Kansas City (16-3) at Philadelphia (16-3)
When: Sunday, February 12th 2023
Where: State Farm Stadium,
Time: 6:30 ET | TV: FOX
Opening Odds: Kansas City -1.5/50
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The Big Game is finally here. After a long 17-game schedule, the top two teams in their respective conferences will meet in Super Bowl 57 from Glendale, Arizona. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles are no strangers to the Super Bowl in recent memory, but only one can lift the Lombardy Trophy after the game. Philadelphia will be represented for the second time in five years, with a different head coach and quarterback, while Kansas City is playing its third Super Bowl in four years.
The Eagles are 1-2 in the Super Bowl. They lost to the Jim Plunkett-led Oakland Raiders 27-10 in Super Bowl XV, then head coach Andy Reid fell short to the New England Patriots 24-21 in Super Bowl XXXIX. Philadelphia finally had its parade after Super Bowl LII – a 41-33 victory over those same Tom Brady Patriots. Kansas City lost the first ever Super Bowl before winning three years later. The next came 50 years later with a 31-20 win over the San Francisco 49ers, but then lost to Tampa Bay 31-9 the next year.
These teams have met just once in the last six years. Kansas City went into Philly and beat the Eagles 42-30 behind five touchdown passes from Patrick Mahomes and 186 receiving yards from Tyreek Hill. The big question for Sunday’s game is Mahomes’ ankle. He injured it in the wild card win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but was able to finish the game and win the AFC Championship over the Cincinnati Bengals. However, Mahomes only rushed for eight yards in that game.
Mahomes will have to deal with a stout Philadelphia defense that ranked second in the regular season at 301.5 yards allowed per game. The Eagles have also recorded 78 sacks during the regular season and postseason. That is third most all-time behind two of the great Chicago Bears teams of the mid-1980s.
Another storyline in this game is that Kansas City’s Travis Kelce and older brother Jason (Eagles’ center) will become the first set of brothers to play against one another in Super Bowl history. Both Kelces already own a Super Bowl ring, but Travis is 3-0 in matchups against his brother.
Philadelphia is a 1.5-point favorite as of Thursday afternoon after the Chiefs opened up as 1.5-point favorites. The total has inched up from 50 to 51. Kansas City is just 6-12-1 ATS on the season, while Philly is 10-9 ATS. Both teams average exactly 28.7 points a game, but the Eagles have the edge in points allowed at 18.8 to 21.5.
The Chiefs are coming off a tight 23-20 win over the Bengals in the AFC Championship Game. The win was even sweeter considering the Chiefs were 0-3 against Joe Burrow entering the contest. Mahomes finished 29-of-43 for 326 yards despite not being 100 percent. The two-week break should make him closer to full-strength.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling caught six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kadarius Toney, Mecole Hardman, and L’Jarius Sneed all were hurt in the Bengals game, but most, if not all, should be ready for Sunday.
Mahomes will be the youngest quarterback to start three Super Bowls, but is probably more eager in becoming the 13th to earn multiple Super Bowl rings. Kelce ranks second all-time in postseason receptions (127) and receiving yardage (1,467) and is tied for second with Rob Gronkowski with 15 postseason touchdowns. Reid is looking for his second Super Bowl ring as he faces the organization that fired him in 2012 after 14 seasons. Reid ranks second all-time in postseason victories (21) behind Bill Belichick (31).
Defensive tackle Chris Jones had a big game against the Bengals, earning his first two career playoff sacks. Kansas City’s defense is not as good as Philly’s stop unit, but the Chiefs just had five sacks and two interceptions in the AFC Championship against a very good Cincinnati offense.
The Eagles had a much easier time in the NFC Championship game, dispatching San Francisco 31-7. Bad luck and a lack of discipline did the 49ers in. Hurts, who recently has recovered from a shoulder injury, was just 15-of-25 for 121 yards against a good San Francisco defense. The Eagles rushed for 148 yards, with Kenneth Gainwell (48 yards), Miles Sanders (42 yards, 2 TDs), and Hurts (39 yards, 1 TD) leading the way.
On the defensive end, the Eagles stymied the 49ers offense. Brock Purdy suffered an elbow injury early in the first quarter and his backup Josh Johnson was awful and went out with a concussion. The Eagles finished the regular season fourth in the NFL in scoring defense with just 18.8 points allowed per game and third with 1.0 takeaways per contest. They allowed just 164 total yards to San Francisco and limited them to 2-of-8 on third downs.
Linebacker Haason Reddick had a career-high 16 regular-season sacks and another 3.5 in two playoff games so far. Three other Eagles posted a career-best 11 sacks apiece in the regular season – defensive ends Brandon Graham and Josh Sweat and defensive tackle Javon Hargrave.
Three Eagles were limited in practice on Wednesday – right tackle Lane Johnson (groin), center Cam Jurgens (hip) and cornerback Avonte Maddox (toe).
The Chiefs have the best player in the game in Mahomes, but Philly has the best roster and are 16-1 when Hurts starts this year. The Eagles will own both sides of the football in the trenches and force Mahomes to make mistakes. Kansas City’s receiving corps is weak and the Eagles have an advantage at that position as well. Look for the Eagles to raise the Lombardy Trophy for the second time in five years.
Pick: Eagles -1.5