It’s rare that the two best teams actually meet in the Super Bowl. The teams that make the big game are always deserving, but injury luck and the bounce of the ball usually lead to some upsets along the way.
Philadelphia and Kansas City were the two best teams this season.
From start to finish the Eagles used their talent and depth to take care of business on Sundays. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes led the top offense in the league from the jump. Kansas City dropped 44 points on the Cardinals in week one — in the same stadium that the Super Bowl will be played in I might add — and never looked back. These are the one seeds and the correct representatives from each conference. Let’s take a deeper look into this incredible matchup.
Eagles’ offense vs Chiefs’ defense
Philadelphia offense DVOA Ranks
Overall – 3rd
Rush – 1st
Pass – 9th
Chiefs’ defense DVOA Ranks
Rush – 15th
Pass – 20th
The Chiefs clearly have their hands full on this side of the ball. Philadelphia has been running all over anyone in its way. The Eagles shredded the Giants’ putrid rush defense to pieces and followed up that performance by getting the job done against a stout Niners front. If Kansas City tries to line up and play a straightforward style of defense in this game they will be out-classed and dominated. Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo knows this and will have plenty of unique calls up his sleeve.
The matchups on the outside are what make this an especially daunting task for Kansas City. Spags will be forced to load the box and dial-up run-blitzes to stop the Eagles on the ground. When this happens the Eagles have a big edge with their receivers against the young secondary of Kansas City. Joshua Williams, Jaylen Watson, Trent McDuffie, and L’Jarius Sneed are not going to scare or slow down A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. This matchup is a clear edge for Philadelphia.
Jalen Hurts will have plenty of chances to hit big plays down the field. Deep ball accuracy has been a calling card for Hurts throughout his NFL career. It’s what he’s best at and where he’s most comfortable operating. The issue is that the deep ball magic has not been quite the same since Hurts injured his throwing shoulder in the final month of the regular season. The Eagles have struggled at times this year against the blitz and Kansas City will most certainly be bringing the heat in this game. Hurts will have ample opportunities to hit Brown and Smith over the top and it will be up to him to make the most of these chances and make Kansas City pay for leaving these young corners on an island against premier wide receivers.
Chiefs’ offense vs Eagles’ defense
Kansas City offense DVOA Ranks
Overall – 1st
Rush – 9th
Pass – 1st
Philadelphia defense DVOA Ranks
Overall – 6th
Rush – 21st
Pass – 1st
This will be a massive step up in class for an Eagles’ defense that has not faced many elite quarterbacks up to this point. Philly’s defense has dominated this year thanks to a special personnel group, not necessarily because of the scheme. Which would you rather have against Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Andy Reid? To slow down this offense you need both. The scheme must be brilliant and the players have to win one-on-one matchups. Eagles’ DC Jonathan Gannon relies on basic defensive concepts that allow his game-wrecking players to generate stops and force turnovers. Gannon will need to be more creative than usual in order to slow down an Andy Reid offense with extra time to prepare.
Philly registered 70 sacks this season, the most in franchise history. Hasson Reddick, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweat and many others have been taking the lunch of opposing offensive lines since September. This trend HAS to continue on Sunday for the Eagles.
There is no doubt that the Eagles will generate a lot of pressure with the pass rush, but that is not enough. No quarterback in the league takes fewer sacks when pressured than Patrick Mahomes. It’s nearly impossible to actually get Mahomes to the turf. He’s Houdini greased in butter with the arm of God. Pressuring Mahomes and not finishing the job with a sack is actually the worst thing a defense can do because that is when Mahomes escapes the pocket and generates the magical big plays.
When the Eagles have a chance to get to Mahomes, and there will be a lot of chances, they have to finish the play not with pressure, not with a hit or a re-direct, but with a sack. If not, they will get Mahomes’d just like everyone else.
Pick – Eagles (-1.5) Risking 1.1 units to win 1
Overall — +0.86 units
I find it hilarious that I have given out over 100 bets in these articles throughout the year and enter the Super Bowl almost dead even. This is it. One final pick to determine if we finish in the red or the black.
This game is a nightmare to handicap. My brain has gone from strong lean Eagles to slight lean Chiefs and then back to a slight lean Eagles. The things that have lingered in my mind the most are the quarterbacks this Eagles’ defense has faced and the advantage that A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith have on the outside.
I believe that Mahomes and Reid will win the battle against Gannon and this Philly front. But I am ultimately going with the Eagles because I feel they will be able to control the clock and hit big plays. This game will come down to Jalen Hurts. The Eagles are going to successfully run the ball, forcing KC to take chances in the secondary. If Hurts can connect consistently with his star receivers, the Eagles will win this game.
I don’t think the moment is too big for Hurts or Nick Siriani. The advantage that Philly has on the ground should help tremendously with nerves early in the game. And that running game will keep Mahomes on the sideline.
With little to no confidence, give me the birds.
Be sure to shop around for the best lines if you have that option. Here are my favorite props that I have seen spread across various books.
Coin toss – HEADS
Gatorade Color – Lime Green/Yellow (+200)
No roughing the passer (-150)
Chiefs to call the first timeout (-120)
KC 1st TD – Travis Kelce (+300)
1st TD – Noah Gray (+4000)
Biggest lead UNDER 14.5 points (-135)
KC UNDER 0.5 rushing touchdowns (+110)
Kelce OVER 25 receiving yards in each half (-130)
Opening kickoff to be a touchback (-160)
Jerick McKinnon UNDER 5.5 carries (-130)
Miles Sanders to score a TD (+100)
A.J. Brown longest reception OVER 26.5 yards (-115)
Miles Sanders OVER 12.5 first quarter rushing yards (-130)
Jerick McKinnon UNDER 44.5 rush+rec yards (-115)
Boston Scott UNDER 9.5 rushing yards (-125)
Soak it all in. There is nothing better than football season and Sunday is officially the end. Eat all the food. Place all the bets. Good luck to the Eagles and Chiefs fans out there. I truly can’t imagine what that feeling would be like.
Thanks for following along with the picks all year and be sure to check out more great content on Apollo.