With Super Bowl LII right around the corner, it’s a good opportunity to see and compare the roads that the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles took to position themselves one win away from winning the championship.
Patriots Road to the Super Bowl
The Patriots started this season as the defending champions, with most labeling them as favorites to go all the way again based on their work in the offseason. Well, they made it, and are one win away from repeating as Super Bowl champions, something they’ve done once in the Belichick-Brady era – 13 years ago, against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Patriots didn’t have the best of starts to the season, although it draws comparison to their 2014 season, which also started 2-2 including a humiliating loss against the Kansas City Chiefs. They won the Super Bowl at the end of that season.
So after losing to the Chiefs and Panthers (both games at home) in the first month, the Patriots went on to win 8 games in a row (just one of them against a playoff team). Their loss in Florida to Miami didn’t really change much – the Pats have lost quite a few times in Miami and it never really made a difference. They followed it up with 3 wins, including in Pittsburgh (also according to tradition) to ensure they get home field advantage in the postseason.
And in the playoffs? Bye week, followed with back to back games against AFC South teams. The first, a 35-14 win over the Tennessee Titans, went smoothly. The second one caused some concern, as the Jags dominated the game, but didn’t build a big enough lead to finish off the Patriots. Brady put up big numbers in the fourth quarter and book another Super Bowl ticket following a 24-20 win.
Eagles Road to the Super Bowl
The Eagles, who just like the Patriots finished the season 13-3, had less lofty expectations to this season, although playoffs and the evolution of Carson Wentz into a consistent, dominant quarterback was certainly expected. Like the Patriots, the Eagles lost early on (week 2) to the Chiefs, the former team of their head coach Doug Pederson. But things clicked from there.
Tough wins over the Giants and Chargers kicked off a 9 game winning streak, including dropping 51 points on the Broncos and beating the Dallas Cowboys 37-9. An understandable loss in Seattle (24-10) to the Seahawks was followed by 3 more wins, the Wentz injury, and a garbage time loss to the Cowboys. The Eagles still secured the #1 seed in the NFC.
Playing Nick Foles and not Wentz didn’t make a difference. The Eagles didn’t have it easy against the Falcons, but still came out on top despite being behind at half time, winning 15-10. In the NFC championship game, after hearing all week how the Minnesota Vikings were going to crush them, the Eagles responded by beating them up 37-9, sending the franchise to the Super Bowl for a third time.