The conference championships have concluded, setting up the matchup for Super Bowl LII. In two weeks, the New England Patriots will face off against the Philadelphia Eagles at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
After spending most of the week batting down questions regarding Tom Brady’s injured throwing hand, the Patriots found themselves locked in a dogfight with the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars. New England trailed for most of the game but pulled ahead with less than three minutes remaining when Brady found wideout Danny Amendola in the back of the end zone. Jacksonville managed to push into enemy territory on the following possession, but Blake Bortles and the offense stalled just outside field-goal range. The Patriots reclaimed possession and ran out the clock soon thereafter.
Later in the day, the Eagles demolished the Minnesota Vikings 38-7 in the NFC Championship Game. Nick Foles delivered one of the best games of his career, completing 26 of his 33 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Foles spread the ball around to his litany of pass catchers, with Zach Ertz, Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith, Nelson Agholor, and Jay Ajayi each catching at least three passes.
Meanwhile, the Vikings imploded one week after their last-second miracle win over the New Orleans Saints. Case Keenum threw two interceptions and could have tossed several others in a letdown performance. Yet, the bigger disappointment for Minnesota came on defense, where Mike Zimmer’s defense managed to let the Eagles convert 10 of their 14 third downs and average more than 7 yards per play. The woeful performance prevented the Vikings from becoming the first team to reach a Super Bowl hosted at their home stadium. The long offseason now begins in Minneapolis, with offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur departing to become the head coach of the New York Giants and the contracts of Keenum, Sam Bradford, and Teddy Bridgewater all expiring.
The Patriots will appear in their eighth Super Bowl since 2000 and attempt to win their sixth Lombardi Trophy during the same span. The Eagles look to bring home the Lombardi Trophy for the first time in franchise history. The two teams previously met in Super Bowl XXXIX.