Super Bowl LII Betting: Who will triumph in Minnesota on Sunday?
Ahead of Super Bowl LII, we asked our team of NFL experts to break down who they think will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy...
"Some teams are lucky, some teams are well coached, some teams have great players, some teams know how to win but it is very rare a team has all four things at the same time for a prolonged period. The Patriots have all four."
Philly roasted the Minnesota's top-ranked defense in the NFC Championship Game and there appeared no fluke about the performance. Sure, you wouldn't expect quarterback Nick Foles to go 8-for-10 on third downs through the first three quarters again this weekend. However, what we have seen is the unmistakable overture of Foles' redemption song.
The 2013 Pro Bowler's fall from grace was precipitous, but head coach Doug Peterson has kept the faith in his second-string QB and the repeated reps of competition have seen him find an irresistible rhythm with his O-line and key targets Alshon Jeffery and Zach Ertz. Foles has already outperformed Tom Brady this postseason (an average 122 Passer Rating against Brady's 105) and also benefits from the balance brought by the thunder-and-lightning RB combo of Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount.
Throw in their doughty defense (albeit one whose secondary takes chances but has to date delivered enough takeaway plays) as a resolute backbone, and Philly can keep Brady's bunch off the park long enough to give Foles time. Make no mistake, this offensive line made Wentz look good. They can now do the same for Foles on the game's greatest stage.
In the Bill Belichick/Tom Brady era, the New England Patriots have won the Super Bowl five times and lost twice. Both the times they came up short, it took other worldly plays by the other team to take them down.
Over the past seven seasons they've only been beaten by Joe Flacco and the Ravens along with Peyton Manning's Broncos (twice) in playoff football. History tells you that this team wins the big games.
Last time out they should have lost to the Jacksonville Jaguars. If it wasn't for an inadvertent whistle on a fumble, in all likelihood they go down. A year ago the Super Bowl was all but over but Atlanta went way too conservative on offense, which allowed Tom Brady to setup the incredible comeback. Going back to Super Bowl XLIX, the Seattle Seahawks had the ball at the one yard line going in for the win. They lost.
Some teams are lucky, some teams are well coached, some teams have great players, some teams know how to win but it is very rare a team has all four things at the same time for a prolonged period. The Patriots have all four.
The Eagles upset of the Vikings felt like it was denying us the Super Bowl we were meant to see. The Pats opened at -6 on the handicap, but that has shortened as people realise the Eagles deserve this shot, and match-up well against New England.
There are two factors that can tilt the game in the Eagles favour.
The first is their defence, which can get to Tom Brady and keep him under pressure late into the game. Their line does enough to press QBs, meaning they can cover more of the field on passing downs and prevent big plays.
The second factor is Nick Foles. Hard as I find it to believe I am writing this sentence, the Rams flop showed he can makes big plays against a really good defence in a huge game versus Minnesota. New England's defence is not in the same class, so why can't Foles do it again?
Philadelphia will win this game because they have tremendous quality on both sides of the ball. They are nicely balanced. Whereas, yes New England have a great offense, but their defense is a liability. The Pats conceded the fourth highest number of yards per game to opponents during the regular season. That D is weak. The offense has bailed them out time and time again. But their luck is about to run out.
And that weakness is something the Eagles offense can easily exploit. With three great wide receivers, a tremendous tight end and two top running backs, Philly have weapons everywhere. The Eagles put up 38 points against Minnesota last game. If they can do that to the top ranked defense in the NFL, imagine what they might do to the Pats.
New England have yet to dominate any of the Super Bowls they've won - their five titles coming from a combined winning margin of just 19 points. They tend to scrape home. The best the Pats can realistically hope for here is another tight win. The worst case scenario though is that they could get a thumping. And looking at this Philly offense, that's a real possibility.