Super Bowl weekend has finally arrived and the NFL world has its eyes focused on the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles. As of this writing, the line sits at 4.5 in favor of those overachieving Patriots which comes as no surprise to anybody. Most of the pundits and experts have weighed in and there’s plenty of weight leaning in the experienced Patriots’ direction. Can these underdog and surprising Eagles continue their excellence and complete their run at their first Super Bowl in franchise history? I honestly think so.
Super Bowl 52 Betting
Nobody gave the Eagles much of a chance heading into the playoffs after Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending injury and Nick Foles stepped in to fill his shoes. Skeptics pointed to Wentz remarkable MVP-like numbers on the season and understandably questioned a backup stepping in and leading the Eagles to any kind of success. But Foles’ numbers while with the Eagles are remarkably and perhaps eerily similar to Wentz’s. Foles is 19-11 while Wentz is 18-11. Their completion percentages are identical. The touchdown-interception ratio actually tilts in Foles’ favour. But all that pales in comparison to the way Foles has played during these playoffs, taking down the Falcons and then the Vikings with coolness and relative ease.
The Eagles also have solid run options with LeGarrette Blount and Jay Ajayi that can easily strain the Patriots’ defense. Their offensive line is absolutely solid led by Center Jason Kelce and should give Nick Foles plenty of time to look downfield for Torrey Smith or Nelson Agholor, or down the middle with Zach Ertz. While pundits worry about Foles’ deep throw ability, the way he handled himself against the Vikings should earn him a bit more benefit of the doubt than he is being currently given.
At the end of the day, it comes down to Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the masters of mind games. We have seem countless teams crack under the pressure of building a lead on the Patriots’, change up their game plan mid-game and allow this veteran team back into the games (see Jaguars, Jacksonville and Falcons, Atlanta). The Eagles, however, are led by Head Coach Doug Pederson, who I can’t see folding under the pressure of facing New England. If the Eagles build an early lead, look for them to put their foot on their necks and continue applying relentless pressure.
Tom Brady may be a wizard when it comes to late-game comebacks, but this is no ordinary defense that he is going up against. The key to beating Brady is actually pretty simple in theory: pressure on Brady and his offensive line (once again see Giants, New York). The Eagles are more than equipped to bring said pressure with the likes of Fletcher Cox, Chris Long, Derek Barnett and Brandon Graham. The Patriots’ run game is basically Brady dumping off to James White and Rex Burkhead and if they can’t get their run game going, it might be a long day for Brady and company.
As previously pointed out, many people have the Patriots winning this game quite easily, but I’m not convinced. I think the Eagles actually hold the advantage both offensively and defensively, and the so-called coaching mismatch that is always a storyline when Belichick makes the Super Bowl is not as bad as people think. Doug Pederson is a fine coach.
I see this playing out a little like Super Bowl 48, where the Broncos came into the game as slight favourites and the Seahawks ended up routing them while putting on a defensive masterpiece.
Give me Eagles 41, Patriots 17.
Super Bowl MVP: Fletcher Cox
Dave Trentadue is a producer and reporter on TSN 690 in Montreal, Canada.