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Ricky Jean Francois #94 reacts with Kyle Van Noy #53 and Trey Flowers #98 in a win over the Titans. Getty

There should be plenty of interest in the quarterback matchup at Super Bowl LII, as the New England Patriots' Tom Brady pursues his sixth championship and as Carson Wentz's backup Nick Foles attempts to lead the Philadelphia Eagles to their first title.

But a key matchup on Feb. 4 may be the Eagles' running game and the Patriots' ability to contain it.

In the NFC Championship, Philadelphia was able to complete some big passing plays due to defensive breakdowns by a banged up and surprisingly disheveled Minnesota Vikings defense. Touchdown receptions like the 53-yarder to Alshon Jeffery and the 41-yarder to Torrey Smith may be harder to come by against the Patriots' well-organized defense. In two playoff games, the Patriots didn't allow one touchdown pass beyond 15 yards.

Offenses tend to play a little tighter in the Super Bowl, which means the Eagles may run the ball a little more than usual, presenting a test for a Patriots rush defense that finished 20th in the regular season.

Some stretches from the NFC Championship might provide clues about what's to come.

In his first carry against the Vikings, Jay Ajayi had a 13-yard gain and then another gain for seven yards near the end of the first quarter. The drive was capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by former Patriot LeGarrette Blount, who seemed completely unfazed by a hard hit from safety Andrew Sendejo.

In the fourth quarter, and with the Eagles seeking to kill some time off the clock with a 38-7 lead, the Eagles handed off to Ajayi on consecutive plays. His second run of the drive from inside the Eagles' 10-yard line, in which Ajayi was set on the right side, but swept to the left, went for nine yards. The Eagles then handed off to Ajayi again, and after taking contact from Mychal Kendricks, kept going for a 16-yard gain.

The Eagles would then run the ball for inconsequential small gains as the clock wound down, but some of the previous gains from Ajayi and Blount may serve as a warning to the Patriots defense: even hard hits may not slow down this backfield.

The Patriots are capable of rising to the challenge and may see an opportunity from how the Atlanta Falcons, who finished No. 9 in rush defense, looked against Philadelphia in a divisional playoff road game. The Eagles ran the ball 32 times and threw the ball 30 times. The result? Foles threw for 238 yards, while Ajayi, Blount and Corey Clement combined for just 78 yards on 25 carries. The only big gain was a 21-yard run by wide receiver Nelson Agholor in the second quarter.

Patriots defensive coordinator Matt Patricia may feel confident about the Patriots rush defense based on their recent performances. This is a defense that still thrives despite losing Pro Bowl linebacker Dont'a Hightower for the season.

In the AFC Championship, New England held Jacksonville Jaguars star Leonard Fournette to just 76 yards on 24 carries. Fournette's biggest gain was for 14 yards. Aside from a 12-yard gain, T.J. Yeldon was limited to just 13 yards on four carries. In the AFC divisional playoff game, the Tennessee Titans' Derrick Henry rushed for just 28 yards on 12 carries.

Matt Patricia has overseen a run defense that has overachieved in the playoffs. Getty