Super Bowl - How They Got Here

Championship Sunday is over and the match up is set, it will be the high flying Eagles taking on the Patriots. The Eagles took care of business yesterday without much hassle at all from the Vikings, it’s almost as if the Eagles were the only team on the field. The Patriots had their hands full with this young and confident Jaguars team but once again, Tom Brady found a way to get it done. I will get into the matchups over the next two weeks and break this game down but today, I just want to take a look back on how both of these teams got here, what worked for them this season, and what didn’t.

So first up – The Philadelphia Eagles #FlyEaglesFly – A team that looked to have no flaws early in the season. They lost to the Chiefs early but they still played a good game. Their only other hiccup in a meaningful game was when they lost on the road in Seattle which we all know is a tough place to play. They lost their starting quarterback after that who many people think is the MVP of the league regardless of his injury. Nick Foles has stepped in and is 3-0 in games that matter. The first playoff game was a real gut it out style win against the Atlanta Falcons and the second one was an absolute blowout. Foles threw for 352 in the NFC Championship game against a top 5 defense (a lot of people will say it was the best defense before yesterday). The Eagles come in with a powerful offense – Foles is a good QB, they have the Ajayi/Blount punch at runningback who both get the job done. Their receivers are good with Jefferey, Smith, and Agholor. Beast at tight end in Zach Ertz. On the defensive side of the ball, they have a damn good defensive unit who finished ranked 2nd in points allowed per game, 1st against the run, and 17th against the pass.

Second – The New England Patriots #GoPats – A team who started the season 2-2 and lost two home games in that stretch. The media questioned this Patriots team early on. There were points when the offense was relying on the deep ball but the o-line didn’t give Brady enough time for the play to develop. The defense was ranked 32nd out of 32nd against the pass early on in the season as well, that shouldn’t surprise anyone. After starting 2-2, this Pats team put together some good wins and finished winning 11 of the final 12. During that stretch, the only game they looked BAD was the Monday Night Game in Miami (tough place to play). They took care of the Titans at home in the first playoff game as expected and put together some momentum going into the Super Bowl by another come from behind 4th quarter victory led by Tom Brady, without his top three offensive weapons (Gronk, Edelman, and his throwing hand). The Patriots have the best QB of all time and his hand should be ready to go in two weeks. They have a good mix of backs who can run it but are also great out of the backfield in the passing game. Hogan, Cooks, and Amendola make up the receiving core without Edelman this season. Amendola is known for coming up clutch in the playoffs. Defensively, the Patriots are ranked 30th against the pass, 16th against the run, but 5th in points allowed per game – bend but don’t break. The Patriots had a few key injuries of their own this season and have an injured reserve list including Edelman, Hightower, Bennett, Mitchell, and Cannon.

I think this game presents a very intriguing match up regardless of what people think of the Eagles not having their starting quarterback. Nick Foles is a Pro Bowl quarterback, he’s a good player, and he’s proven that he can win games. I don’t think the Eagles will have a problem scoring against the Patriots defense. The Patriots should be able to get the passing game going against this Eagles pass defense as long as the o-line cane hold off the pass rush. It will be interesting to see how Gronk’s head injury plays out, that could be huge one way or the other. As for the betting lines, the Patriots opened up as (-5.5) favorites but it has already moved to (-5) and the over under is set at 48. I think the line will be bet down to 3 or 3.5 and I think the over under will get bet up to 50+. We will keep an eye on it and check in daily. It’s an exciting time of year and the Super Bowl count down is on boys!