The big game is finally here, the two best teams in the NFL grinding it out for the title of “World Champions.” Representing the AFC are the Kansas City Chiefs, led by magical Patrick Mahomes, who somehow always seems to be a top 3 quarterback in the league every year. From the NFC come the Philadelphia Eagles, who find themselves back in the battle for the Lombardi led by young superstar Jalen Hurts. Hurts had a breakout campaign this year and is looking to cap it off with a sweet ring. Both teams are absurdly strong, and it's shaping up to be a close one in Arizona. But what are the x-factors? What stands out about these franchises? Who will blink first? Neither team has trailed this postseason. Let’s dive in.
Chiefs Passing Offense (1st) vs Eagles Passing Defense (1st)
The Chiefs, unsurprisingly, relied on their generational talent in Patrick Mahomes to fuel this offense. They lead the NFL in passing yards per game (294.5), and Mahomes sports a huge 5000+ yard and 40+ touchdown campaign so far this year. On the other side of the ball, the Eagles have locked down through the air, giving up just 171 passing yards per game, 1st in the league. Both teams know that the Chiefs will most definitely attack through the pass game, but will the Eagles secondary have an answer to Kelce and the rest of the Kansas City Receivers?
Patrick Mahomes 1 INT in his last 6 Games
Part of what makes Mahomes so good is his carefulness and awareness to take care of the football. He’s only thrown one interception in his past 6 contests, and under the bright lights of the Super Bowl, the margin for error is razor thin. Mahomes’ ability to prevent turnovers on his end will comfort Chiefs fans, but if his ankle throws him off his rhythm, forcing him to make unordinary mistakes, the door for the Eagles will be wide open. Philly is top 7 in forcing picks, so expect them to amp up the pressure on Mahomes.
Chiefs 6.3 Yards Per Play
Despite owning one of the more lackluster rushing offenses in the game, their efficiency in moving the football down the field is still the top in the nation. Even when the ground game isn’t there, Coach Andy Reid manipulates the X's and O's for first downs and lengthy drives. The Eagles won’t be able to outscore this Chiefs team in a shootout, their defense will need to slow down this dynamite offense if they want a shot at taking home the Lombardi.
Eagles Scoring Defense
Bend, but don’t break. The Eagles tend to apply the clamps when it matters, allowing 18.8 PPG (4th) and an even smaller 10 PPG over their last 3. They fall in the upper half of the league when it comes to opponent touchdowns in the red zone, which is immensely better than Kansas City’s 30th rank in the same category. As mentioned earlier, Philly will need their defense to shine if they wish to win it all.