2018 NFL Playoffs
Super Bowl LII
#1 Philadelphia Eagles vs #1 New England Patriots
Sunday, February 4, 2018, 6:30 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
U.S. Bank Stadium – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Opening Line: New England -6
Current Line: New England -4 1/2
Opening Total: 47
Current Total: 48 1/2
Opening Money Line: Patriots -255 / Eagles +215
Current Money Line: Patriots -200 / Eagles +170
Both the NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles and AFC Champion New England Patriots are 15-3 this season as they meet in the Super Bowl Sunday night in Minneapolis. The Patriots are the first NFL team to play in ten Super Bowls, New England is 5-4 with all five titles coming under coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady. The Eagles are playing in their third Super Bowl but are 0-2. The Eagles are looking for their first title of any kind since 1960.
The Eagles lead the series 7-6 against the Patriots. Philadelphia won the last meeting 35-28 in 2015 in Foxborough to snap a four game losing streak against New England. The Patriots beat the Eagles 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005.
Philadelphia is coached by Doug Pedersen. The Eagles won the NFC East and were the number one seed in the NFC playoffs. However, after quarterback Carson Wentz suffered a late season torn ACL, the Eagles struggled on offense. Philadelphia was actually a home underdog in both playoff games. After a first round bye, Philadelphia beat the #6 seed Atlanta Falcons 15-10 in the Divisional round. In the NFC Championship game, two weeks ago in Philadelphia the Eagles crushed the #2 seed Minnesota Vikings 38-7. The Vikings scored first, but after Minnesota quarterback Case Keenum threw a pick six, the Eagles would score 38 unanswered points. The Vikings were three point favorites and the total was 39.
In the regular season, the Eagles had road losses at the Kansas City Chiefs 27-20 and Seattle Seahawks 24-10, plus a home loss to the Dallas Cowboys 6-0. The Eagles had road wins at the Washington Redskins 30-17, Los Angeles Chargers 26-24, Carolina Panthers 28-23, Dallas Cowboys 37-9, Los Angeles Rams 43-35 and New York Giants 34-29, plus home wins over the Giants 27-24, Arizona Cardinals 34-7, Redskins 34-24, San Francisco 49ers 33-10, Denver Broncos 51-23, Chicago Bears 31-3 and Oakland Raiders 19-10. Philadelphia is 12-6 ATS and the total is 9-9 this season.
New England is coached by Bill Belichick. The Patriots won the AFC East for the ninth straight season and were the #1 seed in the AFC. There were reports of some dissension between Belichick, Brady, and owner Robert Kraft. It didn’t matter as the Patriots’ machine just kept rolling. After a first round bye, the Patriots cruised to a 35-14 win over the #5 seed Tennessee Titans in the Divisional round. Two weeks ago, the Patriots hosted the #3 seed Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC Championship game. Jacksonville led 20-10 in the fourth quarter but the young Jaguars became too conservative. The patriots would score two fourth quarter touchdowns to come back and win 24-20. New England was a 7.5 point favorite and the total was 46.
In the regular season, the Patriots have home losses to the Kansas City Chiefs 42-27 and against the Carolina Panthers 33-30, plus a road loss at the Miami Dolphins 27-20. New England had road wins over the New Orleans Saints 36-20, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 19-14, New York Jets 24-17, Denver Broncos 41-16 and Buffalo Bills 23-3 and Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24, plus home wins over the Houston Texans 36-33, Atlanta Falcons 23-7, Los Angeles Chargers 21-13, Oakland Raiders 33-8, Dolphins 35-17, Bills 37-16 and Jets 26-6. The Patriots have won five straight games 13 of the last 14 games. The Patriots are 12-6 ATS and the over is 8-10 this season.
