Super Bowl LII Preview: New England Patriots v Philadelphia Eagles

Superbowl 18

Let’s play a game.

Except in this one, 110 million people will be watching, 1.3 billion chicken wings will be engulfed by the viewers and Justin Timberlake is going to rock up at half time and perform a gig.

Super Bowl, baby! *Inserts American accent*

The staple of American Football, Sunday’s meeting in Minnesota promises to tantalise the taste buds and I’m not just referring to the chicken wings. On paper it shouldn’t be close. The Patriots have made it to 8 Super Bowls, winning 5. The Eagles have only been victorious in 2 NFL Championships – being triumphant most recently in 1960, therefore never winning an actual Super Bowl. A re-run of Super Bowl XXXIX, where New England defeated Philadelphia by a score of 24-21. But this game has no regards for norm, ask Atlanta Falcons – who surrendered a 25 point lead to the Patriots last year – for that.

So who, at the end of Sunday, will be the side to produce the NSync performance to hoist the Vince Lombardi Trophy in victory?

New England, same story?

The Head Coach of the Patriots, Bill Belichick, has created a dynasty. In charge for 18 years, he’s established a winning formula unlikely to be replicated for generations to come. With the mesmeric talents of legendary quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski – they possess the offence and experience the Eagles crave.

However, Belichick has been given a headache – literally – through the concussion of Gronkowski in the AFC Championship clash against the Jacksonville Jaguars two weeks ago. On top of this, Brady’s right hand is still strapped in tape – with Belichick in press conferences hardly calming nerves about his fitness for the game.

Gronkowski is expected to recover and despite Brady’s injury, he was still able to find a mesmeric pass for Danny Amendola to score his 19th touchdown of the season to claw the game away from the Jaguars. It is also commendable to mention James White, who scored three touchdowns in last years Super Bowl and has 6 scores in his past 3 play-off matches.

The Old Master, is always able to find the way.

And if you wanted anymore certainty of a Patriots win, Acara the Orangutan from Salt Lake City Zoo and April the Giraffe from the Animal Adventure Centre in New York have backed Belichick’s side. Paul the Octopus will be turning in his grave if those predictions are right…

Can the Eagles soar?

History certainly is not on Philadelphia’s side. But their fans do not care. In fact in the playoffs Eagles supporters donned dog masks to emphasise their tag as underdogs.

It doesn’t help that the Eagles defeated the Minnesota Vikings to deny the latter a chance to perform at their home Super Bowl. They’re heavily reminded of this; Eagles players were booed at a media conference with Vikings fans in attendance and safety Chris Maragos tweeted about being banned from a Minnesota restaurant. Not ideal preparation. They should expect a frosty reception, not just for the sub-zero temperature expected in the city.

If you want a fairytale, Philadelphia is your team. In the playoffs The Eagles were ruthless, crushing the Vikings by 38 points to 7. With a tight defensive unit spearheaded by Fletcher Cox – they will put up a stern resistance to the Brady weapon.

But it is perhaps the story of quarterback Nick Foles that should intrigue you the most. A back up to the injured Carston Wentz, Foles has only appeared in 3 regular season matches. He exploded into life with an assured performance against the Vikings to guide his team to the championship game. Two quarterbacks have got the Super Bowl with less appearances than Foles, both won. An omen?

Head Coach Doug Pederson is a character within the game. Unlike the strict professionalism in place with Belichick, he wants his side to go and enjoy the Super Bowl experience – however tough the locals try to make it. In recent press conferences we’ve managed to delve more into the character of Pederson, with a resounding confession of his love for ice cream. A promising quarterback in his youth, he’ll be hoping his side have don’t give in to reputation and head back to Philadelphia with their heads in the clouds. It is always sunny in Philly, after all…

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