New England (13-3) vs. Philadelphia (13-3), 6:30 p.m. on NBC

And there were two.

The last two teams standing meet in the Twin Cities.

New England vs. Philadelphia.

The hunter vs. the hunted.

It’s the last football game that will be played until the pre-season (the regular season starts September 6th, so mark those calendars now).

one team will be going home with a trophy, while the otner team will be second-guessed from now until they kick off in the Fall. All the work of OTA’s, mini-camp, preseason and regular season comes to an end.

Sweating, fighting rookies and free agents for your job, sleeping in dorms for the first time since college, having a coach or ball boy come to you saying “coach wants to see you and bring your playbook,” which means you’re being cut.

17 weeks and 16 games. Travel, dealing with the media and coaches comes to an end in the Twin Cities in the great indoors. In three hours or so, the 2017 season will draw its final breath.

Super Bowl LII in the Twin Cities. While the other 30 teams will be at home wishing they were preparing to win the Lombardi, the New England Patriots will have a chance to defend their title, while the Philadelphia Eagles will look to win their first. A pair of top seeds meet to decide who will win it all.

The defending Super Bowl champions erased a 20-10 deficit in the final 15 minutes of play, using a pair of TD passes from Brady to WR Danny Amendola to win the AFC crown by a final of 24-20 over Jacksonville at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro. The Jaguars led 14-10 at the intermission and could have made it a 14-point game going into the half had they not picked up two penalties that stalled their drive. The Jaguars then took a 17-10 lead into the start of the fourth quarter before Brady and Amendola did their magic, first scoring on a 9-yard pass with 8:44 left and then took the lead with 2:48 when the duo connected on a 4-yard toss with 2:48 left.

Jacksonville then had one last chance to reclaim the lead late in the contest when they got the ball back with 2:48 left at their own 25-yard line. After the two-minute warning, the Jaguars would get as close as New England’s 43-yard line when Blake Bortle’s pass to WR Dede Westbrook was swatted away by Stephon Gilmore. Jacksonville outrushed New England 101-46, with rookie RB Leonard Fournette leading all rushers with 76 yards and a TD, while Bortles threw for 293 yards and a TD, while Brady threw for 290 yards and the two Amendola TDs. Jacksonville on third down was 6 of 15 and kept the ball for 35:08 (they were 0 of 1 on fourth down), while New England was 3 of 12 on third down, 1 of 1 on fourth down and held the ball for 24:52.

Philadelphia erased a 7-0 first quarter deficit and scored their 38 points in the NFC Championship Game unchallenged in their 38-7 win over Minnesota at Lincoln Financial Field last Sunday afternoon. Minnesota opened the scoring and led 7-0 with 10:14 left in the quarter when Case Keenum and WR Kyle Rudolph connected on a 25-yard pass. The Eagles then went to work and tied the contest when Keenum was picked off by CB Patrick Robinson with 6:26 left in the first and things would go downhill from there for Minnesota as the Vikings would go into the intermission, trailing 24-7. Philly would then go on to score two more times in the second half, sealing the Vikings’ fate. Nick Foles threw for 352 yards and three TDs, two of them to WR Alshon Jeffery as the Eagles outrushed Minnesota 110-70, while Keenum threw for 271 yards with a pair of interceptions. The Eagles were 10 of 14 on third down tries and ruled the clock as they kept the ball for 34:04, while the Vikings were 6 of 13 and 0 of 2 on third and fourth downs, keeping the pigskin for 25:56.

For New England, it will be their 10th trip to the big game and they’re 5-4, while the Eagles will make their third trip with an 0-2 record under their belts. It will be their first meeting since George Walker Bush was in the White House and John Paul II was on the throne of St. Peter in the Vatican.

The Eagles, led by second-year head coach Doug Pederson, tied a franchise record with 13 regular-season wins (2004) and earned the No. 1 seed in the NFC for the fourth time since 2002. The Eagles, who completed a “worst-to-first” turnaround, are the first team since the 2009 New Orleans Saints to win its division the season after finishing in or tied for last place and advance to the Super Bowl.

“It’s a tremendous feeling to be going to the Super Bowl,” Pederson told USA Today and ESPN. “I love coaching this football team. I love coaching these players. The thing about this team is that despite all the adversity that surrounds the team, these guys don’t listen to that. I don’t listen to that. They come to work and practice hard every day. They love being around each other. One of our goals was to be the NFC champions and represent the NFC in the Super Bowl. And now we’ve got our work cut out for us. We’re going to the Super Bowl and we still have some unfinished business ahead of us.”

Patriots head coach Bill Bellichick and quarterback Tom Brady will be making their eighth Super Bowl appearance together, the most NFL title games for any head coach and starting quarterback duo in league history. Belichick and Brady have won five Super Bowls together, the most by a head coach and starting quarterback combination.

