed in the NFC.
As the playoffs began, many doubted the Eagles would get to Super Bowl LII. As self-proclaimed underdogs, the Eagles knocked off Atlanta, the defending conference champion, 15-10, in a defensive showdown. Still, skeptics roared … until Philadelphia trounced Minnesota, 38-7, in the NFC championship.
As Sunday’s game approaches, the Eagles’ defense must solve New England’s high-powered Patriots offense, led by Tom Brady, who has the most Super Bowl titles for a quarterback. However, Philadelphia’s defense may not be the only factor; the game may come down to how well Foles plays to give the Eagles their first-ever Super Bowl victory.
Here we are again. The New England Patriots are back in the Super Bowl – their eighth appearance since 2001. Many have doubted the motivations of the 40-year-old Brady, who has much more on his mind to accomplish than we think. The MVP finalist has had one of the most efficient years in his career and destroyed just about every defense in his way.
Brady might be one of the most hated players of all time, but only because he has dominated the league (five Super Bowl rings) for 17 seasons and few have stopped him.
Nearly every scout dismissed Brady in the 2001 draft. He was listed as tall, skinny, slow and weak. He went in the sixth round as the 199th pick overall, which seems crazy now. Most of those chosen ahead of, arguably, the greatest of all time are not even playing the sport anymore.
Brady won his first three Super Bowls in four seasons to form a Patriots dynasty in the 2000s; with a victory Sunday, he will repeat that feat – three titles in four seasons – in the 2010s.
No quarterback has done that. From 1961 to 1968, Green Bay’s Bart Starr won three pre-Super Bowl NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls before retiring. A sixth title for Brady would put the Patriots’ star above the Packers’ Starr.
The Patriots were predicted to make the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year and now they are here after a 2-2 start. They have had many injuries and many have asked, “Are they as good as we thought they would be?” Yes, they are: They lost just one game the rest of the season and hit the playoffs with a 13-3 record.
In the divisional Round, the Patriots dominated the Tennessee Titans, 35-14. In the AFC championship against Jacksonville, they struggled in the first half and trailed, 20-10. However, the second half was totally different. New England’s defense shut out the Jaguars and allowed Brady and the Patriots’ offense to come back for a 24-20 victory.
Brady and his Patriots now look to cement a second dynasty.
Las Vegas and many others favor the Patriots over the Eagles by 4.5 points. ESPN predicts New England has a 52.8 percent chance to win Super Bowl LII.
Sam Herrold says the score will be Patriots 27, Eagles 23. Don’t expect the Patriots to be ahead at halftime. New England is a second-half team; Brady should control the last 30 minutes like always and win the game in epic fashion.