2018 Super Bowl preview: The 52 things you must know about Eagles vs. Patriots

Super Bowl Sunday is here, and in a few short hours, we're going to know who ended the 2017 with a championship and who has to go back to the drawing board. But before Super Bowl LII kicks off, here are 52 things to know about the Eagles-Patriots matchup.

There are no Super Bowl titles to celebrate in the Eagles' history. Their starting quarterback, Carson Wentz, was making a strong case to be regular-season MVP before he was sidelined due to injury, so backup Nick Foles will start Sunday. If the Eagles can win, they'll join the Giants (who did it twice) as the only teams to beat the mighty Belichick-Brady era Patriots in the Super Bowl.

For the Patriots, a Super Bowl appearance is old hat. They're vying for their second straight championship and their sixth Super Bowl ring since the 2001 season. They're trotting out four-time Super Bowl MVP Tom Brady at quarterback. If the Patriots win, they'll only add to their legacy as the greatest dynasty in the history of the sport.  

So which side of the Super Bowl line do you need to be all over? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of Patriots-Eagles you need to jump on, plus what X-factor determines the outcome, all from a Vegas legend who's 9-3 on Eagles' games. 

As you can see, there's a ton at stake. So, without further ado, here we go.

1. The Patriots and Eagles will face each other in a rematch of Super Bowl XXXIX in February 2005, when the Patriots won 24-21. That win marked the Patriots' third Super Bowl victory in four years and their second straight championship. They wouldn't win another one until the 2014 season. Now, they can once again beat the Eagles for their third Super Bowl in four years and their second straight championship.

2. The game will be played at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minnesota. It's the second Super Bowl in Minnesota and the first one since Super Bowl XXVI in January 1992.

3. The temperature in Minneapolis is forecast to be around 6 degrees Sunday, but the game will be played indoors.

4. The game will be played on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. ET and will be broadcast by NBC. Al Michaels (play-by-play), Cris Collinsworth (analyst) and Michele Tafoya (sideline reporter) will be on the call.

5. Justin Timberlake will perform at halftime despite the wardrobe malfunction involving him and Janet Jackson back in 2004.

6. Pink will sing the national anthem before kickoff. The over/under has been set at 120 seconds.

7. This is Brady's eighth Super Bowl appearance. Nobody has ever played in more.

8. Brady has as many Super Bowl appearances (eight) as the entire Eagles roster, per NFL Research.

9. If the Patriots win, Brady will have the most Super Bowl wins (six). He has already won the most Super Bowls out of all quarterbacks and he's tied with Hall of Fame linebacker and defensive end Charles Haley with five Super Bowl wins.

10. If the Patriots win, they'll win their sixth Super Bowl since 2001 and their second straight championship. 

11. If the Eagles win, they'll win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.

12. If the Eagles win, "they will be the fourth team in NFL history to win the Super Bowl after having a losing record in the previous season (7-9 in 2016)," according to NFL Research.

13. Of the Patriots' eight Super Bowl opponents in the Bill Belichick era, the Eagles are the only team with a top-five scoring offense and defense, according to NFL Research.

14. The Patriots will wear white uniforms. They are 3-0 in the Super Bowl when wearing white under Belichick. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Evan Kaplan, 12 of the last 13 Super Bowl winners have been dressed in white.

15. The Eagles will wear green. They went 10-1 in green this season with their only loss coming in a meaningless Week 17 game, according to BleedingGreenNation.com.

16. Quarterbacks who led the league in passing yards have gone 0-5 in Super Bowls, according to NFL Research. Brady, who led the NFL in passing yards this season, can buck the trend.

17. Brady is going for his fifth Super Bowl MVP award. The only player to steal MVP away from Brady during a Patriots Super Bowl win? Deion Branch (James White should've won it last year, for the record). For the full list of Super Bowl MVPs, click right here.

18. Rob Gronkowski, who missed last year's Super Bowl with a back injury, has been cleared from the concussion protocol, so he'll resume his normal role in the big game. If the Super Bowl had been played this past Sunday, he wouldn't have suited up.

19. Brady is still dealing with a right hand injury that he suffered in the lead-up to the AFC Championship Game. According to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport, Brady had 12 stitches removed last week. Nobody should be overly concerned considering Brady lit up the Jaguars for 290 yards, two touchdowns and a 108.4 passer rating with those 12 stitches still in his hand. Brady will be still be Brady on Sunday.

20. Nick Foles started three games in the regular season. According to NFL Research, only two quarterbacks (Doug Williams and Jeff Hostetler) started fewer games in the regular season before starting in a Super Bowl. Williams and Hostetler both won.

21. The average margin of victory for the Patriots in their five Super Bowls wins under Belichick is 3.8 points.

22. The average margin of defeat for the Patriots in their two Super Bowl losses under Belichick is 3.5 points.

23. If the Patriots win, they'll tie the Steelers for the most Super Bowl wins (6). If they lose, they'll tie the Broncos for the most Super Bowl losses (5). Credit for that one goes to Reddit user "surfboard-lover."