“You cherish these moments and opportunities,” Brady told the Boston Globe and Boston Herald. “I know we’ve had quite a few of them, which we’ve been very blessed to do. It’s just been an unbelievable run and I think everyone should be really proud of what we’ve accomplished. I’m proud of our team. It’s been a great year and it would be really great if we can take care of business in the next game.”

“We have great players and coaches in this locker room and I knew we’d be able to compete for this,” Eagles defensive end Chris Long told ESPN. “We’ve earned this opportunity but that’s all it is. We still have a lot of work to do.”

“We all believe in each other,” says Patriots safety Devin McCourty. “This team is battle tested. We’ve gone through ups and downs. We’ve gone through adversity. You just have to keep playing. When you have a foundation that you can lean on, you don’t panic. You understand and believe in each other and you just give yourself a chance to win.”

In regular season action, the Eagles lead the series 7-5 and have outscored the Pats 283-269. Their last regular season meeting took place in 2015 in Foxboro and the Eagles wer 35-28 winners, while New England’s last win in the series came in the City of Brotherly Love by a final of 31-10 in 2003.

Their only post-season meeting took place in 2004 in Super Bowl XXXIX and the Pats came away witt the 24-21 win at what was then Alltel Stadium (now Ever Bank Field). After a scoreless first quarter, the teams took a 7-7 tie with them to the intermission and were tied 14-14 at the end of the third quarter before New England went to work, scoring the first ten points of the period when RB Cory Dillon scored from 2 yards out with 13:44 left in the contest and added a 22-yard field goal from Adam Vinatieri with 8:40 left to play. The Eagles would pull to within 3 with 1:48 left when WR Greg Lewis connected with QB Donovan McNabb on a 30 yard TD toss. Dillon led all rushers with 75 yards as the Pats outrushed Phialdelphia 112-45 and McNabb threw for 357 yards and three TDs, while Brady threw for 236 yard and a pair of TDs (McNabb was sacked four times, Brady was sacked twice and McNabb three three interceptions) and each team lost a fumble in the contest. New England on third down tries went 4 of 12 and held on to the ball for 31:37, while the Eagles kept the pigskin for 28:23, going 9 of 16 on third down tries.

In the final football game of the 2017 campaign, the oddsmakers in Vegas like the Patriots and the powers that be have made them 5 point favorites with the over/under at 48. Since this is the last game of the season, this is the LAST chance to make THE DRILL a reality until September. With that… (For those of you that know what The Drill is, you are excused. Everyone else, pay attention. We don’t want any rookie mistakes here, k?) After you go to the 9:30 mass on Sunday (the 4:30 vigil mass on Saturday counts as a mass attended, people! Don’t make us send the nuns after you! If we do, it is SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OVER!), head to your favorite store (a trip to Wal Mart, Target, K-Mart or Costco counts) and get the vittles and the beverages (soda, beer, wine, coffee, et al… if you live in a state that allows the purchase of the items in question) and invite the co-workers, the neighbors (including that really cute kindergarden teacher that knows what to do with a cover-2 defense) and your cousin Connie (remember her? She’s the one that’s been married twice that’s just turned 57 last June and dates a 42-year old ex-Marine, who’s now a football coach at the high school in your town. She’s also the one that ate an entire Oreo cheesecake, two bags of Cool Ranch Doritos, two bacon cheeseburgers with blue cheese and chugged two 2-liter Cokes at your Super Bowl party last year and didn’t gain a pound. You look at her and say to yourself, “what the hell?”

Two teams.

One game.

One mission.

It all comes down to this.

Win and you’re World Champions.

Lose and you’ll be second-guessed from now until the start of next season.

Each player on the winning team will get $112,000; as for the losing team, they’ll be getting $56,000 to each member of the losing, which comes out to a little more than $8 million total for the personnel of the two competing clubs. The winners will get rings, be on talk shows and perhaps make a trip to the White House. There’s a lot at stake. There will be winners on the field and winners in the ad battle that will ensue. Could there be overtime? It’s possible. Could there be a shutout? Maybe but there’s never been a shutout in all of the Super Bowls.

While the Pats are the darlings of the football world for now, there’s always a chance for an upset. That chance is coming Sunday in the Twin Cities. Philly pulls off the upset in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and takes the win, even though New England could make things closer than 5 points.

Broadcast Information – 6:30 p.m. on NBC: Al Michaels, Cris Collinsworth, Michele Tafoya (Field reporter)WESTWOOD ONE: Kevin Harlan, Boomer Esiason, Mike Holmgren, Tony Boselli, Ed Werder; SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 83 (Philadelphia), 82 (New England);| XM: 88 (WestW1ood), 83 (Philadelphia), 82 (New England)

Referee: Gene Steratore

Injury Report

New England – New England reports no injuries

Philadelphia – Philadelphia reports no injuries

Weather Information: Game indoors

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