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Philadelphia is outscoring teams 29-18 this season. The Eagles are #3 in scoring and #4 in points allowed. Philadelphia averages 366 total yards per game including 234 passing and 132 rushing yards. The Eagles are in the top seven in total and rushing offense. The Eagles allow 307 yards per game on defense including 227 passing and 79 rushing yards. Philadelphia is #1 in rush defense, and #4 in total defense. Philadelphia is 113/256 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 70/223. The Eagles have forced 38 sacks and allowed 36 this season. Philadelphia is +11 in turnovers and has scored 6 defensive touchdowns. The have also allowed 3 defensive touchdowns
Quarterback Carson Wentz has completed 60.2% of his passes for 3,296 yards with 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions, and has 299 rushing yards on 64 carries. He has been sacked 28 times. Wentz was a contender for the MVP but tore his ACL a few weeks ago. Nick Foles is now the quarterback. He has completed 56.4% of his passes for 537 yards with 5 touchdowns and two interceptions. He has been sacked five times. Foles is probable with a rib injury. Nate Sudfield is the back-up.
Running back LaGarrette Blount has 173 carries for 766 yards and 2 touchdowns, plus a touchdown catch. He played for the Patriots for many seasons. The Eagles acquired Jay Ajayi from the Dolphins just before the trade deadline. He has 70 carries for 408 yards and a touchdown, plus 10 catches for 91 yards and a touchdown. He is probable with an ankle injury. Corey Clement has 74 carries for 321 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 10 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Wendell Smallwood has 47 carries for 174 yards and a touchdown, plus 13 catches for 103 yards. Darren Sproles has 15 carries for 61 yards, plus 7 catches for 61 yards. He is out for the season with a torn ACL. Donnel Pumphrey is also out for the season with a hamstring injury
Tight end Zach Ertz has 74 catches for 828 yards and 8 touchdowns. Receiver Alshon Jeffrey has 57 catches for 789 yards and 9 touchdowns. Nelson Agholor has 62 catches for 768 yards and 8 touchdowns. Torrey Smith has 36 catches for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns. Trey Burton has 23 catches for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns. Mack Hollins has 16 catches for 226 yards and a touchdown. Ten defensive players are listed on the injury report. Kicker Caleb Sturgis is out indefinitely with a quad injury.
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New England is outscoring opponents 29-19 this season. The Patriots are #2 in scoring and #5 in points allowed. New England averages 394 yards per game on offense including 276 passing and 11 rushing yards. New England is #1 in total and #2 in passing offense. Even the rushing game is #10. The Patriots are allowing 366 yards per game on defense including 251 passing and 115 rushing yards. New England is #20 or worse in all three categories. The Patriots are 90/215 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 92/231. New England has forced 42 sacks and allowed 35 this season. The Patriots are +6 in turnovers, but have allowed three defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Tom Brady has completed 66.3% of his passes for 4,577 yards with 32 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, along with 25 carries for 28 rushing yards. He has been sacked 35 times. He is still battling a hand injury suffered during practice for the Jacksonville game plus other assorted injuries associated with being a 40 year old quarterback. He will play. Brian Hoyer is the back-up.
Running back Dion Lewis has 180 carries for 896 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 32 catches for 214 yards and 3 touchdowns. Mike Gillislee has 104 carries for 383 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with a knee injury. Rex Burkhead has 64 carries for 264 yards and 5 touchdowns, plus 30 catches for 254 yards and 3 touchdowns. James White has 43 carries for 171 yards and has 56 catches for 429 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 69 catches for 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns. He suffered a concussion in the Jacksonville game but is listed as probable. He cleared concussion protocol on Thursday. Receiver Brandin Cooks has 65 catches for 1,082 yards and 7 touchdowns. Danny Amendola has 61 catches for 659 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chris Hogan has 34 catches for 439 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with a shoulder injury. Receiver Julian Edelman is out with a torn ACL suffered in the pre-season. Fifteen defensive players and four offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
The underdog is 5-1 ATS in this series recently. The over is 4-1 in the series in the last five games.
The Eagles have embraced the underdog role and the Patriots have no problem being the ultimate villain. Despite not being able to hold on, the Jaguars showed the blueprint to beat the Patriots, ie getting pressure on Brady and controlling the clock. The Eagles are capable of doing just that even with Foles as the quarterback. I think this will be another close game but it is difficult to pick against the Patriots. Almost all of the money is coming in on the Eagles as the line has dropped from 6 to 4.5. I like the Eagles to cover but the Patriots win by a field goal in a rather high scoring game.