It all comes down to this, the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles are facing off against each other in Super Bowl 57 in Arizona. As these two teams continue preparing for the final game of the season, it’s time to look at three key matchups that will decide this game.
Three Key Matchups:
1. Eagles Offensive Line vs Chris Jones
Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce has allowed 11 pressures this season in both regular and postseason games. Chris Jones had 10 pressures, and two sacks, in the conference championship game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Although Jones has primarily played as a defensive tackle this season, he lined up over tackles more against the Cincinnati Bengals and they didn’t have an answer for him. Given that and how excellent Kelce has been this season, I can see the Chiefs moving Jones around and trying to find good matchups, or at least new matchups, and having to make the Eagles react. I’d imagine Jones plays a good amount of snaps, say 15-20 over Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson as he’s playing through a brutal groin injury.
2. Eagles’ Wide Receivers vs Chiefs’ Defensive Backs
The young secondary for the Chiefs really stepped up against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Conference Championship. Now they have to go up against A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. A.J. Brown was top five in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns this season, and Smith was top ten in catches and yards. This duo helped lead the Eagles with one of the most explosive offenses in the league, and it’s up to the young secondary in Kansas City to slow them down.
3. Chiefs’ Offensive Line vs Eagles’ Defensive Line
Another trench matchup, but that’s the theme of these teams who make it late in the playoffs, they have good lines on either side of the ball. The Eagles, have top-tier units on both sides and the Chiefs have an elite defensive lineman and a top-tier offensive line as well. It will be strength on strength. The Eagles are deep on the defensive line, as they have Josh Sweat and Haason Reddick starting on the edge who both set career highs in pressures, and Brandon Graham setting a career-high in sacks coming in fresh on later downs. This largely resembles what the Eagles had when they beat the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. As far as the run game, the Chiefs have a sneaky great run-blocking offensive line, they just don’t utilize it much because they have Patrick Mahomes at quarterback and no one in their right mind would take the ball out of his hands.
I have expressed my concerns with Kansas City’s offensive tackles, as both were in the top four in pressures allowed this season (Andrew Wylie allowed 49 while Orlando Brown Jr. allowed 47). Only time will tell who wins this matchup.
Mahomes has more time removed from his ankle injury and it didn’t slow him down too badly against the Bengals. The young secondary for the Chiefs stepped up well and looks to be ready to take on the Eagles. Philadelphia has the better offensive line and defense for my money, and the improvement we’ve seen from Jalen Hurts is very promising. However, the Chiefs are still the kings and until you kill the king I’m still taking the king. Also, I’ve gotten burned too many times picking against the Chiefs.
Score: 38-32 Kansas City Chiefs