Einstein may or may not have said that “insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results”, but it bears repeating because people still bet against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
Time and time again, the Patriots return from the dead to achieve the most stunning victories. Still, an anonymous mystery bettor recently placed a multi-million dollar wager against the Patriots, perhaps unaware of what New England tends to accomplish in the postseason. Or maybe he has more money than sense? In the sports betting world, Bovada has the Patriots as 4.5 point favorites for Super Bowl LII.
Philly deserves every plaudit for their playoff run, embracing the underdog role despite playing against inferior football teams. However, New England’s a completely different type of challenge, comprised of a deep lineup capable of beating opponents through various styles and strategies.
The Eagles winning their first Super Bowl would be a fantastic story, but the current narrative of the NFL revolves around the ridiculous dominance of the Patriots franchise.
Can’t Beat The Patriots If You Haven’t Seen Them Before
Since 2001, New England’s a perfect 15-0 in the playoffs when lining up against squads which haven’t faced them earlier in the regular season. The Patriots have been mortal when this isn’t the case, with a 12-9 mark in the playoffs against teams they played earlier in the year.
Philly rarely meets New England, facing the Patriots five times since 2000, winning only once. In fact, the circumstances of Super Bowl LII mirror the Eagles and Patriots from Super Bowl XXXIX. Philadelphia beat the Vikings and the Falcons during the 2005 playoffs, before meeting the Patriots in the big game.
New England’s Lost Once To Philly In The Brady Era
Few teams have played well against the New England Patriots during the Tom Brady era, and the Philadelphia Eagles aren’t an exception. The Eagles have won once during their last five meetings with the Patriots, a 35-28 victory in 2015.
Philly beat the Patriots by sacking Brady and forcing Tom into interceptions, while Sam Bradford tossed a clean game, including a pair of TD passes and a 99.3 passer rating. That formula to beating the Patriots hasn’t changed, but numerous personnel shifts have occurred since, and the current version of the Patriots might be the best in franchise history.
Patriots Defense Better Than You Expect
Nick Foles performed extremely well to help lift the Eagles to the Super Bowl without star QB Carson Wentz. Unfortunately for Nick, he’ll be facing a defense that has battened down the hatches since a tough start to the season.
After giving up an embarrassing 32 points per game over the first four games of the season, the Patriots finished the rest of the campaign by allowing a mere 14 points per game. This trend has continued in the playoffs, with New England’s defense restricting the Titans to 14 and the Jaguars to 20 points.
Foles and Ajayi, the Eagles’ main source of yards, will face their biggest challenge of the year, vastly increasing the difficulty of a Philly upset on February 4th.
Easy Eagles Path To The Super Bowl
The Eagles earned every victory on their way to an outstanding season, but not all victories are equal. When you look at Philly’s schedule, you’ll notice that they didn’t clash with many playoff teams during the regular season. Only two of their regular season wins were against post-season clubs, a week six triumph against the Panthers and a week 14 victory over the Rams.
Atlanta gave Philadelphia the strongest challenge of the season, requiring a massive defensive stop at the end of the divisional round to sneak away with the win. The Vikings simply didn’t challenge the Eagles, giving away the NFC championship with lax defense and needless turnovers.
New England will not destroy the Eagles, but the Patriots won’t beat themselves either, especially in the showcase finale.
Pick: New England Patriots -4.5