NFL: Superbowl LII – Monday February 5th 2018

Philadelphia Eagles @ New England Patriots

Monday February 5, 10:30am AEDT

Philadelphia Eagles

Philadelphia broke out of their offensive slump with Nick Foles in a big way with their 38-7 win over the Vikings. The Eagles threw for 346 yards at 10.2yps and held Minnesota to 5.4yps. Overall, they out gained the Vikings 7.1yppl to 5.0yppl. Philadelphia was plus three in turnovers and controlled the clock for about eight minutes longer.

New England

The Pats got a scare in their 24-20 home win over Jacksonville, having to come from a 14-3 deficit. NE averaged 7.1yps which is par for the course but they allowed a very average Jacksonville passing game to throw for 7.0yps. Overall, they out gained Jacksonville 5.6yppl to 5.3yppl, lost the turnover battle by one and saw Jacksonville control the clock for about eight more minutes.

Verdict

My numbers favor NE by 4.5 points and project about 51 points. I don’t have any situations on this game.

This will be the eighth SB for Brady and Belichick. In the first seven SB’s these two have played and coached in NE has failed to score in the first quarter of each game. Does that mean anything for this game? Not really. In their last four SB’s they have either scored on a drive that started in the first quarter but took them into the second quarter where they scored very early in the second quarter or turned it over twice in scoring range in the first quarter. Bottom line is it isn’t because they have started slow or been conservative. They twice have driven and turned it over. That doesn’t have anything to do with being conservative. One other time their opponent started the game with a nine minute drive. The Pats scored a touchdown on their first possession but started the drive with only six minutes left in the first quarter. That doesn’t mean they won’t see another game where they won’t score in the first quarter but if they don’t it won’t be because they were conservative to start the game.

The Pats seven SB’s with Brady have also seen the second half score more points than the first half in 5 of 6 games with one game the same amount of points in each half. Each game has seen three or fewer points scored in the first quarter with the exception of the 2012 NE/NYG game which saw 9 points scored. That 2012 game went under the total despite being the highest first quarter of these seven games. Despite scoring three or fewer points in six of the seven games, those six games were still 3-3 to the over/under. So, even if this game gets off to a slow start, there is still a decent chance it can go over the total and you may want to look at in game total betting as a great opportunity if the game starts off slow. The other note about SB’s in the last 19 years is the second half has outscored the first half to the tune of 14-4-1. Meaning, in 14 games the second half has been the higher scoring half, 4 games the first half and 1 game they scored the same amount in each half. The second half total in this game is likely to be around 24.5, give or take. In 12 of those same 19 SB’s the second half has scored 25 or more points. For NE SB’s, they scored more than 24 points in 3 of the 7 SB’s.

One other note you’ve likely seen the last few weeks is all of NE’s SB’s with Brady and Belichick have been close games. They have won every game by 3, 4 or 6 points. The six points was last year in OT, which could have easily been a three point game. The four points was against Seattle where Seattle threw the interception on the one yard line in the final minute of the game so they could have easily lost that game. And, their two losses were by 3 and 4 points, which they could have easily won as well. Does that mean they will play another close game? Not at all. But, NE has played the majority of their playoff games in the Brady and Belichick era at home. Naturally, like many teams, they play very well at home and not as well on the road. So, when they have gone to the SB, which is a neutral site game, these games have played closer because they are no longer at home, In fact, in their last five playoff games on the road (non SB games) NE is just 1-4 SU with the only win by three points over SD, who should have defeated NE but for a fumbled interception return when the player just needed to take a knee and SD would have run the clock out. This is going all the way back to 2006 to show just how many games NE plays at home in the playoffs. So, it may not be a complete coincidence that their SB games are closer than some think they may be. The Pats are 5-2 SU in the SB with Brady but just 1-4 ATS as a favorite in the SB and 2-0 as a dog in the SB. Don’t be surprised if this is another close game.

