Chiefs or Eagles? Time to Pick a Super Bowl Winner Against the Spread.

Another game! Super Bowl LVII is finally here. After two weeks of hype and analysis, it’s time to claim victory between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Lines from FanDuel as of Thursday evening. Statistics taken from TruMedia/Pro Football Focus unless otherwise noted.

Championship round: 1-1
Season record: 146-130-7

Kansas City Chiefs – Philadelphia Eagles (-1.5)

How are things going with the Chiefs?

Not everything is so difficult. There’s a scenario where the Eagles defense just doesn’t have the answer for Patrick Mahomes. As I said earlier this week, Mahomes doesn’t have bad games. His worst game this season is considered average for most starting quarterbacks. The Eagles’ defense has been very good all season, but it hasn’t been tested by great quarterbacks. In Week 16, Dak Prescott threw the Eagles for 347 yards as the Cowboys scored 40 points. Such an attacking performance by the Chiefs is not surprising.

Two years ago, the Chiefs lost the Super Bowl to the Bucks because they couldn’t defend Mahomes, and the decisions they made in subsequent seasons to rebuild their offensive line were a direct result of that game. Andy Reed will enter this match with priority #1. 1 – Don’t let the Eagles pass rush ruin the game. This could mean getting the ball out of Mahomes’ hands quickly or helping out on defense. I feel an irrational certainty that we will see the protective screen at the first possession of the ball.

Bottom line: The Chiefs had the best offense in the NFL all season, and it was far from it. There’s no real reason to think they’ll have a hard time dribble in this game, unless Mahomes’ ankle injury proves to be a major problem.

Defensively, the Chiefs are not very good. But defensive coordinator Steve Spagnolo will do whatever it takes to mess up the Eagles defense and create one-on-one opportunities for Chris Jones’s defense. And don’t be surprised if the Chiefs score more than they did all season. Jalen Hurts and the Eagles offense have at times struggled to find answers to pressured looks. Spagnolo has a track record of creating one-off game plans that have been effective. They don’t need to completely suppress the Eagles’ attack; they just need to make enough stops for Mahomes to work his magic.

The Chiefs are an almost unbelievable team that can’t be turned down. No team has beaten them by more than four points all season. Mahomes started 93 games in his career and his teams either led or were within the same score in 90 of those games. A Kansas City win will likely mean Mahomes becomes the top player and Spagnolo scores enough points to keep the Eagles in control.

How are the eagles?

They’re 16-1 with Hurts as the starting quarterback. What’s most impressive about the Eagles offense is that he always manages to find answers. There were times this year when it seemed like the opposing defense found ways to stop them, but the Eagles coaching staff always found a counterattack. In the 17 games they’ve played this year with the Hurts, including two post-season contests, the offense finished second in DVOA Football Outsiders – behind only the Chiefs.

The backbone of the Eagles is their line of attack. With five guys up front and the Hurts, they showed they could outrun just about anyone. It is also a varied game. They may use different schemes based on the defensive look they receive. But if the enemy is about to load up to stop running, the Eagles won’t keep running just to run. They will turn to their passing options or throw one-on-one shots on the outside against AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith.

Defensively, the Eagles’ profile sets them up well for this game. They are number one in the DVOA against a pass and the game plan here will likely be to get Andy Reed and the Chiefs to rely on their rush play. Expect the Eagles to play with lightboxes and deep safes. In the regular season, Mahomes hit 73 balls for 20-plus yards, 16 more than any other quarterback. The Eagles, as always, will prioritize limiting explosive play in the passing game.

Meanwhile, they will rely on their pass rush to generate negative play. The Eagles fired opposing quarterbacks 11.5 percent of their passes, the most by any defenseman since at least 2000. 2 Patriots this season were the same, there is no difference between the Patriots. 29 bengals. This game is not about knocking Mahomes out of his seat or making him feel uncomfortable. He is a master at avoiding pressure and creating outside of structure. For the Eagles, it’s all about finishing and knocking him down when they get the chance.

The Eagles have shown that they can win in different ways. But the most likely path to victory is one where their offensive line dominates, they handle the ball well and take one-on-one odds with Brown, Smith and tight end Dallas Godert. On defense, it’s not about turning Mahomes off because that’s an impossible task. It’s about generating enough negative plays with their pass rush to give the offense a chance to win.

Who do you have?

It’s such a difficult game to choose from. Betting against Mahomes as an underdog seems stupid and uncomfortable. His presence on the field alone gives the Chiefs such a high level. They can fall hard, but there’s always a chance that Mahomes can do something miraculous to bring them back.

But the eagles have something for them. First, they are a more talented team. If you get a starting lineup of 22 players from both of these teams, I think you’ll probably end up with 13 or 14 heads and eight or nine chiefs. Secondly, the Eagles benefited from one of the most successful injuries you’ve ever seen. All 22 regular starters are expected to be available for this game. And thirdly, they must have a coaching advantage in the game. I think Andy Reid has the edge in scheduling games during the week, but in terms of making smart and aggressive game decisions, Nick Sirianni was better.

I think both offenses will consistently move the ball in this game, but there can be a lot of long shots that limit the total number of possessions. I see a tight game in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles return the ball, 25-24 down with four minutes left. They work hard and don’t give Mahomes another chance. Kicker Jake Elliot scores the game-winning field goal after time expires. Eagles 27, Chiefs 25.

Pick: Eagles (-1.5)


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