The Orion

Despite strong postseason, Eagles still face uphill battle in Super Bowl LII

Rob Gronkowski celebrating a touchdown with his celebratory

Rob Gronkowski celebrating a touchdown with his celebratory "Gronk-Spike." Photo credit Adam Glanzman. courtesy of Getty Images

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On Feb. 4, the defending champions, the New England Patriots, will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles. Kickoff is scheduled at 3:30 p.m. PST and will be held at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Both teams finished the regular season 13-3.

The Patriots won the Super Bowl in 2017 and 2015 and have become a favorite in the NFL. Their passing game is the best in the league and 40-year-old quarterback, Tom Brady, doesn’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon.

He led the league in yards per game this year with 286.1 and plays with receivers Danny Amendola, Brandin Cooks and Chris Hogan to throw to. Despite leaving the AFC Championship with a concussion, tight end Rob Gronkowski appears ready to go and is always one of Brady’s main options.

The Philadelphia Eagles, on the other hand, have never won a Super Bowl. They last appeared in a Super Bowl in 2005 and lost to the Patriots with a score of 21-24.

They will look to redeem themselves this year behind quarterback Nick Foles, who has been outstanding in the playoffs so far, following the injury to starter Carson Wentz. He is averaging 299 yards per game and has a completion of 77.8 percent. Foles’ top receiving options include Alshon Jeffrey, Nelson Agholor, and tight end Zach Ertz.

For the Patriots, the winning recipe is simple. They need to play adequate defense and keep the game within reach at the end of the first half. If they can do that, Brady will likely take over in the second half. He is notorious for his clutch second half play, and has shown over the years that a Patriots’ comeback is often inevitable.

For the Eagles, winning is more difficult. They need to do a lot of things right on defense, particularly in the second half. If they can effectively pressure Brady and make him feel uncomfortable in the pocket, then they have a legitimate chance at winning the game.

It is also important for running back, Jay Ajayi, to get off to a hot start because that will open up the Eagles’ passing game. Nick Foles has shown the ability to make big passes, so opening up the field is a must for the Eagles.

It’s fair to say that most fans will be rooting for the Eagles on Super Bowl Sunday, but they shouldn’t count their blessings too early with miracle man Tom Brady around.

Austin Schreiber can be reached at [email protected] or @aschreiber94 on Twitter.

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Despite strong postseason, Eagles still face uphill battle in Super Bowl LII