Super Bowl LIIis set to go. The teams are decided, the lines are set and the office talk has begun in full fashion. The AFC will be represented by perennial Super Bowl contenders in the New England Patriots while the NFC will see the upstart Philadelphia Eagles making their first appearance in the playoffs since 2013. This contest will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX where the Patriots defeated the Eagles 24-21 in Jacksonville, Fl.
The line opened with the Patriots as a-6 point favorite but has quickly moved down to -5.5 to -5.5 at various offshore shops. The early push is clearly on the Eagles after their defenses dominating performance versus Minnesota in the championship round. The total for the game had a light open at 46.5 and currently sits between 48 to 48.5, depending on the shop.
"Football is a team game and not one man in the history of the Super Bowl era has won Super Bowls, on his own, by himself. It takes a system, it takes a GM that knows how to build a system and..."
The opening line indicates oddsmakers are expecting the possibility of the first back-to-back champion since 2003-2004. And knowing their dominance of the last 15 or so years its no surprise the last team to accomplish this feat was none other than the Patriots. In an ironic twist, that means nothing for this game it was against the Eagles in Super Bowl XXXIX where the Patriots locked up the second championship.
Don’t Sleep On the Eagles
Coming into the game as an underdog should be nothing new to the Eagles at this point in the playoffs(time to break out the dog masks again). They were an underdog versus the Falcons in the divisional round and of course an underdog for the conference championship versus the Vikings. At this point, it’s just bulletin board material for these guys as they try to win the franchise its very first Super Bowl title.
''I think this group of guys is as good as you could ask to be around,'' offensive coordinator Frank Reich said"
The Eagles were supposed to be done when they lost MVP candidate Carson Wentz to an ACL injury. Enter Nick Foles, who has been fantastic this postseason. Minnesota clearly entered the game last week with a plan to make Foles beat them and he clearly rose to the challenge with 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. You have to imagine that the Patriots may try and employ a slightly different strategy. The Eagles run game will be keyed by a few guys very familiar with the Patriots in former Patriot Lagarette Blount and former Dolphin Jay Ajayi.
Philadelphia’s best chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy may come from their defense. The Eagles front four is deep and vicious. They may have only sacked Case Keenum one time in last week’s game but they hit and hurried him often as he also threw two interceptions. Plans to beat the Patriots often focus on being able to generate pressure with your front four and the Eagles have the hogs to do so.
Belichick, Brady, The Patriots….Again
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before but the Patriots are once again representing the AFC in the Super Bowl. And although the Jaguars put up a much better than expected fight once again the Patriots found a way to come back and pull victory when it looked like defeat was looming. The refs, the penalties, whatever you want to say it doesn’t matter at this point as New England is in, once again.
"Flowers has become one of the leaders on a defense that has finally found some stability after struggling to stop teams early in the season. He has helped fill the void created by Dont'a Hightower's season-ending shoulder injury"
The big question for the Patriots will be the health of tight end Rob Gronkowski as he is currently in NFL concussion protocol. The two week period leading up to the Super Bowl will surely help but this is something to keep an eye on.
The injury to Brady’s hand, a major headliner prior to AFC title game, should be a nonstory going forward as stitches will clearly be out with plenty of time to spare before the Super Bowl. Brady’s biggest worry will come from dealing with the Eagles front four and how well his line holds up.
A lot of time before we get to the game, and you know everything you see, read, and hear will be about this game. There is plenty of time for gamblers to watch line movements as a push on each side should be expected before kickoff. And the best part is gamblers have not even reached the fun part of Super Bowl betting yet, props. So get ready, load up your accounts, and start making plays. The most bet on sporting event of the year is here and there are winners to be found.