The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles meet on Sunday in Super Bowl LII in a rematch from 2005.
The only links between the two encounters are Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. The Patriots’ winning machine has crunched through the subsequent decade, splattering the dreams of everyone from the Eagles to the Seahawks to the Falcons under its wheels.
At U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis on Sunday, Brady and Belichick will play in their eighth Super Bowl as quarterback and head coach of the Patriots. While Brady insists he can play on into his mid-40s, it appears that this dynasty isn’t going to last too many more years—certainly according to Seth Wickersham’s January piece for ESPN claiming tensions between the two.
While Brady has had another stellar year, he has shown signs of fallibility—in the Patriots’ first game of the season, for instance, against the Kansas City Chiefs. But when it comes to the biggest games, there’s still no one you would rather have under center than Brady, and no better coach at scheming gameplans or keeping ice-cold under pressure than Belichick.
That said, if anyone has the ability to stop the Patriots it’s the Eagles, who have famously never won a Super Bowl. Doug Pederson’s team is especially strong across a defensive line anchored by Fletcher Cox, the All-Pro defensive tackle. If the Eagles can collapse the pocket on Brady and harry him, they can beat the Patriots. Remember the Jacksonville Jaguars pushed New England close in the AFC Championship game, and Philadelphia is a better team than Jacksonville.
In an interview with the New York Post this week, former NFL quarterback Chris Simms described the Eagles as "a very uncomfortable matchup for the Patriots." Simms also said, "This is the least talented Patriots team that’s been to the Super Bowl in the Brady-Belichick era."
And yet Simms still picked New England to come through.
The Eagles may be able to stop Brady and the Patriots from scoring but they will also need offense of their own. With Nick Foles liable to produce either brilliance or woefulness and not much in between, Philadelphia will probably lean on the power running between the tackles of Jay Ajayi and LeGarrette Blount’s ability in the endzone.
NBC and its local affiliates will be showing the Super Bowl this year—kickoff is at 6.30 p.m. E.T.—with the preshow beginning on NBC at 1 p.m. E.T. Those who want to stream the game on the go can do so via the NBC Sports app and on its website, NBCSports.com.