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Super Bowl 52: Eagles vs. Patriots Opening Night Location and Times

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 29, 2018

Philadelphia Eagles' Nick Foles answers a reporter's question at a news conference Wednesday Jan.24, 2018 in Philadelphia. The Eagles face the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma)
Jacqueline Larma/Associated Press

To say Super Bowl 52 has a wealth of storylines would be an understatement. 

There is the game itself, of course. But the dynasty of the New England Patriots is once again under question thanks to a strong opponent and otherwise.

Said strong opponent is a Philadelphia Eagles team fully embracing the underdog status, which offers its own layer of intrigue. 

The march to the Super Bowl starts Monday night, at least officially, when players and all sorts of personalities show up for Opening Night.  

           

2018 Super Bowl

Date: Sunday, Feb. 4

Location: U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis

Kickoff Time: 6:30 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

Odds: Patriots -4.5, Over/Under 48

         

Opening Night Preview 

Doors Open: Monday, 6:30 p.m. ET

Where: Xcel Energy Center in Saint Paul, Minnesota

Eagles Interviews: 8 p.m. ET

Patriots Interviews: 10 p.m. ET

WatchNFL Network and ESPN2

             

The interviews for both teams should offer plenty of entertainment for fans willing to stay up through it all. 

For the Eagles, the underdog role is so potent now players themselves will surely have masks on during Monday night's events, just as they did after playoff games, as NFC Sports Philadelphia captured: 

NBC Sports Philadelphia @NBCSPhilly

Still in your dog mask and Eagles jersey. That is, if you made it into work today. 😏 https://t.co/bKyisM5jIw

These Eagles are underdogs in large part because MVP contender Carson Wentz went down with a season-ending knee injury after throwing 33 touchdowns and just seven interceptions. Yet here are these Eagles with Nick Foles under center and dog masks on deck—they outlasted the Atlanta Falcons in 15-10 fashion, then stomped a strong Minnesota Vikings defense 38-7 by way of three Foles touchdown passes. 

Philadelphia is a strong culmination of team building done the right way at every level of an organization, even if they won't brag about it during Monday's event. The front office added guys like Foles, LeGarrette Blount, Alshon Jeffery, Timmy Jernigan, Chris Long and Patrick Robinson recently, to name a few key pieces. 

Then, head coach Doug Pederson pulled off a masterful job with Foles under center, installing plenty of read-pass option looks (RPO) and keeping an elite offense going. In fact, Pederson isn't much of an underdog Monday, even in the same ring as Bill Belichick, considering what he's accomplished. 

Dave Zangaro of NBC Sports Philadelphia listed a few of the achievements: 

Dave Zangaro @DZangaroNBCS

Sean McVay did a great job this year but... • Doug Pederson’s team beat McVay’s head to head • Pederson’s team beat the team that knocked the Rams out • Pederson lost his QB, LT, MLB, RB, ST ace, K • Pederson is taking a Nick Foles-led team to the SB https://t.co/7YgMSICpuI

Of course, quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo will likely see some questions about his future after the part he's played in this Foles surprise. He's a free agent of sorts going into the offseason. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz could see a question or two about this as well. 

When it comes to future-minded questions, though, most of those will get heaved at the Patriots. 

After all, who could forget the odd story about a tug of war going on in Foxborough, first reported by Seth Wickersham of ESPN?

Not that we can expect to hear much about potential drama between Tom Brady, Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft, but it likely won't stop those in attendance from sending a few questions their way. 

The speculation about changes or drama doesn't stop there for the Patriots, not with Belichick understudies once again a major talking point when it comes to head-coach opportunities.

Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia sounds on his way to serving as head coach of the Detroit Lions, according to Adam Schefter of ESPN, while offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will likely grab the same position with the Indianapolis Colts, again per Schefter.

Realistically, though, fans can expect to hear more about Brady's hand than anything pertaining to the future of the Patriots, seeing as they're more likely to get traction and actual responses there. 

Brady's hand, of course, suffered a gash before the AFC title game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Sporting a black bandage on said throwing hand, Brady still tossed two touchdowns, leading the Patriots to a come-from-behind victory courtesy of 14 fourth-quarter points—despite not having Rob Gronkowski on the field for most of the game due to injury. 

Those Jaguars likely would have made Opening Night a little more interesting via some Jalen Ramsey trash talk, whereas this matchup will breed more of a mutual-respect vibe, as a quote provided by Michael Giardi of NBC Sports Boston illustrates: 

Michael Giardi @MikeGiardi

"Even though I hate the Patriots, I love Tom Brady." - Torrey Smith of the Eagles. "Tom Brady's been to more Super Bowls than I've played years in the league. That's pretty crazy."

And why not? The Eagles might not have the offensive firepower to intimidate an opponent, but the defense certainly remains its elite self and can force quarterbacks into mistakes. 

The chess match befitting of a Lombardi Trophy will come down to whether Brady can diagnose the pressure and hurt the Eagles. A gut reaction says he can, but this isn't the first time he's encountered a strong NFC East defense in a Super Bowl. 

The first step on the march to this particular chess match happens Monday night, where fans can expect plenty of hype and vague answers from two deserving teams. 

       

Stats courtesy of NFL.com. Odds according to OddsShark.

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