The New England Patriots are looking for their sixth world title. The Philadelphia Eagles are looking for their first.
Will the Patriots turn Super Bowl LII into a repeat of Super Bowl XXXIX when they defeated the Eagles 24-21 -- or will Philly finally get over the hump in its third Super Bowl appearance? Here are a pair of predictions for Sunday's showdown in Minneapolis from the ABC15 sports team.
ABC15 sports anchor Jason Snavely
If I told you a month ago the Philadelphia Eagles would be in this year’s Super Bowl, they’d be without their star quarterback Carson Wentz, a Hall of Fame tackle, and one of their top linebackers -- and they’d be taking on Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots -- would you have thought the Eagles stood a chance? Neither would I. And frankly, I still don’t think they stand a chance.
I think people are really over-analyzing the Eagles’ win over the Vikings. Impressive, yes. But let’s not make this team into something they’re not. This is the same quarterback that was downright awful against the Oakland Raiders just over a month ago. This is the same defense that gave up a combined 53 points to Eli Manning and the horrendous New York Giants in 2017.
Everyone loves an underdog story, and I for one would love to see Nick Foles become the biggest Philadelphia sports hero since Rocky Balboa, but I just don’t see it happening. I think the Patriots win this game comfortably, Beli and Brady hoist the Lombardy Trophy for the third time in four years, and maybe -- just maybe -- one of them rides off into the sunset.
Patriots 34, Eagles 24
ABC15.com sportswriter Shane Dale
The good news for this UA alum is that, either way, an Arizona Wildcat will win his first Super Bowl on Sunday. Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski already has two rings, but either Eagles QB Nick Foles or Patriots linebacker (and Goodyear Millennium High School alum) Marquis Flowers will become a world champ for the first time.
According to history (and Vegas oddsmakers), Flowers and the Pats will cruise to victory. To note that they have the better coach and the better quarterback is to note that Goliath had a slight height advantage on David. But let's list a few reasons why the Eagles have a shot:
-The Eagles are better than the Patriots in nearly every defensive statistical category, especially on the ground. Philly boasted the NFL's best rushing defense in the regular season; the Patriots were 20th.
-The Eagles had the better regular-season turnover margin. Teams that have won the turnover battle in the Super Bowl have gone on to win roughly three-quarters of the time.
-Foles isn't an elite quarterback, but he's played like one lately. He and Joe Montana are now the only players in NFL history to complete at least 75 percent of their passes in consecutive playoff games.
So, yes, Eagles fans have plenty of reason to believe their team will finally win its first world title -- except for that whole Brady/Belichick thing. Also, Gronkowski is set to play after clearing concussion protocol. Advantage: Gronk, Flowers and the Pats.
Patriots 23, Eagles 14