The 52nd Super Bowl will be contested by the New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles after a thrilling finish to the NFC and AFC Conferences last weekend. The Patriots produced another stunning comeback to edge the Jaguars 24-20 and are a step closer to repeat Super Bowl victories, while the Eagles now have the chance to lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history as they look to avenge a defeat against the Patriots at the same stage 13 years ago.
The Patriots are big favorites to strengthen their dynasty with another Super Bowl win, but the Eagles have a wild card on their roster that could be the driving force behind a memorable upset. Nick Foles has gone from zero to hero in just a month and will now be pivotal to the Eagles’ hopes of glory. It is quite the journey for the 29-year-old, who has been thrust into the spotlight after an unfortunate injury to number-one quarterback Carson Wentz in early December. Wentz sustained an ACL tear during Week 14, which was a huge blow for the Eagles after he broke Sonny Jurgensen’s 56-year record for most touchdowns in a single season.
Eagles safety Rodney McLeod dedicated the win over the Rams to Wentz but insisted that the team would keep “rolling”. However, there was no Christmas cheer for Foles after lackluster showings against the Raiders and the Cowboys in late December, and there were mumblings that he may not be able to step up to lead the Eagles’ late-season charge. However, the New Year brought belated good tidings as the 29-year-old has since gone from strength to strength.
Foles’ statistics during the win over the Vikings are second to none. Well, almost. He became just the fourth player in NFL playoff history to complete 78 percent of passes for 350 yards or more, with no interceptions and three touchdowns. That exclusive club had been restricted to just Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Kurt Warner, but now Foles has made his mark on history and is aiming to truly arrive with another match-winning performance on February 4th.
While there were doubts raised in the media after Foles laid a huge egg against the Raiders, the player revealed in the wake of the victory over the Vikings that “no one in the locker room” ever doubted his ability to rise to the occasion when it mattered. Alshon Jeffery, who was pivotal in Foles’ touchdown pass success last week, echoed these sentiments. “He was just playing with confidence and playing relaxed,” Jeffery said. “He was playing the game plan. That is what we expect and know what he is capable of. In 2013, he did the same thing. There are no surprises.”
Foles’ impressive 2013 season continues to be cited as proof by teammates and experts alike that he is capable of starting and making a sustained impact in the NFL. The Eagles won eight games with Foles as the leading man that year, and though their threat fizzled out in the playoffs, one balmy afternoon in Oakland remains a testament to the quarterback’s explosive potential. Foles threw a staggering seven touchdown passes that day to tie a league record. Fans will be asking themselves if he can bring the goods on game day, and raise the stakes at Super Bowl LII. Opinion is divided on this, and no doubt avid fans will be placing their own wager. Sports betting sites have all the latest odds, Stakers.com will also have match day info and regular updates on the results.
His career has not followed the trajectory that he would have hoped for after that promising 2013 season, but the fact that when he’s hot, he’s really hot, is an indication that Foles has the tools in his locker to produce a performance capable of leading a team to victory in American football’s showpiece finale. The talent is definitely there; it is just a case of bringing it all together on the day. However, there will be no bigger occasion than Super Bowl LII as both Foles and the Eagles face the stiffest of tests against a New England Patriots team looking to make history of their own.
The Patriots showed grit and determination to overcome a ten-point deficit in the final throes of the AFC Championship Game against Jacksonville Jaguars to secure the franchise’s tenth appearance in the Super Bowl. The evergreen Tom Brady was pivotal again with two touchdowns and 26 passes for 290 yards, and the Jaguars’ failure to keep the quarterback in check suggests that the Eagles will find it incredibly difficult to shut him out for the entire 60 minutes. However, here is where Foles will be key, as he and the Eagles’ offense can trouble the Patriots’ defense in a way that the Jaguars couldn’t.
Foles is not Carson Wentz, but he doesn’t need to be to get the Eagles over the line on game day. The Texan knows all about the lows of NFL after indifferent spells with the Rams and the Chiefs, but he finally looks ready to fulfill his potential on the biggest stage as history awaits at the U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.