Philadelphia Eagles vs. New England Patriots
Date and Time: Sunday, February 4, 2018, 6:30 p.m. ET
Location: US Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, MN
Opening NFL Odds: Patriots -5, O/U 48
Eagles vs. Patriots TV Coverage: NBC
For one day Nick Foles made the city of Philadelphia forget all about Carson Wentz. After the league’s MVP went down with a knee injury in Week 14, many felt the Eagles’ chances of winning a Super Bowl title went with him. The oddsmakers thought so, making Philly a historical underdog in the divisional round matchup against the Falcons despite being the No. 1 seed in the NFC.
And after Minnesota escaped their divisional game with New Orleans on a last-second touchdown heave from Case Keenum, the Vikings were feeling like a team of destiny. But the Eagles ended that hope with a defensive touchdown and turned the rest over to Foles, who expertly dissected Minnesota’s top-ranked defense.
The game turned on Minnesota’s second possession after the Vikes marched the length of the field for the opening points. The Eagles punted on their first drive, only to have Patrick Robinson come up with the play that turned things around. With Keenum’s arm getting hit by Chris Long, Robinson easily intercepted the pass and weaved 50 yards for the game-tying score. The play started a rally that saw the Eagles score the next 31 points with Foles tossing three scoring passes.
The Eagles had success shutting down Keenum, holding him to 271 yards on 28 of 48 passing, but they get the GOAT in the Super Bowl and the defense better be prepared to play. Philly has been strong all season and they played well in both playoff contests. But facing Tom Brady and the Patriots offense will be a different challenge.
If there was any doubt as to Brady’s greatness, that was extinguished against the Jags in the AFC Championship. Brady led two scoring drives in the final 8:44 to come back from a 20-10 deficit against a solid Jags defense and the Pats earned their record 10th Super Bowl appearance with eight of them coming under Brady’s watch.
You don’t get into a game of this magnitude without having stellar quarterback play and both starters were fabulous in the conference championship games. Of course, you have to give the edge to the Pats behind Brady, who will be playing in his eighth Super Bowl while Foles will be making just his fourth career postseason start.
After limping down the home stretch and through the divisional round win over the Falcons, Foles was on fire against the Vikings’ dominant D, throwing for 352 yards and three touchdowns on 26 of 33 passing. Foles was steady in the pocket and on target with his throws, something he’ll need to be against the Pats.
And Brady was Brady in the Pats comeback win, directing a pair of fourth quarter touchdown drives to overcome a 20-10 deficit. He threw for 290 yards and didn’t seem bothered by a hand injury sustained earlier in the week. The break before Super Bowl LII should give his hand enough time to heal and the Eagles could be in trouble.
Eagles vs. Patriots Free Picks
Playing as underdogs has inspired the Eagles and they’ll be spotted points again by every top NFL sportsbook as they make their third ever Super Bowl appearance. Their run through the NFC came as a surprise to many after Carson Wentz was shelved late in the season, but Philly is much more than just a quarterback. The Eagles owned the league’s best run game and their defense was severely undervalued during the season.
When the chips were down the Eagles made it work, hammering the Vikings top-ranked defense with Foles being surgeon-like. And what more needs to be said about Jim Schwartz’s defense? They forced turnovers that led to touchdowns and consistently came up with big stops. Things will be a bit different this time around against Brady, but nothing has deterred the Eagles this season and the Patriots aren’t about to do it now.
NFL ATS Pick: Take the points with Philadelphia at BookMaker.eu
NFL Score Prediction: Eagles 24, Patriots 21