PHOENIX — The Kansas City Chiefs were crowned Super Bowl LVII champions with a 38-35 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles in Arizona.
This is a developing story and will be updated
An all-star lineup of players in the trenches should determine the Super Bowl champion.
Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts will certainly play their part. But Sunday’s game will come down to which team controls the line of scrimmage.
The Philadelphia Eagles (16-3) have gotten to this point largely thanks to a dominant offensive line that has allowed Hurts to thrive. He developed into an AP NFL MVP and Offensive Player of the Year finalist playing behind a line featuring All-Pro center Jason Kelce and All-Pro right tackle Lane Johnson.
Kelsey, Johnson, left tackle Jordan Mailato, Pro Bowl left guard Landon Dickerson and right guard Isaac Ciumalo were all standouts in the playoffs, helping the Eagles to 416 yards in two lopsided victories. The Eagles outscored the Giants and 49ers by a combined score of 69-14.
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A defensive line of four players with at least 10 sacks all season stuffed opposing quarterbacks. Haason Reddick was a pest against San Francisco, knocking Brock Purdy out of the game.
The Kansas City Chiefs (16-3) know what it’s like to face a terrible passing game in the Super Bowl. Behind a stout offensive line, Mahomes looked his usual self in a 31-9 loss to the Buccaneers in a big game two years ago.
This time around, they’re healthy and have a pair of second-team pros in left guard Joe Tunney and center Creed Humphrey.
On the other hand, pro quarterback Chris Jones has been a nightmare for opponents this season. Jones had 15 1/2 sacks. If Philly’s O-line can’t slow him down, it could be a tough day for Hurts.
IF THE CIPHERS HAVE THE BALL:
Mahomes, the two-time AP NFL MVP, is a wizard, even with an ankle injury that should feel better now than it did two weeks ago against Cincinnati. He’ll look often to All-Pro tight end Travis Kelce, who had 110 catches in the regular season and 21 in two playoff games.
Wide receiver Marquez Valdez-Scantling had a big game against the Bengals, catching six passes for 116 yards and a TD. Juju Smith-Schuster and Kadarius Toney are ready to play after being injured in this game.
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The Chiefs committed 20th in the league, largely because Mahomes led the NFL in passing. Rookie seventh-round pick Isiah Pacheco rushed for 830 yards in the regular season and 95 against Jacksonville, but only 26 in the AFC title game. Running back Jerick McKinnon is more of a pass-catching threat. He had 56 receptions.
Mahomes’ defense will be critical to Kansas City’s success. The Eagles are five sacks away from tying the NFL record for a season. Redick, Brandon Graham, Josh Sweet and Javon Hargrave each had at least 10 sacks.
Cornerbacks James Bradbury and Darius Slay are one of the best duos in the league, so it will be difficult for Mahomes to connect with his receivers often. Travis Kelce’s matchup against Philly’s linebackers and tight ends is a mismatch the Chiefs will look to take advantage of.
IF THE EAGLES HAVE THE BALL:
The Eagles can beat teams on the ground or in the air. Hurts can run for 100 yards or throw for 300 yards. This offense has a lot of versatility with Hurts leading the way. Miles Sanders ran for 1,268 yards in the regular season. Kenny Gainwell leads the team with 160 yards rushing in the playoffs. Boston Scott is another option in a stacked backfield.
Hurts is only passing for 275 yards in the playoffs, but the Eagles shouldn’t throw. They hit the ground running, built big leads and kept him on the ground to chew up the clock.
If they show it, wide receivers AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith are one of the best tandems in the NFL, and tight end Dallas Goedert is underrated. The Chiefs have allowed a league-high 33 passes this season, so this could be a big day for Hurts and his receivers.
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It all starts for the Eagles on the O-line. They protected Hurts, paved the way for the running backs and imposed their will on the defense all season long.
Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is a two-time Super Bowl champion who has a history of stopping top offenses in the Super Bowl. Just ask Tom Brady. Spagnuolo is known for bringing the heat to throw QBs off rhythm. With Hurts seeing a major drop off in blitz production, expect Spagnuolo to pick it up.
If Hurts gets time, Kansas City’s four rookie quarterbacks are in for a long day.
Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker is perfect in two Super Bowls, making four extra points and four field goals. Punter Tommy Townsend had an All-Pro season with 45.6 yards per carry.
Both of the Chiefs’ comeback teams are ranked in the top seven.
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott made all three field goals and two of three extra points in his only Super Bowl five years ago.
Player Arryn Siposs could return for the first time since the ankle injury that ruled him out in December. Veteran Brett Kern replaced him and will play in the Super Bowl for the first time in his 15-year career.
The Eagles have struggled with their coverage units at times this season.
Head coach Andy Reid will face his former team. He won more games than any coach in Eagles history over a 14-year span. Reid is second only to Bill Belichick (31) with 21 playoff wins. He is 1-2 in the Super Bowl, including a loss to the Eagles.
Siriani is 25-12 in two seasons as a head coach, including 2-1 in the playoffs. Like Reid, he is a great game planner. Siriani is also aggressive and has no shortage of self.
Reid against his former team. Siriani against the coach who fired him. No extra motivation is needed for the Super Bowl. Both teams have loud, loyal fans that flood Phoenix for the game.
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