Chiefs vs Eagles Super Bowl Early Reaction, Preview
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images. Pictured: Miles Sanders (left), Jason Kelce (right).
We’re going to hear a lot over the next few weeks about all the Super Bowl storylines — quarterback injuries, the Andy Reid Bowl and Kelce vs. Kelce. That last one may mostly seem like a cute story about a mom with a half-and-half jersey, but that matchup could be key.
We already know about Travis Kelce. The Chiefs need him more than ever with injuries to JuJu Smith-Schuster, Mecole Hardman and Kadarius Toney. Kelce appeared to be lining up at WR1 down the stretch of the AFC Championship Game, but the Eagles have been elite against opposing WR1s and tight ends. Patrick Mahomes is amazing, but even he needs some weapons.
I do wonder if Jason could end up being the more impactful Kelce.
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We just saw Chris Jones wreck Cincinnati’s game plan, constantly in the back field bothering Joe Burrow and getting the key sack on the Bengals’ final offensive play.
Jones is a deserving Defensive Player of the Year finalist, but Jason Kelce is the best center in the league, as good a matchup as you could want up the middle against Jones — not to mention the Eagles have the best offensive line in the league. We saw Dexter Lawrence wreck the Vikings in the Wild Card Round — right before Kelce mostly erased him the following week.
My early read is that this game will be won and lost in the trenches, and if that’s the case, the Eagles will be your Super Bowl 57 champions.
The Eagles’ defensive line led the league in pressure rate this season with a sack rate further ahead of second than No. 2 was ahead of No. 26. The Chiefs ranked 16th in pass protection and struggled to pass block the two times they played a team ranked in the top eight in pressure rate. Add that pressure to a less than 100% Mahomes, and it could really stymie Kansas City’s offense.
On the other side, Philadelphia has a deep, talented offensive line that’s been the bedrock of its team. That line can offset Kansas City’s pass pressure and create holes that will allow the Eagles’ No. 1 rushing attack to gash the Chiefs, dominate the clock and keep Mahomes where he’s not dangerous – the sidelines.
The Eagles’ run game is the one huge Super Bowl mismatch. If Philadelphia puts together three or four long sustained drives of around 12 plays and 70 yards, at eight or nine minutes each, the Eagles will win, maybe even dominate.
It’s early. We need to monitor the health of Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, plus those Chiefs receiver injuries.
Right now, this looks like team vs. individual. The Eagles are far better running the ball, at receiver, on both lines and in the secondary. The Chiefs have Mahomes. Will that be enough? It was against the Bengals.
I lean Eagles early, but I’m not running to place my bet. I can’t see this line getting to Philly -3 since money would pour in on Mahomes, but it could slide back toward Kansas City like it did against Cincy.
It’s gonna be a long — and fun — two weeks. Can’t wait.
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