It is finally here! Welcome to Talking Touchdowns, SUPER BOWL Edition! After a long, hard fought season, we have two teams left fighting to keep their Super Bowl dreams alive, as the New England Patriots are taking on the Philadelphia Eagles.
Super Bowl LII
Before we get into the game, here are some details about Super Bowl LII.
1. Super Bowl LII will be held in the tropical paradise of Minneapolis Minnesota at newly opened US Bank Stadium. This is only the 5th Super Bowl to be played in a cold weather city and the second in Minneapolis.
2. Justin Timberlake will perform the half-time show. This is his third time performing at the big game and first since the infamous “wardrobe malfunction.” Also, NBC will host this year’s Super Bowl with Al Michaels and Chris Collinsworth in the booth to call the game. Kickoff will be 6:30 ET / 3:30 PT.
3. This is a rematch of the Patriots’ 24-21 victory over the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. This game is best remembered for TO’s comeback from a major knee injury and Donovan McNabb allegedly throwing up in the huddle in the waning moments of the game. If this game lives up to the last one, we are in for a treat.
4. Changing sidelines. Two Eagles players won a Super Bowl title last year with the Patriots: running back LeGarrette Blount and defensive lineman Chris Long. Both have been instrumental in this year’s Eagles Super Bowl run.
5. Finally, only nine teams have won the Super Bowl with a backup quarterback, although only few have journeyman status like Nick Foles. (Jeff Hostetler –Giants, Doug Williams – Redskins & Trent Dilfer – Ravens) Foles does have some great company, including his counterpart, Tom Brady who came off the bench early in 2001 to replace Drew Bledsoe and took the Patriots all the way to a Super Bowl victory against the Rams.
New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles
We have the greatest of all time, Tom Brady vs the “backup” Nick Foles. Yes, the most dominant, successful franchise in 21st century American sports faces a team that has gone 57 seasons without a championship. Let’s dive in.
- The Patriots are headed to their 10th Super Bowl (no other franchise has gone more than eight times). A win in Super Bowl LII will put New England, in a tie with the Steelers’ record for most Lombardi Trophies won (six). This would also be the 6th Super Bowl win for Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.
- If you believe “defense wins championships,” and you may not after the league’s top two defenses lost in the Championship games, this isn’t good news for the Patriots. The defenses that have had the most success against the Patriots can rush four and get pressure on Brady, while dropping seven into coverage. The Philadelphia defense has proven they can do this and have also been physically dominant this season.
- Turnovers will be key. The Eagles forced three against the Vikings, including a pick 6. One stat to look at in the Bill Belichick era is the Patriots are 159-15 when they have a positive turnover differential (-1 against the Jags). So, this is a good place to start when looking at the keys to victory.
- Will Danny Amendola continue to be the X factor for the Pats or will the physicality of the Eagles take him out of the game? Amendola racked up 196 yards and two touchdowns on 18 grabs so far in this postseason.
- The Eagles have proven they are elite and can overcome injuries in critical positions. They lost franchise QB Carson Wentz, left tackle Jason Peters, running back Darren Sproles and linebacker Jordan Hicks before him. Still with Nick Foles providing everything they could have hoped for, the Eagles pushed made it to the Super Bowl for the third time in franchise history.
- Experience and greatness are on the Patriots side here. Remember the Brady-Belichick thing. They’ve dominated the league for the past couple of decades, winning five championships, including one against the Eagles. They are going against legends, and doing so without their best player, Wentz.
- Malcom Jenkins could be the X factor for the Eagles, especially if Gronk plays, and let’s assume he will. If he can keep Gronk in check and Fletcher Cox and team can get to Brady, the Eagles will fly to their first Super Bowl win.
- Nick Foles is a backup going against the greatest of all time. Everyone loves a Cinderella story and Foles has shown he can handle the pressure.
- Doug Pederson has been exceptional in the Playoffs but will be going against, perhaps the greatest coach of all time on the opposite sideline. Andy Reid’s coaching tree has some tremendously talented coaches but only one Super Bowl victory with John Harbaugh. Maybe this is the year they break through again?
Watch for our predictions and enjoy the big game! You know we will! Later Skaters!
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