The Eagles have a very good quarterback who is having a very good season.
The Chiefs have the best quarterback on the planet.
The Eagles have a G.M. who has assembled a powerhouse. Philly also has a hungry young head coach has achieved “buy-in” from his entire locker room.
The Chiefs have a head coach who is unquestionably the best offensive play designer and play caller in the NFL.
The Eagle organization is making its first Super Bowl appearance since 2017. Only seven players are still around off that roster.
The Chiefs are in the SB for the third time in the past four years. Yes, in this case I think Super Bowl experience matters. “Knowing the drill” is significant.
So I’m picking K.C., right?
I can’t get past this. While the Chiefs have a very talented roster, the Eagles top to bottom have the best 53-man roster in the sport, and one of the best in recent memory.
Football is the ultimate team game.
OK, let’s get in the weeds.
Both teams have solid offensive lines. But the Eagles’ OL is stellar.
The Chiefs can run the ball well at times with rookie sensation Isiah Pacheco. And Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back off injured reserve. Yes, CEH has been inconsistent during his tenure in K.C. But he can be explosive, and no doubt he views this SB as a shot at redemption. The Chiefs need to gain at least 100 rushing yards, and if the Eagles’ defense has a weakness, it’s stopping the run. This can be an opportunity for the Chiefs to keep the Eagles’ pass rush from swallowing Mahomes.
That will prove easier said than done. The Philly pass rush is historically great. The Chiefs’ pass rush is essentially Chris Jones and some other guys. It’s going to be difficult if not impossible for Kansas City to get consistent pressure on
Jalen Hurts. That means Hurts will have some deep-ball shots to A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. The flip side is that Mahomes, who still has to be hobbled, is going to have the get the ball out of his hands in a hurry.
You have to figure that a cornerstone of the Eagles’ defensive game plan will be to not let Travis Kelce beat them. And remember the Chiefs WR corps is still battling recent injuries. Mahomes is going to get squeezed, and often.
Kelce will not be the only very talented TE in this game. Philly’s Dallas Goedert is a load. And remember that he’ll have those dragster WRs on his side to clear things out underneath.
As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the Eagle offense may actually have more big play opportunities than will the Chiefs.
Andy Reid has done a remarkable job of adjusting his offense after Tyreek Hill headed to Miami. But the Chiefs are now a ball-control offense, dependent on long, double-digit play drives. Good luck with that against that Philly D.
Time of possession can be a misleading and at times completely irrelevant stat. But in this case it matters, because the Chiefs are not as ridiculously explosive as they have been in the past. Philly should be able to hold down the Chiefs’ number of possessions by pounding the rock offensively. The Chiefs’ run defense is decent, but the Eagles’ running game can be overwhelming. Ask the Giants.
The respective defensive secondaries? The Chiefs are talented and young. The Eagles DBs are talented, experienced, seasoned and versatile. Advantage Philly.
This could come down to clutch field goals. If it does, I give the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker a slight edge over the Eagles’ Jake Elliott.
Finally, there’s this. Both DCs have had two weeks to scheme and game-plan. As a result, I expect each quarterback to throw two picks.
Which team overcomes that?
Ultimately, the Eagles, 30-27.