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Super Bowl 2018: Matchup Date, Odds and Eagles vs. Patriots Breakdown

Brian Marron@@brianmarron398Featured ColumnistJanuary 23, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles celebrates after the NFL football NFC championship game against the Minnesota Vikings Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, in Philadelphia. The Eagles won 38-7 to advance to Super Bowl LII. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
Matt Rourke/Associated Press

Tom Brady playing in his unprecedented eighth career Super Bowl wasn't an outrageous expectation at the beginning of the 2017-18 season, but him taking on Nick Foles? That came out of left field.

Foles has led the Philadelphia Eagles on a surprising run despite entering the playoffs as the No. 1 seed in the NFC.

After stumbling to end the regular season, the Eagles quarterback is now playing at an elite level. However, he will need to elevate his game even more to down a New England Patriots team that has seemed invincible the last two years no matter how dire the circumstances.

As expected, the Eagles will play as considerable underdogs in Minneapolis, according to OddsShark.com.

           

Super Bowl 2018 Schedule, Odds

Date: Sunday, Feb. 4

When: 6:30 p.m. ET

Television: NBC

Odds: Patriots -5, Over/Under 48

             

Great quarterback play is imperative to overcome Brady and the Patriots, and Foles' postseason performance should give Eagles fans some hope of success.

The 29-year-old was pretty much flawless in the NFC title game, going 26-for-33 with 352 yards and three touchdowns. In two playoff games, Foles only has a combined 14 incompletions, and he should be able to have success against a good, but not great, Patriots defense.

New England finished 29th in the NFL in total defense, but it was fifth with just 18.5 points allowed per game.

The Patriots are pretty much the definition of a bend-but-don't-break defense, so it will be important for the Eagles to convert on third down to keep Brady on the sidelines and rack up the yards against New England. Philadelphia then needs to make the most of its red-zone chances. 

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21:  Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots reacts after winning the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Ima
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Speaking of Brady, he continues to play like an MVP at 40 years of age, and his experience in big games has to be a huge boost for the Patriots.

His disparity in production compared to Foles is staggering, with NFL Network's Ian Rapoport noting Brady has more playoff wins, 27, and passing touchdowns, 68, than Foles has in his entire NFL career, including the postseason. 

The crazy part about this postseason is that Brady is essentially providing almost all of his team's offense. 

After posting a pedestrian 3.7 yards per carry as a team in a blowout win over the Tennessee Titans, New England mustered just 46 total rushing yards on 19 carries against a stout Jacksonville Jaguars defense. In the 2018 playoffs, Brady has thrown 91 passes in two games, completing 67 percent of those passes with no picks.

Philadelphia easily led the NFL in rushing defense, conceding just 79.2 yards per game. Thus, it is safe to expect the Eagles to limit the Patriots on Feb. 4, leaving it all on Brady's shoulders to lift New England.

Look for Brady to easily throw over 50 times in this game, which may play into the weakness of the Eagles defense. Philadelphia ranked 17th in the NFL in passing yards allowed while tying for just 15 with 38 sacks.

The quick passing game of the Patriots could cause problems for the Eagles, who may need to bring in extra coverage, thus putting more pressure on their front four to win one-on-one matchups. 

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21:  Rob Gronkowski #87 of the New England Patriots walks off the field after an injury in the second quarter  during the AFC Championship Game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium on January 21, 2018 in Foxborough
Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

The health of Rob Gronkowski is also a major storyline. He is in concussion protocol after leaving Sunday's game, but Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reported Monday the team expects him to play.

Even without Gronkowski, Brady was still able to shred the NFL's best defense for 290 yards and two touchdowns last week.

It is tough to bet against Brady, which is clearly the main reason why New England is favored in this game.

Do not sleep on the Eagles, though. The Patriots defense is not the stalwart of past years, and Philadelphia seems to have found a way to make Foles comfortable the last two weeks.

Expect a tight contest in Minneapolis.

                

Statistics are courtesy of ESPN.com unless otherwise noted. 

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