Philadelphia has looked good in the playoffs, especially on the defensive side of the ball. They held Atlanta to 10 points and Minnesota to 7 points. And, Atlanta scored their lone touchdown off a turnover that set them up with a short field. I don’t think there is any question the Eagles defense is good but their numbers are very different when looking at them at home and on the road. In 10 home games Philadelphia allowed one or less offensive touchdowns in 8 of those 10 games. On the road they allowed 3 or more touchdowns in 5 of their 7 road games. I took out the Dallas road game because the Cowboys were missing their key players on offense in that game. NE scored 2 or more touchdowns in 7 of their 8 road games. The only game they were held to one touchdown was at Tampa and Gronkowski missed that game. They scored 3 touchdowns or more in 5 of their 7 road games with Gronkowski. There is a very good chance NE gets to 3 or more touchdowns in this game. It’s also very likely they will kick a couple of field goals. They kicked 2 or more field goals in 7 of their 8 road games this year. NE should get to at least 27 points in this game.

The real question in this game comes down to Nick Foles and the Philadelphia offense. If Carson Wentz was playing quarterback there wouldn’t be any doubt in my mind they would get to at least 24 points in this game. But, Foles has been both great and horrible in the four games he’s started and finished. They scored 34 points at the Giants (a couple of short fields leading to touchdowns following turnovers), 19 points at home against Oakland (final 6 were scored on a defensive touchdown), 15 at home against Atlanta and 38 at home against Minnesota.

I have all the confidence in the world in Doug Pederson to develop a game plan that will allow Nick Foles to succeed. The other major question mark in this game is how good is the NE defense? We saw the Patriots defense get shredded in the first four games of the season. Following those first four games they allowed only 14 points per game in their last 14 games of the season. Philadelphia scored on 40% of their drives this season and in the four games Foles started and finished they scored on 42% of their drives, including 53% of their drives in the playoffs. So, the Eagles scoring percentage on drives have still been pretty good with Foles. For NE only 5 of their 18 games played this year came against teams in the top 13 in percentage of drives that ended in a score. In other words teams who scored on at least 37% of their drives. In those five games, they allowed 42, 20, 24, 7 and 33 points. I could add one more as Houston was the fifth best scoring team from a drive percentage when DeShaun Watson played (43.4%). They allowed 33 points to the Texans and Watson that game. NE is well coached and will be a boatload for Nick Foles and Doug Pederson but Pederson has a very creative offensive mind and should be able to set up Nick Foles in favorable situations that will allow him to succeed in this game. And, as listed above, when NE has faced the better offenses in the league they haven’t been nearly as good. I think there is a very good chance Philadelphia gets to at least 20 points in this game and likely at least 23 points in this game.

NE won’t be facing Doug Marrone and his conservative play calling this week. It blows my mind that Doug Marrone would take a knee with 55 seconds remaining in the first half and two timeouts. Possessions are too valuable in the NFL. I’m sure that Doug Marrone would have taken the ball at the end of the game if the officials would have said you could have one more possession with 55 seconds remaining and two timeouts left. While they had just given up a touchdown to NE they were still ahead in the game and playing well. They actually were very creative in the first half with their play calling. They had scored on 50% of their drives in the first half leading up to those kneel downs. Meanwhile a few hours later in Philadelphia Doug Pederson had three timeouts remaining, the ball at his 20 yard line but only 29 second remaining in the first half and he put the pedal to the metal and stayed aggressive, leading his team to a last second field goal at the end of the first half to increase his teams lead from 21-7 to 24-7. Night and day difference between those two coaches. NE still has the better coach in this game but at least Doug Pederson will present a challenge to Bill Belichick.

These are two offensive minded head coaches and knowing NE’s propensity to never quit and come from behind late in games, Doug Pederson won’t play this game conservatively. Both offenses are very good. Both defenses are very good but have question marks when they either face another good offensive team or play away from their friendly confines. It’s hard to go against NE in this game not knowing exactly what we will get out of Nick Foles but if Foles plays a very good game, Philadelphia has the chance to win this game.


Betting Strategy

Forecast

NEW ENGLAND 27 PHILADELPHIA 24

Best Bet

 BACK Philadelphia/New England Over 48 points


Related Articles

NFL: Conference Championship Round – Monday January 22 2018

Champion Bets preview the 2018 Conference Championship matches.

Read More

Super Bowl LI – New England Patriots v Atlanta Falcons

New England averaged 31 points per game against teams allowing 23 points per game and Atlanta averaged 34 points ...

Read More

NFL Playoffs: Conference Championship 2017

Whichever teams defence steps up and looks like they have played as of late will win this game. I ...

Read More