Super Bowl LVII Preview: Eagles v. Chiefs


Ian Hooks

The Philadephia Eagles face off versus the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.

Ian Hooks and Cabot Butts

The Philadelphia Eagles (14-3) are set to face off versus superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs (14-3) on Sunday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. 


The Kansas City Chiefs rank first in total offense, while the Philadelphia Eagles rank third. Which offense has been more impressive over the course of this season? Also, how do the Chiefs’ wide receiver injuries come into play in this matchup?



Although the Chiefs offense ranks first in total offense, averaging 413.6 yards per game, the Philadelphia Eagles’ offense has drawn my attention. Disclaimer: I am a massive Jalen Hurts supporter, and believe that he is the second coming of prime Cam Newton. Yes, Newton did not win a Super Bowl, but I think the times have changed. In Super Bowl L, Newton was by himself on offense; Hurts has a ton of surrounding talent that will help him. This season, Hurts has led his team down the field time-and-time again. Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen has implemented the perfect playbook that plays right into the quarterback’s strengths as a runner and bruiser. Combine that with the run-pass option and a backfield that consists of Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell and speedster Boston Scott – bam! The offense is moving and vibing, and I still have not included the names of wide receivers A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert, who contributes both as a pass catcher and skilled blocker. However, the Chiefs injury report does not look good with receiver Mecole Hardman being placed on injured reserve and both receivers Kadarius Toney and JuJu Smith-Schuster are questionable for Sunday. With that being said, tight end Travis Kelce is the Kansas City offense, so the lack of receivers is not too disheartening and impactful.      



While Hurts has played at an Most Valuable Player (MVP) caliber level all year long, I do not see anybody being able to stop the Kansas City offense and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. Even when Mahomes was playing through a high ankle sprain the last two weeks, he was almost unstoppable on offense, making mind-boggling plays left and right. Now that he will likely be good as new in the Super Bowl, I do not see a scenario, barring an injury to the quarterback, where the Eagles offense is able to overcome the Kansas City offense. Not only do I look to Mahomes in a situation like this, but I believe that Kelce will play an instrumental role for the Chiefs in this game. With Kansas City lacking a strong receiving core due to injury, maybe besides Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Kelce will be the go-to during almost every key moment in the game. Even with Kansas City lacking a phenomenal defense to counter the Philadelphia offense, one that includes Smith and Brown, as well as a lethal backfield trio, I do not think that Hurts will be able to make up for all that I see Mahomes doing on Sunday.


How will the defensive matchup between the Eagles and the Chiefs shape up with the Eagles possessing the second ranked defense in the National Football League (NFL) and the Chiefs ranking at #11, leaving them open to a lethal Eagles passing attack, a category in which the Chiefs rank #18 in defending?



The Chiefs have a highly ranked offensive line with a handful of key young pieces, such as center Creed Humphrey and guard Trey Smith, but this Eagles front seven is stacked. In fact, Philadelphia’s defense ranks first in total sacks with 78, which is 16 more than any other. Adding on to that, the Eagles get around one sack per 10 plays over the course of any single game. If you know football, you can comprehend how unreal that statistic is. Also, if I am going to be praising this Eagles defense, I can not go without mentioning the names Haason Reddick and C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Reddick, in my opinion, deserved to be in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, and honestly could hold his own against favorite Nick Bosa. Reddick is constantly at the quarterback after every play, using his excellent first step and quickness in his speed rush, and combining that with his twitchiness on the line, which makes him an excellent pass rusher. Safety Gardner-Johnson was an under-the-radar addition in the offseason, acquired for a reasonably low price with the New Orleans Saints, and he has been excellent for this team’s secondary. Gardner-Johnson is constantly involved in the play, no matter if that is downfield in coverage or hustling towards the ball carrier for a tackle. Defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon has an abundance of talent on this side of the ball, and it will show against head coach Andy Reid and his tricky Chiefs offense.          



There is no shortage of talent on either defense. With the Eagles possessing the best defensive line in the NFL, one that includes Fletcher Cox, Josh Sweat and Javon Hargrave, the Chiefs offensive line will have a lot on their plate. Even with one of the best offensive lines in the league on the other side, the Eagles defensive line has the most sacks of any other defense in the NFL. They have shown time and time again their block shedding talent and ability to get to the quarterback. On the other side, the Chiefs have names like Chris Jones and Frank Clark heading up their line. Additionally, Kansas City has a young talent in George Karlaftis, who can be sneaky good off the edge if the Eagles offensive line, and specifically Jordan Mailata, takes his matchup for granted for even a second. Moving away from the defensive line, the secondary matchup in this game will be electric. For the Chiefs, a few superstars make up the linebacker core, including Willie Gay and Nick Bolton, as well as more stars playing in the cornerback and safety positions, in Trent McDuffie, Justin Reid and Juan Thornhill. On the other sideline, the Eagles also have studs at linebacker and cornerback, in Reddick, James Bradberry, Gardner-Johnson and Darius Slay. No matter what these quarterbacks are able to do in the pocket, it is likely that defenses will come in clutch when it matters most. 


The Eagles rush for an average of almost 154 yards a game, good for fourth in the NFL; however, the Chiefs defense has shown all year that they can limit the run, ranking eighth in rushing defense. How well will the Eagles be able to perform on the ground on Sunday?



The Eagles will start off pounding the football. What they do on the ground really determines the game, and how the offense is going to function for the rest of the match. Beginning with Sanders, the alternate rotations that Philly has with Gainwell, Scott and even Hurts is unique amongst the many teams in the league. Philly lives on the run game; however, unlike some teams, they do not die on it because of the powerful and impactful air game that they have as well. Whatever the Eagles can bring will lead them down the field, and the Chiefs will likely not be able to disrupt the offensive firepower that Philadelphia has. Kansas City has a solid front, but the running back room and offensive line will be too much for the Chiefs. 



The Eagles are undoubtedly going to have a hard time moving the ball on the ground. With that being said, they will still pound the rock early and often before changing their gameplan to a more option-lead offense before inevitably having to resort to an air raid offense. For the Eagles, an air raid offense should not be a problem with their receiving core, including guys like Smith and Brown running routes. Goedert is also going to be a huge problem for the Chiefs defense. Because the Chiefs’ run defense will seemingly be such a problem for the Eagles’ running backs, they will ultimately resort to the passing game, which I see the Kansas City defense being able to adjust to and stop.


Game Predictions:


Philadelphia Eagles, 33 – Kansas City Chiefs, 24



Kansas City Chiefs, 30 – Philadelphia Eagles, 27