After a Championship Sunday that gave us one nail-biter and one blowout, the Super Bowl is officially set, and it’s going to be a rematch of a game we saw less than 15 years ago: Eagles vs. Patriots.
The Patriots punched their ticket to the NFL’s biggest game by pulling off an improbable 24-20 win over Jacksonville. Of course, improbable is basically Tom Brady’s middle name at this point, so maybe we shouldn’t have been surprised by what he did against the Jaguars.
All Brady did on Sunday was lead the Patriots back from a 20-10 deficit in the fourth quarter, even though he seemed to have the odds stacked against him. Brady threw two touchdown passes over the game’s final nine minutes, and he did that he even though he had 12 stitches in his hand, didn’t have Rob Gronkowski on the field and was going up against the NFL’s best pass defense.
The win over the Jags means that the Patriots are now headed to the Super Bowl for an NFL-record 10th time.
If the Patriots are going to win the Super Bowl for a sixth time, they’re going to have to do something they’ve already done in a Super Bowl: beat the Eagles.
The Eagles advanced to Super Bowl LII by destroying the Vikings 38-7 in a game that was never close. With the Super Bowl in Minneapolis, the Vikings had a chance to become the first team ever to play the game in their home stadium, but the Eagles crushed those dreams in their dominating win.
The game between the Eagles and Patriots is a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX, a game that the Patriots won 24-21. Oddsmakers aren’t expecting this year’s Super Bowl to be as close as that one as the Patriots have opened as a 5.5-point favorite.
For the Eagles, this is their third trip to the Super Bowl, and they’re still looking for their first win. Besides their loss to the Patriots, the Eagles also lost to the Raiders 27-10 in Super Bowl XV.
Here’s a look at the Super Bowl schedule, along with a quick look back at the earlier rounds of the playoffs.
Super Bowl LII (Minneapolis)
Philadelphia Eagles (15-3) vs. New England Patriots (15-3) at U.S. Bank Stadium, 6:30 p.m. ET (NBC)
AFC Championship Game
(1) New England 24-20 over (3) Jacksonville: At 40 years old, Tom Brady worked his playoff magic once again. The Patriots quarterback threw for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to help New England claw back from 20-10 deficit with just nine minutes left. The win means that the Patriots are now headed to the Super Bowl for an NFL-record 10th time.
NFC Championship Game
(1) Philadelphia 38-7 over (1) Minnesota: The Vikings defense has been able to stop nearly everyone they’ve faced this season, but they had no answer for Nick Foles, who shredded them for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Foles, who finished 26 of 33, made multiple clutch throws in the win and also threw two touchdown passes that went for more than 40 yards. The quarterback’s 53-yard TD pass to Alshon Jeffery in the second quarter was the longest scoring play the Vikings defense gave up all season.
Saturday, Jan. 13
NFC: (1) Philadelphia 15-10 over (6) Atlanta: After a sluggish start, backup Eagles quarterback Nick Foles settled down, the defense stiffened, and the Falcons couldn’t convert on a critical fourth down with less than a minute to go that cemented the 15-10 victory and put Philadelphia in the NFC Conference Championship game for the first time since the 2008 season.
AFC: (1) New England 35-14 over (5) Tennessee: The Titans jumped out to an early 7-0 lead but it was short-lived. The Patriots scored 35 unanswered points, covered the 13.5-point spread by halftime, and advanced to the AFC Championship Game for the seventh straight year.
Sunday, Jan. 14
AFC: (3) Jacksonville 45-42 over (2) Pittsburgh: The Jaguars jumped out to a 21-0 lead and then had to hold off the host Steelers in a back-and-forth second half to advance to the AFC Championship Game. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 469 yards and five touchdowns, but that wasn’t enough to beat a Jaguars team that will now be in the AFC title game for the first time since the 1999 season.
NFC: (2) Minnesota 29-24 over (4) New Orleans: The Vikings shocked the Saints with an improbable win that came courtesy of Case Keenum, who threw a 61-yard touchdown pass to Stefon Diggs on the final play of the game.
Wild Card Weekend
Saturday, Jan. 6
AFC: (5) Tennessee 22-21 over (4) Kansas City: The Titans pulled off a shocker to kick off the playoffs with an 18-point second-half comeback. Tennessee was led by Marcus Mariota, who basically willed his team to a win with two touchdown passes, including one to himself. The Titans quarterback threw for 205 yards and rushed for another 46 in the win.
NFC: (6) Atlanta 26-13 over (3) Los Angeles Rams: The Falcons capped off a wild first day of the postseason with Saturday’s second upset. Thanks to an efficient performance from Matt Ryan (21 of 30) and a defense that was able to shut down the Rams’ high-powered offense, the Falcons escaped from L.A. and will now travel to Philadelphia for a showdown with an Eagles team that won’t have Carson Wentz.
Sunday, Jan. 7
AFC: (3) Jacksonville 10-3 over (6) Buffalo: The Jaguars rode their defense to multiple wins during the regular season, and that’s exactly what they did in their wild-card win over the Bills. The Jaguars defense forced two turnovers and kept the Bills out of the end zone as Jacksonville picked up its first home playoff win since January 2000. The win over Buffalo sets up a rematch with a Steelers team that the Jags beat 30-9 in Week 5 in a game where Ben Roethlisberger threw five interceptions.
NFC: (4) New Orleans 31-26 over (5) Carolina: With Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram in the backfield, Drew Brees didn’t have to carry the Saints offense often in 2017, but he’s definitely still capable of doing that, and we found that out in Sunday’s wild-card game. Brees threw for 376 yards and two touchdowns to help the Saints advance to the divisional round for the third time in seven years.