We are just hours away from Super Bowl Sunday and it’s going to be a fantastic matchup in Phoenix.
We have the two No. 1 seeds battling it out for the Vince Lombardi Trophy. We have the most complete team in the NFL facing off against the best quarterback and coaching combo in the game. Both teams have an identical 16-3 record and have scored exactly 541 points this season, now they battle to secure the second Super Bowl win for their franchise Super Bowl in a five year span.
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Case for the Eagles:
Sometimes it’s simple to say the Eagles have the overall talent advantage her, but it's true. The Eagles have the No. 1 ranked offensive line and second-best defensive line group according to PFF. The Eagles offensive line ranks in top three in both pass block and run block win rate. Defensively, they are the first team to have four pass rushers with double digit sacks. That unit will have a chance to continue to make history. But it's also not just about the trenches for Philadelphia - they have a top 5 cornerback tandem with Darius Slay and James Bradberry in the secondary. On the offensive end, AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert make a more than capable receiving core. Jalen Hurts has taken the next step at quarterback ranking in top 10 in QB EPA.
The question is, do the Eagles have a weakness??
The one knock the Eagles have is their strength of schedule. Philadelphia somehow managed to face the easiest schedule of opposing offenses and the fifth easiest schedule of opposing defenses. Just look at their schedule, who is the Eagles best win? Could it be at home on Monday night football against the Minnesota Vikings on primetime in Week 2? In the postseason they beat the 49ers without a quarterback in the second half. Their next best win may be against the Cowboys at home with … Cooper Rush at starting quarterback?
Regardless of the schedule, the Eagles dominated the teams they did play- leading the NFL in point differential.
If the Eagles are going to win they have to rely on their offensive run game. The Eagles led the league in rushing DVOA, EPA, and explosive plays. The Chiefs played only two games all season against a team with a positive rushing DVOA; they lost both. The Eagles need to play possession football to keep the ball out of Mahomes hands. These long play drives will keep Mahomes out of rhythm. When Mahomes is in rhythm, he is unstoppable. The Eagles offense may have as big of a role accomplishing that as the defense.
Defensively, it’s going to be about pressure on the edge. The Chiefs offensive line is pretty good and is their strength of the offense this year. Patrick Mahomes has a bum ankle, and it may have an impact on how Mahomes is going to navigate the pocket. Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathon Gannon is going to have to throw something new. The Chiefs shred the Eagles base cover three defense- (Mahomes’s QBR against that defense is in the 90’s). The Chiefs receivers know how to sit down in those zones. We will see if the Eagles play man here, their corners are more than capable. They are going to need to give looks that make Mahomes uncomfortable. Let’s see what they do.
The Case for the Chiefs:
The Eagles have the advantage with player personnel. But the Chiefs have the best quarterback on the planet and the coaching mismatch cannot be overstated. Andy Reid is a mastermind with two weeks to prepare. The Chiefs have been in the Super Bowl before, while this is fairly new territory in Philadelphia. The Eagles had an easy path to the Super Bowl, while Kansas City had to play seven quarters with Mahomes on a bum ankle, against two very talented teams.
Let’s break it down here.
People have been stating how well the Chiefs offense has been this year. The Chiefs offense ranks first in DVOA, led the league in scoring and Mahomes passed for 5,250 yards 41 touchdowns on his way to a second MVP. This isn’t the limping Kansas City team that got destroyed by Tampa Bay two years ago. The Chiefs offensive line ranks first in pass block win rate.
The Chiefs have had the best offense in the NFL all season, and it hasn’t been close. There’s no real reason to think they will struggle to move the ball in this game, unless Mahomes’s ankle injury turns out to be a major issue.
All the metrics suggest the Eagles defense is set up to be successful against a passing team like the Chiefs- they rank first in pass DVOA and they sack opposing quarterbacks on 11 percent of pass plays. The Eagles have played the worst stretch of opposing quarterbacks. The Eagles have faced four offenses that rank in the top 10 in EPA; they have given up 28+ three of four of the times they played. The one top 10 offense they did play, was an early season matchup against the Jaguars- that game was played in the middle of a monsoon. We are not counting the 49ers game for reasons you should know why.
Defensively the Chiefs haven’t been great. Since Week 11 they have been steadily improving. They rank in the top 5 in pressure rate and the defense climbed from 25-28th in DVOA to 17th by the end of the season. KC has an experienced DC in Steve Spagnuolo. He is going to make Jalen Hurts throw in tight windows. Kansas City’s corners are going to play press coverage of the line. They are going to send run blitzes on early downs. They are going to make Jalen Hurts beat them. Hurts hasn’t been as efficient in the second half of the season.
Patrick Mahomes has a chance to be the fourth quarterback in history to win multiple MVPs and multiple Super Bowls. He would join Tom Brady, Joe Montana, and Peyton Manning as the only other quarterbacks to hold that title. I’m not betting against Patrick Mahomes as an underdog.
The Eagles have the better roster, but the Chiefs have the experience and difference maker at quarterback. They have a big coaching mismatch. We haven’t seen Jalen Hurts execute under pressure in a tight game since when??? College? Mahomes has been here before. I trust the Chiefs to execute and get it done here. The public is on the Eagles but I’m all over the Chiefs. Give me the Mahomes to raise his second Super Bowl trophy.
The pick: Kansas City +1.5
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