For the third time in four years, and eighth time in 17 seasons, Brady and the Patriots will appear in the big game, this time facing a Philadelphia Eagles franchise looking for their first-ever Super Bowl title.
The betting line opened with the Eagles as 5.5-point underdogs, but has dropped to 4.5 as money comes in on the NFC champion. Despite that movement, it's still time to don a retro Randall Cunningham jersey, sing your best version of "Fly Eagles Fly", and collect your winnings after an upset victory.
Philadelphia Eagles (+4.5) vs. New England Patriots
For much of the AFC Championship Game, it looked as though it would be the Jacksonville Jaguars representing the conference in Minnesota. The AFC South champion used a methodical offense to keep Brady off the field and a dominant defense to punish him when he was on it.
The brilliance of Belichick and Brady shone through in the second half, however, and the Patriots found enough offense to get them to the Super Bowl yet again. The challenge awaiting them with the Eagles is similar to that posed by Jacksonville: a dominant defense with a very solid rushing attack limited in the passing game.
Philadelphia's trio of LeGarrette Blount, Jay Ajayi, and Corey Clement helped lead the league's third-ranked rushing attack, while the defense only allowed 18.4 points per contest, good for fourth-best in the league. The Jaguars showed a team can move the ball on the ground against New England, and Nick Foles, while limited, certainly offers more in the passing game than Blake Bortles.
Brady has rarely lost throughout his storied career, but the best chance to take him down has always been when teams can pressure the legendary passer with just four players. The Eagles are well-equipped to do so, as the team led the NFL this season in quarterback pressures, as per Pro Football Focus.
Philadelphia rotates through seven players on the defensive line, something the Jaguars couldn't do, and that hurt them in the fourth quarter two weeks ago when Brady's passer rating jumped from 87.5 to 136.3. The fact the Eagles should still be fresh in the final frame bodes well for the upset chances.
Every Patriots Super Bowl win with Belichick and Brady has been by a six-point margin or smaller, with three decided by a field goal. It's a good bet this one follows suit and comes down to the end.
Pick: Eagles 24, Patriots 23
Conference championship record: 1-1
Season record: 144-113-9
(Odds courtesy: PlayNow.com; Odds as of January 31, 2018)