Brady, Foles and Gronkowski feature in our Super Bowl LII lookahead
Nick Murphy | 28 January 2018
Five talking points ahead of the showpiece
The New England Patriots will face the Philadelphia Eagles next weekend to decide the winner of Super Bowl LII.
Both sides finished the regular season with a 13-3 record and excelled in the playoffs to book their place in Minnesota.
The Coral News Team have looked at the key issues and identified five defining stories ahead of the 52nd Super Bowl.
No player in NFL history has ever won six Super Bowls. Currently, Tom Brady and Charles Haley hold the record with five apiece. If the Patriots win next weekend, Brady will eclipse the ex-49ers linebacker and move out in front as the undisputed King of the Super Bowl.
It’s been a long-time coming for the 40-year-old. This is his eighth Super Bowl appearance and his first back-to-back since 2005. Coincidentally that final was also against the Eagles. On that occasion, Brady threw for 236 yards as the Pats edged past their opponents 24-21.
Eagles off the mark?
The Eagles are well overdue a Super Bowl victory. The NFC champions haven’t won the championship game in its 51-year existence. They have come close before, though.
In 1980, they lost out to the dominance of the Oakland Raiders, who won a hat-trick of Super Bowls from 1976 to 1983. More recently in 2004, the Eagles relinquished a 7-0 lead before going onto lose 24-21 to the Brady-inspired Pats.
For a side that have reached the playoffs in 21 NFL seasons, it remains something of a mystery that no Eagles side has ever managed to make the final step to Super Bowl greatness. Could this be their year? They’re 15/8 on the Money Line.
Foles to come of age?
With Carson Wentz out of the picture due to ACL surgery, Nick Foles has stepped up at just the right time for the Eagles. The QB delivered 352 yards and three touchdowns as the Eagles cruised past their opponents and into the Super Bowl.
It was a remarkable performance for a player who has featured just eight times this season. In Wentz’s absence, Foles threatened to be the weak link which lets down this talented Eagles side. But his quality has shone through and the Coral News Team think that his perfect second-half performance against the Vikings is the key to edging past a weak Pats defence.
Gronkowski back for Pats?
Rob Gronkowski’s availability for the Super Bowl remains in doubt. The Pats’ tight end was forced off the field in the second-quarter against the Jaguars after a clash of heads with Barry Church.
He missed last year’s showpiece due to injury and faces a race against time to prove his wellbeing in light of the NFL’s concussion protocol.
His link-up with Brady is a crucial reason behind the Pats’ success this season. The 28-year-old accounts for around a quarter of the team’s receiving yards and has been targeted by the quarterback no-less than 19% of the time so far this season.
The Pats just about coped without Gronkowski against the Jags. They may not get so lucky against an Eagles side with the second-best defence in the competition.
Another win for Belichick?
Bill Belichick is the Super Bowl’s most successful coach. The 65-year-old has won five rings so far, all with the Patriots. That puts him at the top of the tree, ahead of Chuck Noll on four and Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs on three.
He’s the only coach to guide a team to the championship game on eight occasions. And with victory next weekend he could move two-clear of Noll as the Super Bowl’s winning-most coach.
If Belichick can see off the Eagles, he would arguably elevate himself from a great of the game into a legend.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing