The 2017-18 NFL season has shown no shortage of twists and turns that would’ve had Nostradamus scratching his head. The Super Bowl matchup in Minnesota between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots is no exception. Well, most probably assumed that Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the Patriots would make their way to the big dance. It’s almost a given at this point. The quarterback and the head coach duo have already been to seven Super Bowls, winning an impressive five. No other QB and the head coach has even been to seven Super Bowls, and Brady and Belichick have already booked flights to their eighth. The divisional round against the Tennessee Titans was vintage Patriots. They outcoached, outplayed, and blew out the inferior team from Nashville. The final score was 35-14. Tom Brady threw for 337 yards and 3 TDs, and Rob Gronkowski had 81 yards and 1 TD. Everyone expected more of the same as the Pats took on the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship. For the first three quarters, that was not the case. In the beginning of the fourth, the Jags were up 20-10 and it looked like they were going to shock the Pats and the rest of the NFL community. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, Brady did Brady things in the final quarter and was able to avoid a major AFC plot twist. In the fourth quarter alone he threw two TDs to his favorite WR this post-season, Danny Amendola. The final score of the game was 24-20, Patriots. Gronk exited the game with a concussion, but early reports indicate that he will clear protocol well in time for the Super Bowl in two weeks.
Super Bowl 2018 Details
Time: Sunday, Feb. 4th, 6:30 PM E.T.
Location: U.S. Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
TV Channel: NBC
Spread: Patriots (-5.5)
On the opposite side of the spectrum is a team that no informed expert thought would advance, even as the top seed in the NFC. They’ve never won a Lombardi Trophy and with a backup quarterback, Nick Foles, who had one good season (four years ago), no one thought their first would come this year. The Philadelphia Eagles are just one game away from proving all the naysayers wrong. Their season started with few expectations, but they quickly gained some steam towards the end of the year as their defense and franchise quarterback, Carson Wentz, were playing lights out. Everything came to a crashing halt, however, when Wentz tore his ACL against the LA Rams in week 14. Few thought the Eagles would be able to overcome another devastating injury to their squad. Head coach Doug Pederson repeatedly says his team’s mantra is always “next man up”, and this time it was Nick Foles that needed to fill in. So far, he’s done just that. They started their quest in the divisional round against a favorited Atlanta Falcons. It wasn’t a picture perfect day for the offense but they were able to lean on the defense, led by S Malcolm Jenkins and DT Fletcher Cox, and scrap their way to a 15-10 victory. Next up in the NFC Championship was the Minnesota Vikings, where the Birds were underdogs yet again. They put on a display for the ages and absolutely dominated the Purple People Eaters on both sides of the ball. Nick Foles went off. He threw for 352 yards, 3 TDs, and had a near perfect 141.4 RTG. The defense came to play too, recording 3 TOs and a TD to boot. It was all Eagles, pummeling the Vikings 38-7. Now, they’re headed to Minnesota to meet a Patriots team that is quite familiar with playing on sport’s biggest stage. The Birds are underdogs again and apparently, that’s just the way they like it. They look to walk out of Minneapolis with their first-ever Super Bowl win.
It’s a game and a tale of two different cities, two different stories, and two very different Super Bowl histories. If this season has taught us anything though it’s that we should ignore what’s on paper and just expect the unexpected.