Super Bowl LVII is finally here, and the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will face off in State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. this Sunday, Feb. 12 at 6:30 p.m. Eastern Time. Ahead of the most anticipated game of the NFL season, five members of The Daily Princetonian Sports staff offered their picks.
Eagles 33, Chiefs 30: Wilson Conn, Head Sports Editor
Many will focus on this game as a battle between two high-flying offenses, and rightfully so. In fact, the Eagles and the Chiefs enter as the two highest-scoring teams in the league this season, with each putting up nearly 29 points per game on average. And, with weapons like Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles wide receivers A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith catching passes on Sunday, one can still expect some high-flying playmaking. But this game’s expectedly slim margins will no doubt be produced by the team who emerges victorious from both the offensive and defensive trenches.
It is no surprise that the top team in the NFC has dominated teams on the offensive and defensive line all season long. Philadelphia’s outside linebacker Haason Reddick and defensive end Josh Sweat ranked in the top 10 in pass rush win rate during the regular season among edge rushers, and Reddick has continued to dominate in the playoffs, coming up with two sacks and a forced fumble in the NFC Championship Game. The Eagles’ defensive tackle Javon Hargrave was third in pass rush win rate from the defensive tackle position, and offensive tackle Lane Johnson and guard Landon Dickerson also both lead their position groups in pass block win rate and run block win rate, respectively.
Of course, the Chiefs’ line is not full of slouches, either. They, too, possess two offensive linemen who lead blocking win rate categories, and defensive lineman Chris Jones tops the pass rush win rate category among defensive tackles. Yet, given the utter dominance the Eagles have displayed so far in the playoffs, and with Jones’ historically middling postseason performance, the slight edge in the trenches, and thus the game, must go to Philadelphia.
Eagles 27, Chiefs 20: Cole Keller, Associate Sports Editor
This Super Bowl matchup has just about all the storylines you could ask for: The recent emergence of Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts going up against the all-time skill of Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the Kelce brothers facing off in a game that could see the final snaps of center Jason Kelce’s football career, and finally, Chiefs coach Andy Reid squaring off against his former team that he could never quite win a Super Bowl with.
In terms of predicting the outcome of these storylines, there is something special about this Eagles team. The Eagles boast the NFL’s No. 2 ranked defense. They systematically dismantled the No. 1 ranked 49ers defense in the NFC Championship Game. Jalen Hurts is not the same talent as Mahomes; however, with the depth of this Eagles team, he won’t have to be.
The Eagles are strong on both sides of the ball. Although the Chiefs boast one of the best offensive lines in the game, I would still bet on the Eagles’ defensive line to add on to their franchise record of 70 sacks. A late turnover forced by Reddick feels right to seal the victory in this Super Bowl.
Eagles 38, Chiefs 24: Diego Uribe, Assistant Sports Editor
The Eagles enter this game with one of the most well-rounded rosters in recent NFL history. Come Sunday, the Chiefs will have a very difficult time finding something to exploit. You can expect the Chiefs to try and establish running back Isaiah Pacheco on the ground before letting Mahomes air it out, but, when he does drop back, the Eagles will be coming. Reddick is coming off a dominant performance in the NFC Championship, and with Mahomes still recovering from a high ankle sprain, we can expect Reddick and the rest of the Eagles' pass rush to take advantage of Mahomes’ limited mobility.
On offense, we should see the Eagles firing on all cylinders. Hurts is now well over a month out of his shoulder injury, so we can expect to see a less restrained Hurts than we have seen up until this point in the playoffs. The Chiefs simply do not have the talent in the secondary to keep Brown and Smith, along with tight end Dallas Goedert, in check. If Hurts can be accurate with the deep ball and give Brown and Smith a chance to make plays in the open field, the Eagles should produce some highlight plays en route to win.
Chiefs 27, Eagles 24: Hayk Yengibaryan, Assistant Sports Editor
The Eagles won the NFC Championship deservingly, having consistently been one of the best teams in the NFC East from week one. However, we cannot deny the fact that the NFC has been weaker this year. The best quarterback the Eagles faced all year was an aging Aaron Rodgers, never facing quarterbacks Tom Brady, Justin Herbert, Josh Allen, or Joe Burrow. Yet, in the biggest game of the season, they have to face Mahomes, the best quarterback in the league.
Kansas City has an excellent offensive line to slow Philly’s pass rush, and Mahomes will be much healthier this Sunday. The Eagles run a zone-heavy scheme that has struggled against the league’s top pocket passers in recent years. Expect Mahomes and Kelce to dominate the passing game Sunday, leading to a second Super Bowl victory for Mahomes. In 10 years, we will look back and wonder why they made one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time an underdog before the game.
Eagles 36, Chiefs 20: Dana Serea, Sports Staff Writer
Expect the Eagles to come out on top with the help of Hurts. After a shoulder injury, Hurts bounced back in the Divisional Round, with two touchdowns and 34 rushing yards. Mahomes, on the other hand, also suffered an ankle injury, but he had a shorter time to recover and may not be able to help with offense as much with limited mobility. In addition, the Eagles have 70 sacks, compared to the Chiefs’ 55. With Reddick sure to contribute more sacks against Kansas City, the Chiefs do not stand a chance.
Wilson Conn is a Head Editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
Cole Keller is an Associate Editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
Diego Uribe is an Assistant Editor for the Sports and contributor for the News section at the ‘Prince.’
Hayk Yengibaryan is an Assistant Editor for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
Dana Serea is a staff writer for the Sports section at the ‘Prince.’
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