It’s Super Bowl week! The festivities are kicking off today and it should be a fun week leading up to the big game in Minnesota this Sunday. Unfortunately my Conference Finals picks did not go to plan with the Pats failing to cover the spread and the Vikings getting absolutely destroyed. That rough brings my playoff record back to .500 at 3-3, so it all comes down to the Super Bowl whether I finish above or below .500 for the playoffs.
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New England Patriots vs Philadelphia Eagles
- New England -4.5 (1.87)
- Philadelphia +4.5 (1.95)
The #1 seed from both the AFC and NFC will meet in Super Bowl 52. The big storyline is of course whether Tom Brady and Bill Belichick can add another Super Bowl ring to their collection with a repeat Super Bowl victory and continue to cement their legacy as the best QB and coach in the history of the game. On the other side of the ball the main storyline seems to be whether the Eagles can continue to defy the odds by winning big games without starting QB Carson Wentz and whether Nick Foles can continue to play solid football.
I’m actually surprised that the Pats aren’t bigger favourites than 4.5 points heading into this game. Yes, the Eagles looked great against the Vikings with Foles and company playing exceptional offensively, but I still have the feeling the absence of Carson Wentz will catch up to this team at some point.
The Pats showed again that they are true winners with a ton of resilience after coming back and scoring big points late against the best defense in the league, and that was without Rob Gronkowski. We still don’t know if Gronk will be back for the Super Bowl and we probably won’t know until next weekend, but I think the chances are good that he will find a way to suit up for this big game. That said, even if he does miss the game or gets banged up again the Pats showed they have all the confidence in the world in Danny Amendola making big plays in clutch situations as well.
The Eagles defense has been amazing this post season holding the Falcons and Vikings to 17 total points in their two playoff games, but I don’t expect them to be able to shut down this Pats offense in the same way, especially away from Lincoln Financial Field. The one area where the Eagles defense has had some problems this season is passes to the middle of the season, especially to the tight end. For this reason it’s important that Gronk is at 100%, but as we saw last week, Danny Amendola is also great as a slot receiver and if just one of these two guys has a big game I expect the Pats to find a way to move the ball against this Eagles D.
On the other side of the ball I still think this Pats defense is being underrated due to having some poor games in the first 4 games of the season. From that point on though, this Pats D has been one of the best in the league and seems to get better each week. The 20 points the Jags scored last week was only the 3rd time the Pats have given up 20+ points since week 4. I expect the Pats to keep Ajayi and Blount in check on Sunday and then it will be up to Nick Foles to have a big game to keep pace with Brady and company. I just don’t see it happening.
I like the Pats to cover the spread and repeat as Super Bowl champs. I expect a much better first half than last years game against the Falcons and then I think the Pats will keep finding a way to put up points to get the game out of reach.
Play: Patriots -4.5 (1.87) @ SportsInteraction.com
If you’re ready to bet on the big game check out our step by step guide to betting on Super Bowl 52 for Canadians.