Brandon Graham produced the play of the game to strip-sack Tom Brady, denying New England the opportunity to drive late to win the contest.
The Eagles prevented the Patriots winning back-to-back crowns. No team has achieved the feat since Bill Belichick’s men won the third of their five titles in 2005.
New England and the Seattle Seahawks have come close, but can Philadelphia succeed where they fell short? We’ll now break down the Eagles’ early odds of repeating and the rest of the potential contenders to win Super Bowl LIII.
The Eagles were outstanding throughout the 2017 season on both sides of the ball. Their balance was the key factor to drive them over the line against the Patriots. Whereas New England failed to make a play on defense, Graham rose to the occasion to strip-sack Brady. The triumph is even more remarkable considering that it was achieved with backup quarterback Foles in place. Their season appeared to be over after Carson Wentz suffered a torn ACL towards the end of the campaign.
However, Foles played at an elite level throughout the playoffs, ending his season with a dissection of the Patriots’ defense. The Eagles now face decisions ahead in the off-season as Wentz may not be fit for the start of the new term. It will be push-and-go for the opener, leaving Foles’ future in the dark. Philadelphia could get a lot of draft capital by trading him, although it would leave them with only Nate Sudfeld behind Wentz. Pederson’s men are well placed for another run at the crown, with only a small number of free agents leaving the club.
Philadelphia have the core elements in place, with a defense and quarterback on the rise. The loss of offensive coordinator Frank Reich and quaterbacks coach Joe DeFilippo could loom large. Both men were crucial in coaching up Foles down the stretch. That could play a factor in preventing them from making another charge for the crown. The odds of 10/111.00+100010.0010.00-0.10 with 888Sport are intriguing for the reigning champions to repeat.
New England Patriots
Despite their defeat the Patriots will always be contenders for the Super Bowl with Brady and Belichick in position. The 40-year-old quarterback was outstanding in Minnesota, but not even his 505-yard and three-touchdown performance was enough to guide New England over the line.
He will regret not releasing the ball sooner on his strip-sack, although given the plays he made in the contest, no-one will or should point the finger of blame in his direction. Belichick has come under fire for not playing Malcolm Butler in the Super Bowl. The cornerback had started almost every game for the past three seasons, but was benched for the match. Reasons were not disclosed, while Butler was seen crying before the game.
The 27-year-old is out of contract and will surely not return to the club. Nate Solder and Dion Lewis could also hit free agency, but other than that the Patriots should return intact. They have draft capital to address their defensive issues in the front seven, with their lack of talent being exposed by Foles and the Eagles.
Julian Edelman and Dont’a Hightower will return from injury to bolster the roster that missed their quality and leadership. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels will also be in Foxborough in 2018. The coach turned down the opportunity to become the main man in Indianapolis at the 11th hour. He provides the stability that New England need moving forward as they edge towards the final days of the Belichick/Brady dynasty. Expect them to be in the AFC Championship game at the least next term – back them to win the Super Bowl at odds of 5/16.00+5005.005.00-0.20 with Bovada.
Unlike the Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings, the wheels came off without their starter, highlighting issues within the coaching staff and the depth of the roster. The Packers have made wholesale changes to the front office, while a number of coaches were moved on, with head coach Mike McCarthy one of the few to remain.
He is under immense pressure to deliver results in 2018 and capitalise on Rodgers’ window. There are not a number of key free agents – therefore Green Bay are in position to make a run towards the playoffs. Rodgers was operating at an extremely high level before his injury and shows no sign of declining any time soon. Davante Adams broke out in the 2017 season and has moved ahead of Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in the pecking order.
Aaron Jones displayed a huge amount of promise at running back. Should he take the next stage in his development, he will ease the pressure on Rodgers. Defensively there are concerns, but new defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has done more with less talent. Next year could be their year to return to the top. Back them at odds of 12/113.00+120012.0012.00-0.08 with Bovada.
The Steelers failed to get over the hump once again despite their plethora of talent. Pittsburgh were knocked out of the playoffs by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the Divisional Round. The Steelers were put to the sword with ease by Blake Bortles and company, conceding 45 points on home soil. Head coach Mike Tomlin was adamant that his side had the talent to win the Super Bowl. However, once again they failed to maximise their potential under his tenure.
Antonio Brown’s injury against the Patriots during their regular season contest loomed large. He damaged his calf early in the contest and was ruled out for the rest of the regular season. Jesse James’ disallowed touchdown also proved to be crucial as it denied the Steelers a home match against the Tennessee Titans rather than the Jaguars. Pittsburgh are running out of time to capitalise on their offensive talent. Roethlisberger will be 36 at the start of the next campaign, while Brown will be 30. Le’Veon Bell is at the peak of his career, but the club will have to put forward a lucrative contact to retain his services during free agency.
Ryan Shazier’s future in the game is far from certain following his devastating back injury. There is talent on the defense and the roster as a whole to once again win the AFC North. Whether or not it’s enough to topple the Steelers’ ‘white whale’ – New England – is another matter. A good off-season and another elite campaign from Roethlisberger and Brown could guide them to the Vince Lombardi trophy. Back them at odds of 14/115.00+140014.0014.00-0.07 with Bovada.
Philadelphia Eagles To Win Super Bowl LIII
Eric has been a sports journalist for over 20 years and has travelled the world covering top sporting events for a number of publications. He also has a passion for betting and uses his in-depth knowledge of the sports world to pinpoint outstanding odds and value betting opportunities.
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