Super Bowl LVII kicks off at 6:30 pm ET on Sunday in a game that should be hotly contested. The punters listed the Philadelphia Eagles as a 1.5 point favorite over the Kansas City Chiefs.
The Chiefs have a lot going for them in the title game. The most prominent weapon is Patrick Mahomes, arguably the most explosive quarterback in the NFL.
Kansas City also has a talented head coach, perhaps the best tight end in the league, and an effective defense. The Chiefs are also very familiar with going deep in the playoffs. With Mahomes as the starting quarterback since 2018, the Chiefs have won a Super Bowl along with an impressive 10 playoff games.
However, the Chiefs may be more underdogs than some may think. They will face an Eagles team that has topped both the regular season and the playoffs.
Here’s a quick look at how the Eagles edge in the Super Bowl.
This unit had an impressive 70 sacks in 2022, which was by far the most in the league. But they also showed up when needed. In two playoff games, the Eagles held the New York Giants to seven points and the San Francisco 49ers to seven points.
While the Eagles only had two Pro Bowlers on defense – outside linebacker Haasan Reddick and cornerback Darius Slay – this group is more than just a pair of stars. Veteran defensive tackle Javon Hargrave has been a beast all season. Both Hargrave and defensive end Josh Sweat, who have improved since their rookie season in 2021, have 18.5 sacks in two seasons. The Eagles also have Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, among others, to put pressure on Mahomes and contain Travis Kelce.
Chiefs don’t have an elite racing game
The Eagles’ only poor defensive performance was against the Dallas Cowboys on December 24, when they were down 40 points in a loss. But in that game, the Eagles held star running back Ezekiel Elliott to 55 yards on 16 carries. The Cowboys have a stronger offensive line than the Chiefs and there is no Chiefs rusher as effective as Elliott.
Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco had a solid season in Kansas City. However, he only managed 26 yards on 10 carries at home against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship. Significantly topping those numbers against an Eagles defense that has more depth and star power than the Bengals seems unlikely.
Coach Andy Reid can’t expect magic from Mahomes on every play. When the Chiefs go to the ground game, the Eagles’ defense will be up for the challenge.
Chiefs quarterbacks have a lot to worry about with AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith. While the two star wideouts can provide some big plays for quarterback Jalen Hurts, don’t be surprised if the Eagles pitch to their steady tight end on key plays.
Hurts played for Goedert three times in the first drive against the 49ers in the NFC Championship. The Eagles would score a touchdown on the drive.
On the next three drives, Hurts didn’t pitch to Goedert, and the Eagles managed just one first down in 10 plays. The fifth drive involved a finish to Goedert and the Eagles would later score a touchdown. The sixth drive saw two completions for Goedert on a three-play drive that ended with running back Boston Scott running for a touchdown.
Yes, when Goedert is involved in a campaign, good things usually happen for the Eagles. That logic probably didn’t go unnoticed by coach Nick Sirianni.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnulo has blitzed less this season and can focus on Goedert. But that could mean opening up receiving opportunities for other players like Miles Sanders and Kenneth Gainwell.
The Eagles eliminated both of their playoff opponents. The Chiefs were lucky to beat the Bengals and a week earlier they weren’t looking particularly dominant against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Going into the season, there was a lot of talk about the strength of the AFC West. However, it was the NFC East that turned out to be the strongest division in the NFL.
The Eagles, who endured a tough regular season challenge, have plenty of swagger and guns to hold off an excellent Chiefs team.