is now set and it will be a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX as the New England Patriots will play the Philadelphia Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, MN on February 4.
The Patriots were the first of the two teams to advance to the Super Bowl on Sunday with their 24-20 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro in the AFC Championship game.
Despite trailing for most of the game, the Patriots overcame a 20-10 deficit in the fourth quarter thanks to two touchdown passes from quarter back Tom Brady to wide receiver Danny Amendola. Brady finished the game with 26 completions on 38 total pass attempts for 290 yards and the two touchdown passes. As for Amendola, he finished with 6 receptions for 84 yards and the two touchdowns.
The Patriots opened the game with a 10 play, 62 yard drive that culminated in a 31-yard field goal by kicker Stephen Gostkowski. From there, it was all Jacksonville for nearly all of the rest of the first half as Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles engineered touchdown scoring drives of 76 and 77 yards to put his team up 14-3 with 7:06 left in the first half.
The Patriots, however, closed the gap to 14-10 right before halftime thanks to a 6 play, 85 yard touchdown drive that started at the New England 15-yard-line with 2:02 left before the intermission. That scoring drive was aided by two big penalties on the Jaguars defense of which one was an illegal helmet-to-helmet hit by Jacksonville safety Barry Church on Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski. The hit knocked Gronkowski out of the game with a concussion and he never returned to action.
While the Jaguars managed two drives in the second half that culminated in field goals, it just wasn’t enough scoring. Bortles ended the game with 293 yards passing and one touchdown pass on 23 total completions. He was also sacked three times in total. Jaguars wide receiver Allen Hurns was his team’s leading receiver on Sunday as he caught 6 passes for 80 yards. Jaguars rookie running back Leonard Fournette finished the contest with 76 yards and a touchdown on 24 total carries.
This now marks the third time in four seasons that the Patriots have made it to the Super Bowl. Their last two trips resulted in championships with last season being the most recent one.
The Patriots will play the Eagles this time, however, as they beat the Minnesota Vikings at home Sunday 38-7 in the NFC Championship game.
Eagles quarterback Nick Foles had a spectacular showing in the win as he completed 26 of his 33 total pass attempts against a good Vikings defense for 352 yards and 3 touchdowns. Two of Foles’ three scoring tosses went to wide receiver Alshon Jeffery with one other going to wide receiver Torrey Smith via a flea flicker from 41 yards out with 10:05 left in the third quarter. That touchdown put the Eagles ahead 31-7 with 10:05 left in the third quarter and the game was essentially over at that point.
The Vikings actually led the game 7-0 early in the first quarter thanks to a beautifully engineered 9 play, 75 yard drive by quarterback Case Keenum that culminated with a 25 yard touchdown pass to tight end Kyle Rudolph with 10:14 left in the first frame. The Eagles, however, then proceed to reel off 38 unanswered points with their first 7 coming via a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown by cornerback Patrick Robinson with 6:26 left in the first quarter.
The Vikings offense couldn’t find any traction the remainder of the game and Keenum finished with 271 yard passing on 48 total attempts with the one touchdown and two interceptions.
This will mark just the third time in the history of the Eagles franchise that they’ve been to the Super Bowl. Their last trip was in February of 2005 and they lost to the Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX in Jacksonville, FL. Prior to that trip, the Eagles lost to the Oakland Raiders 27-10 on January 25, 1981 in Super Bowl XV in New Orleans, LA.
The Patriots have now opened up 6-point favorites over the Eagles.