By Joseph Nichols, Staff Writer
As the Philadelphia Eagles steamrolled their way through the entire National Football Conference, they now look to the Patrick Mahomes-led perennial powerhouse: the Kansas City Chiefs.
The two juggernauts face off at State Farm Stadium, in Arizona, this Sunday at 6:30 p.m.,where both quarterbacks hope to sling the pigskin and bring another Lombardi trophy home to their respective cities. Patrick Mahomes. The name alone is enough to start a cold sweat down the spine of defensive coordinators across the entire NFL. The 2018 MVP and 2020 superbowl winner is the model for a modern gunslinger in the league, forcing even the tightest throws to his running mate Travis Kelce.
This quarterback-tight end duo is the best in the league and has been since Mahomes’ MVP season. During the 2022 offseason, the Chiefs dealt six-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Tyreek Hill (who is widely considered to be a top-five weapon in the league) to the Miami Dolphins, leaving many experts to scrutinize the Chiefs. Mahomes was projected to regress this year, but after adding veteran wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, the Chiefs passing attack is at an unparalleled high.
Mahomes is playing at an extremely high level, and the projected MVP for this season was even able to overcome his football dad, Joe Burrow, in the AFC championship. Chris Jones remains stout as the center of the defense, compensating for the lack of talent that Chiefs possess on that side of the ball. This Chiefs team has stood on the biggest stage before, and they are hoping to add a third trophy to their collection as Mahomes is poised to bend other teams to his will once more.
For 11 years in the NFL, no one seemed to be able to tackle Chargers running back Ladaanian Tomlinson as he hopped and skipped his way into the end zone time and time again. 11 years after Tomlinson retired, the NFL has now met a new plague to defensive lines everywhere: the entire Eagles offense, who are untouchable on the ground.
Touting the best offensive line in the league, the Eagles’ front five bulldozed defenses making way for their one-two punch in dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts and Miles “Boobie” Sanders. Don’t be fooled by the nature of Hurts’ position or Sanders’ nickname, together they average 153.6 rushing yards per game, the most potent running attack since 1932.
Hurts has taken a major step-up in his second full season, improving in both accuracy in the air and breaking tackles on the ground. Even though he has improved in both categories, Hurts prefers the ground and seeks to punish defenses who play zone or double-team his receivers.
Aside from winning in the trenches, the Chiefs’ cornerbacks will have their fair share of duties as they will be attempting to keep pace with the Eagles wide receiver room, consisting of free agent acquisition A.J. Brown and Hesiman winner Devonta Smith, collecting the fourth and eighth most receiving yards in the league, respectively.
The Eagles’ offense is simply deadly, and while many teams attempt to bend but not break against Philly, their defense is more than enough to stop almost any opposing offense in their tracks. Over the past three seasons, the Eagles have entirely revamped their defense, which helped carry them to a Super Bowl title in 2018, and they are now among the best in the league. Physical against opponents’ receivers, not relenting from delivering a cheap hit and dragging rival quarterbacks to the ground like a ragdoll, this Eagles defense is a daunting sight for the Chiefs.
Super Bowl XLVII is preparing to be what many are projecting to be a lights out duel through the air and on the ground, being led by two faces of the league. The Chiefs defense is entirely too soft for Jalen Hurts, who will send them through hell and back, and even though the Eagles have a stout defense, Mahomes has left cornerbacks seeing ghosts since he took the reins in 2018. Expect the Eagles to get up early and run it down the throats of Kansas City before Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid begins to poke holes in the Eagles defense, and Mahomes finds his groove. This game could very well come down to a walk-off field goal as the clock hit triple zeroes. Prepare for greatness from two of the most premier quarterbacks in the league, playing at an extremely high level. This is what legends are made of. Final prediction? Eagles 31-28.