The matchup for Super Bowl LII has been set after the NFL Conference Championships on Sunday Jan. 21. The New England Patriots will be returning to the biggest stage in football for the second year in a row, this time to take on the Philadelphia Eagles.
New England defeated the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 in the AFC Championship game. The Patriots entered the weekend unsure if starting quarterback, Tom Brady, would be available to play after sustaining a thumb injury in practice. Brady was listed as questionable on the injury report, but when it came time to announce their starter, Brady was made active.
If Brady was injured he certainly didn’t show it, particularly in the fourth quarter. The game was tightly contested with Jacksonville holding a lead over New England for the majority of the game. New England entered the fourth quarter down 10-17. Jacksonville tacked on a field goal early in the quarter to make it 20-10. Brady came through for New England and threw two touchdowns in this final quarter, putting New England ahead 24-20 – which would remain as the final score.
This will be Brady’s eighth Super Bowl appearance and the franchises 10th.
Philadelphia defeated the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship game. Minnesota would strike first when quarterback Case Keenum threw a 25 yard touchdown to tight end Kyle Rudolph. Minnesota’s offense was silenced from this point on.
The Vikings did not score another point for the remainder of the game in which Keenum threw two interceptions and fumbled once. The Eagle’s offense on the other hand was nonstop, led by their quarterback Nick Foles. Foles threw for a total of 352 yards in the game with three touchdowns.
The combination of Philadelphia’s superior defense and explosive offense proved to be too much for Minnesota. Neither Keenum or Foles, former teammates back in 2015 on the then St. Louis Rams, could have predicted that they would be playing against each other in a game as big as this. Neither quarterback was the number one starter on their respective teams going into the season, but due to injuries both got their chance to lead their teams.
Keenum said of Foles in his postgame press conference, “Couldn’t have happened to a better guy” and that he will be “rooting hard for him next week.”
Philadelphia, winless in their first two Super Bowl appearances, will seek their first title as a franchise. The last time Philadelphia appeared in the Super Bowl was Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005 when they were defeated by the Tom Brady led New England Patriots.
Super Bowl LII will take place Sunday Feb. 4 at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
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