Tom Brady and the Patriots are back in the Super Bowl
In what is seemingly Groundhog's Day for NFL fans, the New England Patriots are in the Super Bowl once again. Tom Brady somehow managed to throw for almost 300 yards and two touchdowns with an injured hand in a 24-20 victory on Sunday over the Jacksonville Jaguars. The defense wasn't at its best, but it did what it had to and made the stops in the end.
Standing in the Patriots' way of back-to-back world championships are the Philadelphia Eagles, who come into Super Bowl LII after a thrashing of the Minnesota Vikings. It's a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX back in 2005, which was won 24-21 by Brady and the Patriots.
5 Reasons Why the New England Patriots Will Win Super Bowl LII
1. Been there, done that
There is so much involved with the Super Bowl and it's all old hat for New England. This squad has 10 appearances in the Big Game and while a lot of the players weren't around for all of them, they know what it takes to win. The Eagles have just a few veterans who have been in this situation, but they are so young that it could be an issue. Halftime is longer and the pregame is run differently. Players in the NFL are creatures of habit and the Patriots have been through it all before.
2. Tom Brady
A stitched-up hand is not going to stop New England's quarterback. Outside of a few poor throws, Brady looked stellar against the NFL's No. 1 pass defense, completing 26 of 38 attempts for 290 yards in AFC Championship Game win over Jacksonville. Brady is 27-9 in the postseason, throwing for 68 touchdowns to just 31 interceptions in those games. For the most part, good quarterbacks win Super Bowls and while Nick Foles has been good in his last two starts, he's no match for the quarterback that already has five Super Bowl rings. If Brady gets time in the pocket, then the Eagles are in trouble.
3. Last hurrahs and haters
It's no secret that coordinators Josh McDaniels (Indianapolis) and Matt Patricia (Detroit) are leaving for head coaching gigs elsewhere once the season is over. Not that this team needs any more motivation, but I'm sure they'd love to send these guys out with another ring. McDaniels' offense averages nearly 400 yards per game while Patricia's defense has some soft spots, but also does what is needed in order to win. The squad also has had to deal with residue from the ESPN article on the dynamic between owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and Brady. America is sick of the Patriots and their winning and you know that also fuels them in what they do. Motivation of this sort is always good especially for a team that enjoys being the heel.
4. No deficit big enough
The Patriots were down 10 points in the fourth quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the Jaguars, but there was no panic and eventually there was a victory. This one came without Rob Gronkowski, who was out due to a concussion and he's a huge part of the offense. New England's comeback win over Atlanta in the Super Bowl last year is the biggest in the game's 51-year history, but not the only such rally this team has pulled off. Teams get mighty conservative against New England in hopes of trying to drain the clock, but it seems like you leave even the slightest crack or time on the clock, Brady and the boys will make you pay. It's funny because you could almost say they enjoy coming from behind then being front-runners. Every decision you make has to be right in order to slay the Pats.
5. Bill Belichick
The head coach is the best in the sport and is great at taking away what you do well. He's got two weeks to look over an Eagles squad with a backup quarterback and a secondary that is very vulnerable at times. Belichick (above, right) also has to have the edge over his counterpart, Doug Pederson, who, like his team, is doing this all for the first time. Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette averaged only 3.2 yards per carry on Sunday because Belichick's preference was to have to Blake Bortles try and beat the Patriots with his arm. Even though Belichick's personality is dry, his knowledge is endless. He'll find your weaknesses and exploit them.
— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.
(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)