Both Conference Champions Chasing History
Finally, it’s showtime. Super Bowl LII is just hours away as the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles both chase history.
The AFC champs can tie the NFL record for most Super Bowl victories with six if they can beat the NFC champs in Sunday’s game indoors at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Game time is 6:30 p.m. ET. The Pittsburgh Steelers currently hold the record.
The Eagles (15-3) are trying to win their first Lombardi Trophy in their third attempt. As in their other two playoff games this year, the Eagles are the underdog. The betting line has moved from six points when it was first posted to 4.5 points with the Patriots (15-3) the overwhelming favorites to win their third Super Bowl in four years (odds provided by bovada.lv).
Many multiple million-dollar wagers have reportedly been placed in Las Vegas on the underdogs. Actually, most of the bets have gone the Eagles way. But that’s just a fraction of the wagering on the main event. Most of the big money is still on the sidelines waiting to be played on Super Bowl Sunday.
Resorts on the Strip began preparation on Thursday for their big parties. Some of them are invite-only, but most are not.
This is the biggest betting event of the year, with about $140 million expected to be wagered in Las Vegas on Super Bowl LII. It’s also the most-watched program on television — no other show or event comes close.
The Super Bowl extravaganza last visited Minnesota in January 1992. It was another battle of NFC East versus AFC East when the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills 37-24 in Super Bowl XXVI at the Metrodome.
This is also the 11th time the two conferences from their respective East divisions have met in the championship. Teams from the NFC East have compiled an impressive 8-2 mark in these matchups.
But make no mistake, this is Tom Brady’s show. He has won five Super Bowls and four MVP awards from the game. Obviously, the moment is not too big for him. This is No. 12’s eighth trip to the NFL finals who, at 40 years old, is still putting up hall of fame numbers.
Patriots, Eagles Super Bowl Trivia
- 10,000 yards: Brady needs 279 passing yards to become the first quarterback in NFL history to amass 10,000 career postseason passing yards.
- Second-year coach: Doug Pederson is the 18th head coach to make the Super Bowl within his first two seasons as an NFL head coach. Seven of those coaches won the league final.
- Perfect record: Since 2001, the Patriots are 15-0 in playoff games against teams they did not face in the regular season.
- Winning record: The Eagles are one of two franchises (Vikings) to have a winning record in the Super Bowl era but no Super Bowl wins (405-385-10).
- Most Super Bowls: This is the Patriots 10th Super Bowl appearance, which is the most in NFL history.
The news got better for the Patriots a few days ago when star tight end Rob Gronkowski was cleared from concussion protocol. The No. 1 offense in the league will have all its weapons when it faces the fourth-best defense in the NFL.
Don’t make plans for the Super Bowl parade in Boston just yet, though. The Patriots allowed opposing quarterbacks to produce an 89.5 passer rating this season. Since 2001, Belichick and Brady’s first title together, only the 2008 squad, which failed to qualify for the postseason, was worse (89.8). Not being able to effectively hamper opposing quarterbacks is a problem, one the Eagles and Nick Foles have to take advantage of on Sunday.
The Patriots have lost three Super Bowls in indoor stadiums — once in Indianapolis (2012) and twice in New Orleans (1986, 1997).
They were 8-5 against the spread as a favorite of five points or more in the regular season this year. The Eagles were never a 4.5-point underdog this season.
Whether he likes it or not, this game hinges on the performance of Foles. If he plays like the confident passer that picked apart the Vikings’ defense in the conference championship, the Eagles will win their first Super Bowl. If he plays tentatively like he did during spots of the regular season, they won’t be able to keep up with Brady and Co.
VGB’s pick — Philadelphia (+4.5, +160)