Super Bowl 52: Eagles vs. Patriots Kickoff Start Time, National Anthem Info

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistJanuary 31, 2018

Defensive end Brandon Graham is the Eagles' best pass-rusher.
Defensive end Brandon Graham is the Eagles' best pass-rusher.Associated Press

The Philadelphia Eagles are playing for the first Super Bowl title in their history, while the New England Patriots are attempting to join the Pittsburgh Steelers as the only franchise to win six Super Bowls in the history of the NFL.

While the Sunday, 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff for Super Bowl LII is still days away, much of the downtime between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl has already ticked away.

The basics of the game plans that both teams will use is in place, but both sides will do fine tuning in the remaining days and hours.

Both sides should be able to move the ball with some regularity. The Eagles have played impressively on the offensive side in their playoff victories over the Atlanta Falcons and the Minnesota Vikings. 

Quarterback Nick Foles was a major force in the 38-7 blowout win over the Vikings in the conference championship game. He threw for 352 yards and had three TD passes.

The Vikings had the top-ranked defense in the league this year, and since the Eagles were able to move the ball efficiently and consistently against that impressive unit, what will they be able to do against the 28th-ranked defense in the league?

New England was awful on defense through the first four games of the season, but they have been more efficient since then. They have allowed 17 points or fewer in 11 of their last 14 games.

Philadelphia clearly has a much better and more impactful defense than the Patriots. The Eagles ranked fourth in yards allowed, and they have been able to launch a consistent pass rush throughout the season. 

Defensive end Brandon Graham is Philadelphia's best pass-rusher, and he had 9.5 sacks during the regular season. Fletcher Cox added 5.5 sacks, while Chris Long and Derek Barnett added 5.0 sacks each.

As strong as the Philadelphia defense is, it's difficult to imagine the Eagles holding Tom Brady and the New England offense in check. Brady has been in pressure situations too many times in his career, and his team's versatile attack will put pressure on the Eagles for 60 minutes.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

Rob Gronkowski expects to play Sunday #SBLII https://t.co/m8EbTRSM35 https://t.co/H9KhUp5xis

Tight end Rob Gronkowski (concussion) could be a difference maker, and he is expected to play after practicing late last week. Danny Amendola, Chris Hogan and Brandin Cooks are solid receivers, while Dion Lewis is a productive running back who gained 896 yards and averaged 5.0 yards per carry in the regular season.

Pink will get the game started with a rousing version of the national anthem. The powerful singer, whose given name is Alecia Beth Moore, follows in the footsteps of some of the top artists in the world who have performed "The Star Spangled Banner" prior to the NFL's premier event.

Darren Rovell @darrenrovell

This Day In 1991: Whitney Houston sings the best rendition of the National Anthem at Super Bowl XXV https://t.co/HKdf14q179

Whitney Houston's version prior to Super Bowl XXV set the standard for all Super Bowl anthems, and other top singers who have performed include Lady Gaga, Luke Bryan, Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Garth Brooks, Beyonce, Christina Aguilera and Mariah Carey.