Who has the edge between Chiefs, Eagles? Here’s a breakdown
Here’s a position-by-position breakdown for Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Updated February 8, 2023 - 6:14 pm
Here’s a position-by-position breakdown for Sunday’s Super Bowl between the Chiefs and Eagles:
Patrick Mahomes proved his greatness this season when, with a rebuilt wide receiver group that lost star Tyreek Hill, guided a Chiefs offense that led the NFL in total yards per game at 424.7 and points per game at 29.2. His 5,250 passing yards and 41 touchdowns also led the league.
Jalen Hurts also was spectacular while throwing for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns and completing 66.5 percent of his passes. He also ran for 760 yards and 13 TDs, proving he’s one of the league’s best dual-threat quarterbacks.
The Eagles have been a running machine behind Miles Sanders, who rushed for 1,269 yards, a steady group of reserves and Hurts, whose ability to run by design adds a huge component. The Eagles’ 39 rushing touchdowns were the most in NFL history.
The addition of rookie Isiah Pacheco for the Chiefs lifted this group, as he emerged to rush for 830 yards. Jerick McKinnon provided an ideal complement as a pass-game threat with 56 catches for 512 yards and nine TDs.
The Eagles pulled the heist of the year when they stole A.J. Brown from the Titans to bolster an already strong group headed by DeVonta Smith. Brown had career highs with 88 catches, 1,496 yards and 11 touchdowns, and Smith added 1,196 yards and seven TDs.
The Chiefs are banged up at receiver, with Mecole Hardman (pelvis) going on injured reserve this week, and Kadarius Toney (ankle, hamstring) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) dealing with injuries. Toney and Smith-Schuster are expected to play.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling has been a nice addition, and the brilliance of Mahomes has a way of making any receiver look good. But the Eagles are as good as it gets at this position.
With all due respect to the Eagles’ Dallas Goedert, Travis Kelce is the undisputed champ among NFL tight ends. That’s reflected on all levels, including a regular season in which he had 110 catches for 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Eagles’ line, led by All-Pros Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce, finished the season ranked first by Pro Football Focus. The team has done an excellent job building a wall in front of Hurts and their powerful run game. They simply have no weaknesses at the line of scrimmage.
The Chiefs’ offensive line has played well, though Andrew Wylie has been a liability at right tackle, which drags the overall efficiency down a notch. It’s something the Chiefs have overcome, but it could be a fatal flaw against a defensive line as good as the Eagles’.
The Eagles finished the regular season with 70 sacks, including 45.5 from their line. They do so by getting pressure from the perimeter and the interior, and they do it with a rotation that runs seven deep.
The Chiefs have a dominating defensive lineman in Chris Jones, and Frank Clark is an excellent complement. But the Eagles have set the bar, without question.
Haason Reddick has been a terror off the edge at outside linebacker for the Eagles with 16 regular-season sacks, but their linebacking group also consists of standouts T.J. Edwards and Kyzir White.
The Chiefs have gotten tremendous production from Nick Bolton, who set a franchise record with 180 tackles, and Willie Gay has been steady. He injured his shoulder in the AFC championship game but is expected to play Sunday.
The Eagles gave up the fewest passing yards per game in the NFL at 171 while intercepting 17 passes. It’s a tribute to their tremendous pass rush, but also the play of cornerbacks James Bradberry, Darius Slay and Avonte Maddux. They also have an excellent safety group led by C.J. Gardner-Johnson.
The Chiefs got a huge boost when cornerback L’Jarius Sneed was cleared to play Monday after suffering a concussion in the AFC championship game, but a secondary that played four rookies throughout the season has been inconsistent.
Eagles kicker Jake Elliott attempted the fewest field goals in the NFL with 23, simply because the offense scored so many touchdowns. He hit 88 percent of his attempts and was 60 of 62 on PATs.
An ankle injury in the season opener played a big role in the down season for Harrison Butker, the Chiefs’ normally sure-footed kicker who missed six of 24 field-goal attempts. But in the past three games, he has made all nine of his PATs and all six of his field goals. Tommy Townsend averaged 49.6 yards per punt and was named to the All-Pro first team.
The Eagles have been so dominant that it almost seems as if they are in perpetual cruise control. They weren’t challenged in their first two playoff games, so it’s uncertain how second-year coach Nick Sirianni might respond in a close game of this magnitude.
Andy Reid has handled every imaginable scenario during his career, including the high ankle sprain that Mahomes suffered in the Chiefs’ first playoff game. He’s a master after a bye week, going 27-4. He will be coaching in his fourth Super Bowl and is 1-2.
Contact Vincent Bonsignore at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @VinnyBonsignore on Twitter.