This has really been unlike any other week leading to the Super Bowl.
Tom Brady is kissing his kids and getting bitten by dogs, albeit in a distant past that briefly became a breaking news item.
Bill Belichick is spending the Thursday night before another title game courtside at a Minnesota Timberwolves game, which either has fans scratching their heads about where his mind is at, or supremely confident in the coach having such a full grasp of the Philadelphia Eagles that he’s willing to grant himself a night out.
Brady had to hear about a local radio talk show host calling his five-year-old daughter a term of annoyance, all in the midst of the parent station becoming the center of attention by blowing the widely-unheard moment into a national story line.
The Super Bowl is upon us and some folks are still waiting for that dog bite to show up on the injury report.
Now, is there an over/under prop bet out there about how long Brady will kiss his kids after the game Sunday night?
This week’s picks:
Jimmy Kempski, Philly Voice: Eagles 29, Patriots 24. “The Patriots’ 5.5-point spread in their favor is more about their mystique than their current talent. This Eagles team is better, I think they know it, and they’re not intimidated in the slightest. They’re better in the trenches, they’re far better on defense, and these two offenses, on the whole, really aren’t that far apart. The Eagles are going to win this game, fly home, and ride down Broad Street. Plan accordingly.”
Ed Barkowitz, Philadelphia Inquirer: Eagles 26, Patriots 21. “Haven’t seen anything in Nick Foles’ makeup to suggest that the stage will be too big for him here. Ditto for Doug Pederson, who should be fine as long as he doesn’t consult his former boss on time-management questions. The Patriots, of course, are generally unflappable. Maybe Pederson can invite Tom Coughlin to join him on the sidelines, similar to when Michael Corleone brought in Vincenzo Pentangeli in the Godfather II.”
Madden NFL 18: Patriots 24, Eagles 20.
Greg Cote, Miami Herald: Eagles 27, Patriots 24. “Pressure on Brady is a big reason the Pats are 0-2 in Super Bowls against the Giants the past decade, and that is a formula that suits the Eagles’ defense. My pick also factors in that Rob Gronkowski, such an essential target of Brady’s, is questionable (concussion), and susceptible to an early exit even if he plays. Bottom line? It’s just a strong hunch. This feels like the Eagles’ time. So: Upset!”
Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Patriots 24, Eagles 21. “I think the Eagles will actually lead in the fourth quarter, but Brady will either win it late with a drive to a field goal in the final minutes, or he will help the Patriots take the lead and then have his defense hold on against Foles. Foles shouldn’t feel that bad. It would for most every other quarterback as well. Tom Brady is the GOAT. That will play out once again on the biggest stage as he earns his sixth Super Bowl ring.”
CBS Sports staff: Six out of eight pick the Eagles (New England -5.5). Five out of eight pick the Patriots straight-up.
Inside the NFL: Phil Simms and Boomer Esiasion pick the Patriots. Ray Lewis picks the Eagles.
David Steele, Sporting News: Eagles 26, Patriots 24. “The Eagles are great enough to not be such big underdogs against the Patriots. They’re great enough to beat them, keep that trophy collection in Foxborough at five, and finally start one of their own. They’re great enough to etch into the history books, ‘Nick Foles beat Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.’”
Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News: Patriots 30, Eagles 27. “The Eagles will make more plays in the slot with Nelshon Agholor working on former Eagle Eric Rowe, and the Patriots will see Danny Amendola cool off against Patrick Robinson. Overall, not much will separate the offense explosiveness. And with weather not being a factor, the game likely will come down to the final possession.”
Benjamin Hoffman, New York Times: Patriots 28, Eagles 26. “The Eagles will fight hard, and certainly have a chance at pulling off an upset, but Brady’s experience and Foles’s volatility give New England a slight advantage. The Patriots won three Super Bowls in a four-season period from 2001 to 2004, and they appear poised to repeat that accomplishment.”
USA Today staff: All Pats.
Baltimore Sun staff: Five out of six pick the Pats. Peter Schmuck picks New England, 23-20. “Why? Because they’re the Patriots and they do whatever they have to do to win, and apparently the football gods don’t care whether they occasionally push the ethical envelope. Just waiting to see how the Eagles give them the game at the end.”
Professor Power: Patriots.
SB Nation staff: Six out of eight go Pats.
Dan Kohn, Green Bay Press Gazette: Patriots 27, Eagles 24. “The Patriots won the only postseason meeting between the teams — 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville — but the Eagles actually lead the all-time series 7-6. Philadelphia won the last meeting between the two clubs, a 35-28 decision at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., in 2015. New England had won the four previous meetings. But how can you bet against the Patriots? The New England dynasty continues and with a win Sunday, they will tie the Pittsburgh Steelers for most Super Bowl victories.”
Tecmo Bowl: Eagles 28, Patriots 21.
Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Eagles 28, Patriots 17. “Betting against the Pats isn’t a profitable endeavor, and Lord knows I’ve been wrong about some Super Bowl outcomes before (although last year’s Falcons 28, Patriots 27 call was pretty close…). The Eagles could come out and be overmatched. Brady could play another Game of His Life™ en route to giving the Patriots another Super Bowl. He tends to show up on the biggest stage and picking him to lose typically backfires. Philly has weaknesses the Patriots can expose. This just feels like the strengths are going to be a problem for New England and we could see Philly manage to run away with Super Bowl LII.”
Salty the Crocodile: Patriots.
Five Thirty Eight: Patriots with a 58 percent chance of winning.
ESPN Staff: Forty-one out of 57 pick the Patriots. Seth Wickersham picks New England in a blowout, by a score of 38-9.
Jon Keller, WBZ-TV: Patriots 21, Eagles 17.
Bill Barnwell, ESPN: Patriots 27, Eagles 20. “As great of a job as Pederson & Co. have done in sheltering Foles with RPOs and safe throws, this is the same coaching staff that was around Foles during his disastrous end to the regular season and his middling first half against the Falcons, when one of the worst passes of the season bounced off Keanu Neal’s body and into the hands of Torrey Smith for what ended up becoming a critical field goal. The Eagles are good enough to give the Patriots a scare, but this should end up as a sixth ring for Belichick and Brady.”
NFL.com: Thirteen of 18 pick the Pats. Marcas Grant’s bold prediction: “Phillip Dorsett will validate New England’s Jacoby Brissett trade with 80 yards and a touchdown.”
It says here: Patriots 37, Eagles 14. There’s so much to suggest that this will be a close game that I figure the Patriots will just roll instead. Has the potential to become the least-exciting Super Bowl in the Brady-Belichick era. Enjoy the stress-free evening for once. Try the dip.