On Sunday, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will square off in Super Bowl LII, which will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Both teams finished as the top seed in their respective conferences. The Patriots will be vying for their sixth Super Bowl victory, which would tie them with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most all-time. Meanwhile, the Eagles are still looking for their first Super Bowl victory.
Back in 2005, the Patriots and Eagles faced off in Super Bowl XXXIX, in which the Patriots emerged victorious, winning their third Super Bowl in four years. Fast forward 13 years, and nearly every player on both teams is new.
The ageless wonder is at it yet again, as Brady will be the oldest quarterback to start a Super Bowl (40 years, 185 days), and is looking to expand on his record of five Super Bowl rings (no other quarterback has more than four).
As for Philadelphia, the Eagles have been relying on Nick Foles throughout the playoffs, as their original starter, Carson Wentz, suffered a torn ACL during a week 14 victory over the Rams. Foles, a former Rams starter himself, led the Eagles to convincing victories over the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons, and the dominant Minnesota Vikings.
One of the biggest battles that will take place on Super Bowl Sunday will be found in the trenches, where the defensive line of the Eagles, one of the most dangerous in all of the NFL, faces off against the offensive line of New England, whom have been able to give Brady just enough time in the pocket to make the throws he has for 18 years. Defensive ends Chris Long (who won a Super Bowl with New England last year), and Brandon Graham combined for 14.5 sacks, while defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has been interior lineman’s worst nightmare. If the Patriots can hold the defensive line in check, and give Brady just five seconds, it’ll be up to the secondary of the Eagles to do the rest of the work in stopping the multi-talented Patriots’ offense.
Another key battle will be how well Foles can handle the pressure of playing in the biggest game of them all. It will be his first Super Bowl appearance, let alone his first start, and his playoff experience pales in comparison to his opposing quarterback in Brady. However, doubters heading into the NFC Championship were silenced when he picked apart the stout Vikings defense in a blowout victory.
When these two teams faced off 13 years ago, it was a close battle that ended in a Patriots 24-21 victory. Expect the same type of game tomorrow, with clutch plays in crucial moments, and with defense holding both teams’ potent offenses in check most of the game