The Eagles and the Chiefs will clash in Super Bowl LVII on Feb. 12 in Arizona. The Chiefs triumphed over the Bengals in the AFC, and the Eagles defeated the 49ers in the NFC Championship. The top-seeded teams, with records of 14-3 each, will face each other in a highly-anticipated showdown. This match-up is not a typical underdog versus powerhouse scenario, as both teams are powerhouses in their own right. Let us then breakdown each team by position group and see who has the edge going into this game:
Jalen Hurts, in his third season, has propelled the Eagles to the best record in the NFC with 22 touchdowns, 6 interceptions, and a 66% completion percentage. Eagles QB coach Brian Johnson, who previously helped improve Kyle Trask’s performance as OC for the Gators, has helped Hurts to play mistake-free football. Hurts, one of the youngest quarterbacks to play in the Super Bowl, possesses championship-level experience from his time at Alabama and Oklahoma, allowing him to remain unfazed by the pressure of the big game.
Patrick Mahomes had a standout MVP-worthy season with 5250 passing yards, 41 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions, posting a career-high completion percentage of 67.1%. He became the fastest quarterback to reach 10 wins and has consistently shown his playoff prowess with 300+ yard games and multiple touchdowns. The only concern for Mahomes is his ankle injury, which limited his performance against the Bengals. He will face a stiff challenge in the Eagles’ tough defensive line.
Defensive Front Seven:
The Eagles boast one of the top defenses in the nation, ranking second in yards allowed. The interior line features two dominant tackles in Javon Hargrave (11 sacks, 60 tackles) and Fletcher Cox (7 sacks, 23 tackles). However, the defense’s success extends beyond the interior line with standout edge play, led by Haason Reddick who recorded 16 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 49 tackles. Josh Sweat added 11 sacks, while T.J Edwards contributed with 159 tackles, including a pick-six this season. The Eagles’ defensive front is a formidable force that will challenge the Chief’s offensive line.
For the Chiefs, the heart of their defense centers around their defensive tackle Chris Jones. Jones recorded a league-high 15.5 sacks at the DT spot and is as unstoppable a force as you will find. He did all this despite the fact he was double teamed at a league-high 69 % rate as a DT. With the ability to move to play both inside and outside, Jones destroyed the Bengal’s OL with 2 sacks and 5 quarterback hits. Expect defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo to once again use Jones all over the line and pressure Hurts. The expectation is that Jones can provide an impact similar to what Aaron Donald provided the Rams in last year’s Super Bowl.
The Chiefs defensive backs had a very solid performance against the Bengals in the AFC Championship game. Chiefs put out four rookies in Jaylen Watson, Joshua Williams, Byan Cook, and Trent Mcduffie who held their own against Joe Burrow. A cause of concern is the fact that L’Jarrius Sneed left the first quarter with a head injury, but the Chiefs are expecting him to be fully healthy by Sunday’s game.
The Eagles have a strong defensive backfield with two experienced cornerbacks, Darius Slay, and James Bradberry. Bradberry was recognized as a second-team All-Pro and Slay earned a Pro Bowl selection. Safety Marcus Epps recorded 94 tackles, while S C.J. Gardner-Johnson had 6 interceptions this year. The Eagles possess a talented and experienced secondary that outmatches the Chiefs’ defensive backs in a clear advantage for the Eagles.
The Chiefs activated Clyde Edwards- Helaire who will be available to play for the Super Bowl as injured WR Mecole Hardman( pelvis) will be out. That means they will have three running backs who will give them a different dimension in the backfield. The seventh-round Isaiah Pacheco has rushed for 4.9 yards per carry this season and has served as a pleasant surprise in Helaire’s absence. Jerick Mckinnon is a weapon at catching the ball out of the backfield as he had 512 receiving yards with 8 touchdowns this season. At the WR position the Chiefs field veterans Kadarius Toney and Ju Ju- Smith Schuster. Both Schuster and Toney were banged up versus the Bengals but are expected to play against the Eagles this Sunday. The heart of the Chief’s receiving corps is star TE Travis Kelce. Regarded by many as the best TE in the NFL, Kelce posted a season with 110 rec 1338 yds, and 12 TD passes. When healthy the Chiefs produced the number-one offense in the NFL.
The Eagles also boast one of the top offenses in the NFL. Devonta Smith had 95 receptions this season scoring 7 touchdowns and 1196 yards of total offense. A. J. Brown has been even better with 88 receptions 1496 receiving yards and 11 TD, the Eagles have two top 10 wide receivers that can score and move the chains and are arguably the best wide receiver duo in the NFL. Not to mention their balanced running attack with Miles Sanders who posted career highs in yards (1269 with 4.9 per attempt), carries ( 259), and touchdowns (11). The Eagles will come into the Super Bowl with one of the most balanced attacks in the nation
Slight Advantage: Eagles
The Chiefs have a strong offensive line and are in better shape compared to their last Super Bowl appearance against Tampa Bay two years ago. The line, consisting of veterans Orlando Brown Jr and Joe Thuney, as well as younger players Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith, has worked well together to give quarterback Mahomes plenty of time to throw and keep him protected, resulting in Mahomes being hit less than all quarterbacks except Brady and Goff.
The Eagles have what may be considered the best offensive line in the NFL. After some challenges when Lane Johnson was out, he is now back and healthy, and together with Landon Dickerson, Jordan Mailata, and Isaac Seumalo they form the highest-graded line according to PFF rankings. They are the only team with all of their offensive linemen ranking in the top 10 of PFF rankings at their respective positions.
An often-overlooked area that is crucial to winning games that are usually decided by inches. The Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker is one of the best kickers in the game and Toney can break a big run as a returner at any given moment. While Elliot is a good kicker in his own right, the Eagle’s special team is average at best as they don’t have someone as dependable as Butker or as dangerous as Toney in the return game.
Both Nick Sirianni and Andy Reid have done a magnificent job coaching their respective teams this season. Reid has found a way to maximize Mahomes despite not having Tyrique Hill, as the Chief’s Offense has not missed a beat. Meanwhile, Sirianni has done everything right in managing Hurts, two superstar wide receivers, and keeping the team focused on their defensive identity. I don’t expect coaching blunders to significantly affect this game. With that being said, Reid’s Super Bowl experience will prove valuable in a close game down the stretch.
Slight Advantage: Chiefs
Both these teams are the best in the National Football League. Patrick Mahomes is a generational talent that is resetting the record books as we speak. Behind a strong offensive line and a slew of weapons, he is capable of singlehandedly winning a best-of-one, especially with Travis Kelce as his main weapon. But as I look at the Eagles, I see a team that is dominant on both sides of the line. I see a team that rarely turns the ball over and is the best in the league at pressuring the quarterback (league-leading 70 sacks ). I am a firm believer that defense wins championships and in the end, a less than 100% Patrick Mahomes will struggle against the best defensive front- 7 in the league. That is why despite a back-and-forth game after three quarters, I have the Philadelphia Eagles pulling away in the fourth quarter and winning by two scores.
ROLLO’S S PICK: EAGLES 34-24
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