Adam Ziobrowski, Staff Writer
Super Bowl LII will feature the AFC champion New England Patriots and the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Feb. 4 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
This year’s Super Bowl is also a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX, where the Patriots defeated the Eagles 24-21.
Over a decade later, two key pieces remain the same for the Patriots from their Super Bowl winning team in 2004: Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. Many experts will say that those two, alone, are enough for the Patriots to win back-to-back Super Bowls. However, students around Utica College believe the Eagles can win their first Super Bowl in franchise history versus the historic duo of Brady and Belichick.
“I think the Eagles will end up winning, their defense will keep it close,” said sophomore Emmanuel Ajisafe. “I think Nick Foles has been playing at a level in which he can be the hero the Eagles need.”
That could very well be true.
After Carson Wentz went down for the season with an ACL injury, many fans panicked knowing their season was now in Foles’s hands. On the flipside, many of those fans probably were not aware that Foles is capable of starting on many teams around the NFL. Thus, just as Ajisafe mentioned, Foles could very well lead the Eagles to glory.
Ajisafe is not the only one on UC’s campus who believes the Eagles can pull off the win, even as five-point underdogs.
Sophomore Noah Writesel said the Eagles will win the game “because their defense is solid all around” and he thinks “they can prevent Brady from making big plays.”
Writesel is correct, the Eagles defense has the ability to contain Brady. However, a lot of this will depend on whether or not Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski plays in the Super Bowl after suffering concussion-like symptoms in the AFC title game.
If Gronkowski is in fact good to go, he will create a nightmare matchup for the Eagles defense. This could be why other students at Utica College believe the Patriots will come out on top, including sophomore Christian Carman.
“As long as the Patriots have Tom Brady, you can’t pick against them,” Carman said. “Especially if he has Rob Gronkowski, I don’t see how the Eagles will be able to matchup with him and then account for Brady’s other weapons, too. I would like to see the Eagles win, but I don’t think they have as much talent or experience as the Patriots.”
Experience in games like this is more crucial than some may think. However, the Eagles are a talented team that have proven they do not care about who they are playing, how many times their opponent has been to a Super Bowl — Brady will be appearing in his eighth Super Bowl — or what the spread is.
Even so, the Eagles mindset is not enough to change the mind of sophomore Chris Fisk.
“I believe the Patriots are going to win,” Fisk said. “They won last year and have shown they are just as good, if not better than, their team last year. Tom Brady is a winner and very experienced in Super Bowl games, so it’s hard to go against that.”
This game will have a bit of a David vs. Goliath feel — on one side there is the mighty Tom Brady, who will be looking to win his sixth Super Bowl, and on the other is Nick Foles, who will be playing in his fourth playoff game ever for a team who has been the underdog all postseason.
Super Bowl LII kickoff Sunday, Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. on NBC.