It is time. For the SB LVII preview and prediction, that is.
It all comes down to a duel in the desert. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles square off on the Arizona Cardinals’ home turf for Super Bowl LVII (That’s 57 for those who can’t read Roman numerals.)
Some of the biggest questions going into Super Sunday are this: Will Mahomes be at 100% even with the bum ankle? Can Jalen Hurts prove everyone wrong? And who gets their gloves on the most coveted trophy in professional sports?
SB LVII Preview: Why Kansas City Does it Again
Simple. It’s all about Mahomes. Well, he and his ensemble’s offensive cast.
The Chiefs’ offense could spell doom for an Eagles’ passing D that is dead last in the league in total passing yards allowed. On top of that, Kansas City has the league’s best passing offense. Philly ranks 9th in the NFL in that department. Mahomes and company have no problems getting into a shootout, and when they want to, they can grind it a bit and control the clock.
However, besides the obvious injury risk, Mahomes also needs his run game to step up, something they struggled with in the hard-fought championship victory over Cincinnati 2 weeks ago. Philadelphia is 17th in the NFL on rushing defense, while the Chiefs are 20th overall in rushing offense. The run game could be an interesting matchup to watch between the two sides. Isaiah Pacheco and Jerick McKinnon should provide the ground attack for the Chiefs. Ronald Jones may also get the occasional carry alongside Clyde-Edwards Helaire, if the latter is available.
On the receiving end, watch for the quartet of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Kadarious Toney, Marques Valdes-Scantling, and rookie Skyy Moore to catch any Mahomes airstrikes. Oh, and of course, don’t forget about TE Travis Kelce, a man almost as hard to bring down as Jerome Bettis. This is one offense you do not want to mess with on any given Sunday, let alone Super Bowl Sunday.
SB LVII Preview: Why the Eagles Silence the Haters with Hurts
Philadelphia also has a scary offense with QB Jalen Hurts and a dangerous receiving corps of AJ Brown, TE Dallas Goedert, Devonta Smith, and RB Miles Sanders. If Sanders can get 100+ yards on Sunday, the Eagles will be in business- they’re 14-0 when the team totals 100 yards or more in a game. They have the NFL’s 5th best run offense for a reason.
The run is the Eagles’ main priority here. Run all over the Chiefs while preventing said Chiefs from getting going on the ground simultaneously. The Brotherly Love Birds could be looking at their 2nd Lombardi trophy since knocking off Brady and the Patriots in 2018.
SB LVII Prediction
Mahomes and Hurts have faced either once before- a 2021 Week 4 victory for Kansas City in Philadelphia 42-30, where Mahomes threw 5 TD passes and 1 INT compared to Hurts’ 2 TD passes and three sacks.
Speaking of that, I didn’t even mention Kansas City’s D. Chris Jones, Frank Clark, Willie Gay, and rookie superstar George Karlaftis make the Chiefs have two deadly quartets on the respective sides of the ball. If they can get to Hurts as they did to Burrow, the Eagles could be in trouble. They have to do that and keep Phildelphia’s run game in check, too. With a 25th-ranked rushing defense, Kansas City might have some trouble with the like of Sanders and Goedert. Hurts could also tear it up if need be.
However, this is Mahomes. In the Super Bowl. Still dealing with the aftereffects of a sprained ankle, an injury most guys can’t shake off in such a short amount of time. And since he’s most likely to be back in full Mahomes glory, there shouldn’t be much reason why Kansas City doesn’t get it done in the desert. Definitely expect this one to be a nail-biter, though.
SB LVII Preview: Kansas City 38, Philadelphia 27
See also: Mahomes Is Already a HOFer, But Can Lock it Up Sunday
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