24. The Eagles rank fifth in overall DVOA. The Patriots rank sixth in overall DVOA.

25. The Patriots ranked first in yards gained. The Eagles ranked seventh in yards gained.

26. The Patriots ranked second in points scored (458). The Eagles ranked third in points scored (457).

27. The Patriots ranked 29th in yards allowed. The Eagles ranked fourth in yards allowed.

28. The Patriots ranked fifth in points allowed (296). The Eagles ranked fourth in points allowed (295).

29. The Patriots and Eagles boast the exact same point differential (+162), which was a league high.

30. If the Eagles win, Chris Long says he will skip the visit to the White House again. He skipped it a year ago after the Patriots beat the Falcons because he doesn't support Donald Trump and his policies.

31. An asteroid might pass by Earth on the same day as the Super Bowl. No, it won't hit our planet.

32. A Tecmo Bowl simulation has the Eagles winning. For a full recap, click right here.

33. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie once tried to buy the New England Patriots.

34. Bettors love the Eagles so far. According to vice president of race and sports for MGM Resorts Jay Rood, his sportsbook has been heavy on Eagles action.

"We were getting Eagles action all the way around. So we decided to go down and test the waters," Rood said, per SportsLine. "I was a little surprised to see the public going against the Patriots this hard, but I can understand why they see some value there." 

35. As of Saturday, the Patriots are 4.5-point favorites and the over/under has been set at 48.5 points, according to SportsLine.

36. The Eagles have been underdogs in every single one of their playoff games -- hence the creepy dog masks.

The Patriots, meanwhile, have been favored in every game this season -- hence their own appropriate masks.

37. In our "Madden NFL 18" simulation of the game, the Patriots won an overtime thriller that was really too hard to believe. Check out our recap here, because it really was the craziest game in NFL history involving:

  • A double-digit fourth-quarter comeback by the Eagles
  • A 99-yard go-ahead drive by Brady with a minute to go.
  • A blocked extra point return to tie the game.
  • A walk-off touchdown in overtime.

38. The game will be refereed by Gene Steratore. The Eagles are 10-3 (0.769) in games refereed by Steratore and the Patriots are 12-5 (0.706). If his name sounds familiar, it's because he was the referee who made the decision to use an index card to measure a crucial first down in a December playoff-like game between the Raiders and Cowboys.

39This is from Scott Kacsmar over at FiveThirtyEight:

Since 2001, the year that Tom Brady took over as starting quarterback, the Patriots are 15-0 in the playoffs against a new opponent and 12-9 in a rematch from the regular season.

The Eagles did not play the Patriots in the regular season. Anyway, you should read the entire story linked above.

40. Brady is 40 years old. He can become the oldest quarterback to win a Super Bowl, breaking Peyton Manning's record that he set when he won a Super Bowl at the age of 39 two years ago. Belichick, meanwhile, is 65. Together, Brady and Belichick are making history.

41. The Patriots haven't scored in the first quarter of a Super Bowl under Belichick. No, Belichick does not want to talk about it.

42. Brady sports the league's best passer rating under pressure (95.5), but the Eagles generate pressure at an absurdly high rate (41.9 percent), according to Pro Football Focus.

43. Patriots running back Dion Lewis posted the highest elusive rating among running backs in the regular season, forcing 49 missed tackles, according to PFF. The Eagles' defense allowed 3.8 yards per carry in the regular season, which ranked sixth.

44. Patriots receiver Brandin Cooks averaged 16.6 yards per catch in the regular season, the second-highest average among receivers with at least 60 catches.

45. Gronk caught exactly 69 passes in the regular season, which is nice because it's his favorite number.

46. According to FiveThirtyEight, the Patriots had the easiest path to the Super Bowl in modern NFL history.

47. When Brady won his first Super Bowl, Eagles defensive end Derek Barnett was 5 years old, as NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah pointed out.

48. The Eagles are the only NFC East team without a Super Bowl. 

49. Eagles receiver Nelson Agholor has the sixth-best WR rating in football, according to PFF. WR rating is a quarterback's passer rating on throws that target a specific receiver.

50. After averaging 4.1 catches, 43.9 yards and 0.1 touchdowns in the regular season, Patriots receiver Danny Amendola is averaging nine catches, 98 yards and one touchdown in the playoffs.

51. Two former Patriots who won the Super Bowl last season now reside on the Eagles roster: defensive end Chris Long and running back LeGarrette Blount. No, they're not still friends with their former teammates.

"Straight enemies," Blount said last week, per NJ.com. "Ain't no friends. Ain't no friends. Ain't no homies. None of that. We know ... We know what we're going to do. They know what they're going to do. We both have the same goal in mind. There aren't any hard feelings, it just is what it is."

52. A year ago -- after the 2016 regular season -- Alshon Jeffery was a member of the Bears. He promised that "we are going to win the Super Bowl next year." He didn't specify what he meant by "we." Jeffery went on to sign with the Eagles. So, his prediction can still come true if the Eagles beat the Patriots. 

But as we all know by now, that's one big if.

CBS Sports Writer

Sean Wagner-McGough joined CBS Sports in 2015 after graduating from UC Berkeley. A native of Seattle, Sean now resides in the Bay Area. He spends his spare time defending Jay Cutler on Twitter. Full Bio

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