The NFL season meets it’s end in Minnesota Sunday night, as the Patriots and Eagles compete for the top prize in football. It’s a totally different experience for both teams: the Eagles have never won a Super Bowl in franchise history, while the Patriots are seeking their sixth Super Bowl under Bill Belichick.
The Patriots have the quarterback and that experience. That’s enough to make them the Vegas favorites, as oddsmakers see the Patriots as a four-point favorite heading into the game.
The scoring total is set to 48.5, as both teams have proved explosive on offense this season. The difference is that the Eagles are one of the best first half scoring teams in the league, while the Patriots have dominated their opponents in the fourth quarter.
For the Eagles, their success is directly tied to Nick Foles. The former backup has had low points stepping in for Carson Wentz this season, but played one of the best games of his career against the Vikings in the NFC Championship. Foles is normally shaky on his deep passing, but hit multiple long throws against a strong Vikings secondary.
If Foles and the Eagles can carry that explosiveness into the Super Bowl, they could score all night. The Patriots are vulnerable to a spread offense, and the Eagles are more than comfortable running three-plus receiver sets.
When the Patriots have the ball, it’ll be interesting to see if they try to run the football against the top-ranked Eagles run defense. The Patriots have shown numerous times that they have no problem attempting more than 50 passes, as Brady has eclipsed that mark in the previous two Super Bowls.
Of all the positions to keep an eye on, the tight end matchup is particularly interesting. Rob Gronkowski is regarded as the best tight end in football, but left the AFC Championship with a concussion. Zach Ertz is also regarded as an elite tight end, and could own the middle of the field against a lenient Patriots defense.
Patriots vs. Eagles Prediction
The matchup comes down to preparation, where the Patriots are the masters. It’s not just about the pregame prep, where Eagles coach Doug Pederson is very strong, but in the halftime adjustments, where Belichick is as good as anyone. The Patriots are a notoriously sluggish team early in Super Bowls, where the Eagles are usually strong early. I expect the same thing to play out, but in typical Patriots fashion, for the momentum to slowly turn in the second half. The extended halftime, which is known to catch players off guard, will be a stressor for the Eagles and workmanlike for the Patriots. They are too familiar with the situation, and will be prepared for everything that rattles Super Bowl debutants.
Prediction: Patriots 31, Eagles 28. Eagles Cover +4, Total Goes Over