The New England Patriots and the Philadelphia Eagles face off for the Lombardi Trophy Sunday night in Minneapolis. While The Spectrum staff has given their insights into the big game, here are some other things to look for Sunday.
James White touchdowns
As much praise that Tom Brady received after the comeback win against Atlanta last year, James White was the true hero. In a crowded backfield like New England’s, White continues to be the receiving back. He logged 110 yards receiving against the Falcons and could see a lot of the ball should the Eagles’ front four pressure Brady. White also knows how to turn it up in the postseason, with seven touchdowns in five games the last two years.
At the time of writing, Rob Gronkowski is listed as questionable with a concussion. He returned to practice last weekend, pointing toward him playing Sunday.
Gronkowski has 76 touchdowns, third all-time in NFL history. His celebration of choice is his Gronk Spike, and it is so popular that it has its own definition on Urban Dictionary.
Brady’s top target is a matchup nightmare, as Jacksonville cornerback Jalen Ramsey learned in the AFC Championship game. Gronkowski is favored to get into the end zone at some point in the night.
Fact, the team that has worn white in the Super Bowl has won 12 of the last 13 games. New England is the designated home team and chose to wear white, the color they have not lost a Super Bowl in.
The Eagles are going green, a jersey they were 10-1 in this season.
This is the Patriots eighth trip to the Super Bowl under Bill Belichick. The average scoring difference in the eight games is just a shade under four points. The Patriots have also scored zero points in the first quarter in all eight games.
EA did a game simulation in “Madden NFL 18,” and the Patriots won 24-20.
Tom Brady led the NFL in passing yards this season. According to NFL Research, regular season passing leaders are 0-5 in Super Bowls.
“Neutral” Vikings fans
Perhaps the most important off-field struggle this weekend will be in Minnesota fans’ conscience.
The treatment of Minnesota fans in Philadelphia two weeks ago is not forgotten. And if there is one thing Minnesotans have a long memory about, sports are right there, along with cold winters.
That being said, the whole Minnesota Nice thing will be put to the test.
Expect Minnesotans to not salt their sidewalks when renting out their Airbnb, adding lutefisk to their hot dish they are serving to Eagles fans and at least one Skol chant during the game.
European football games and golf
Like always, big games come with big bets in Las Vegas. Last year’s Super Bowl brought in $138.4 million in bets, and it is likely that this year will surpass that record. Most of the early bets have gone to the underdog Eagles.
But with the normal bets also come the fun prop bets. The William Hill Sportsbook has nearly 14 pages worth of bets, including one such as Nick Foles touchdown passes against Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez goals, Brady rushing attempts against total yellow cards in Liverpool-Tottenham and even Gronkowski receptions against Jordan Spieth 4th round birdies in the Waste Management Open.