Chiefs vs. Eagles matchup: Who has the edge in Super Bowl LVII?


There was a lot of drama on the way to this point, but here we are: the No. 1 team in the AFC will face the No. 1 team in the NFC in two weeks at the stadium State Farm of Glendale, Arizona. It will be the Kansas City Chiefs vs. the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII (Sunday, February 12 on FOX and the FOX Sports app). The matchup is almost too good to be true.

The stories are endless. Obviously, it’s a matchup of two of the best teams in the league. It’s a matchup of All-Pro quarterbacks and MVP candidates, not to mention two opportunistic defenses. The intrigue even extends to the sidelines, as Nick Sirianni looks to deliver Philadelphia’s second Super Bowl championship against the man who turned the Eagles into an annual powerhouse two decades earlier.

There’ll be plenty of time to delve into the build-up until February 12, but until then, let’s take a quick look at the matchup.

The quarterbacks

All-Pro vs. All-Pro. This year will be the first Super Bowl matchup between current-season All-Pro quarterbacks since 2016, when Matt Ryan faced Tom Brady. Patrick Mahomes’ resume speaks for itself, while Jalen Hurts burst onto the scene in just his second full season as the Eagles’ starter.

Mahomes will likely have added a second NFL MVP award to his trophy case by the time this game begins, but Hurts was named a finalist on the strength of a 14-1 record as a starter, not to mention the 36 total touchdowns on the season. .

Both quarterbacks are great, and both quarterbacks win in different ways. Both will be vital to his team’s success. But with Mahomes making his third Super Bowl appearance in just six seasons, not to mention the possibility of capturing a second MVP, he easily earns recognition as the game’s best signal-caller. The Chiefs will no doubt hope the bye week gives him time to rest his sprained ankle and look more like himself.

Edge: Bosses

The Weapons

Philadelphia did a phenomenal job surrounding the talented Hurts heading into his third season. The AJ Brown trade was one of the best offseason moves of 2023, as Brown exploded for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns this year. If that wasn’t enough, the Eagles have a 1,200-yard receiver in DeVonta Smith, a tight end in Dallas Goedert and a Pro Bowl running back in Miles Sanders.

The Chiefs’ skill players don’t look as daunting after Tyreek Hill’s departure, but they were still explosive enough to make it to the final game of the season. Travis Kelce is still one of the best players in the game, an underwhelming matchup nightmare at the tight end position. And while the cast behind him has been mixed, Kansas City has reliably seen players step up to fill the void left by Hill.

Free agent acquisition Marquez Valdes-Scantling had a massive six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown Sunday against Cincinnati. The big story for Kansas City will be health, as wide receivers Mecole Hardman, Juju Smith-Schuster and Kadarius Toney left the AFC Championship Game with injuries. This will have to be monitored.

Song: Eagles

The Eagles hoist the NFC Championship trophy

The Eagles hoist the NFC Championship trophy

The Philadelphia Eagles celebrated the NFC Championship after defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-7. Quarterback Jalen Hurts sang “Fly Eagles Fly” with Eagles fans.

Rush attacks

Credit where it’s due to the bosses. Recently they have shown better vision of the ball than we are used to in recent years. That’s largely due to the rise of rookie running back Isiah Pacheco, who rose from obscurity to become a 900-yard rusher in the second half of the season. But let’s be honest with ourselves, the star of the show here is Philly. Running the ball is easily what the Eagles do best, as Hurts and Sanders have racked up yards behind one of the league’s best offensive lines all year.

The Eagles have a trio of Pro Bowlers on their offensive line in Landon Dickerson, Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson, and they aren’t afraid to play to their strengths. In two playoff wins, the Eagles totaled 416 rushing yards to just 269 passing yards.

Song: Eagles

The defensive line

It can be argued that Chris Jones is the better pass rusher in this matchup. The seventh-year vet is a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, with 17.5 sacks on the season, including two big ones against Cincinnati to help turn the tide in the Chiefs’ favor. The duo of Jones and Frank Clark is very scary, and they will get contributions from the likes of Carlos Dunlap and first rounders George Karlaftis.

All that said, the Eagles’ pass rush has impressive depth to go along with their high-end talent. Haason Reddick has every right to feel snubbed for Defensive Player of the Year consideration, and he underscored it with a crazy game against San Francisco.

To go along with his 19.5 sacks on the year, the Eagles have three other players who tallied double-digit sacks in Brandon Graham, Javon Hargrave and Josh Sweat. That doesn’t even include the contributions Philadelphia gets from veterans like Fletcher Cox and Ndamukong Suh. Maybe that’s why the Eagles’ 70 regular-season sacks were third all-time. The Chiefs pass rush is good. The Eagles’ pass rush is loaded.

Edge: Eagles

The Linebackers

The Chiefs have found themselves a star in Nick Bolton. Out of nearby Missouri last year, he already has over 300 career tackles in just two seasons. Combining with fellow selection Willie Gay, Kansas City has a good tandem working in the middle of the field. The duo helped hold the Bengals to just 71 rushing yards and an attractive average of just 2.4 yards per carry from star running back Joe Mixon.

Linebacker might be the only position where the Eagles lack star power, as the pairing of Kyzir White and TJ Edwards have manned those roles for most of the year. Working with this fearsome front, however, has not mattered much. To expose the Eagles’ mistakes against the run, you have to be able to keep up with their offense, which not many have been able to do.

Edge: Bosses

The Secondary

Once again, the star power will be found in Philadelphia. The cornerback duo of Darius Slay and James Bradberry is one of the best in the league, while offseason acquisition Chauncey Gardner-Johnson finished tied for an NFL-best six interceptions. Gardner-Johnson and nickel back Avonte Maddox spent time injured late in the regular season, but are now back in the lineup. The trio of Slay, Bradberry and Gardner-Johnson combined for 39 pass breakups and 12 interceptions on the season.

It doesn’t mean the Chiefs are sloppy, although this could be a case where the sum adds up to more than the individual parts. The experience comes in the midfield, where Justin Reid and Juan Thornhill are a solid enough combo.

Most of Kansas City’s cornerback play currently comes from rookies, as 2022 first-round pick Trent McDuffie is paired with classmates Joshua Williams and Jaylen Watson. Delete them at your own risk, though. With Kansas City’s pass rush pressuring Joe Burrow all day, those rookies led to two interceptions.

Edge: Eagles

Coaching

Master goes against pupil in a showdown between two of the four men to ever lead the Eagles to the Super Bowl. A lot of credit goes to Nick Sirianni, who has made the playoffs in his two seasons as the Eagles’ head coach, and has now helped Philly reach the Big Game for the third time this century.

However, can one of the league’s hottest young coaches unseat one of its best? This will be Andy Reid’s fourth trip to the Super Bowl, his third as head coach of the Chiefs, along with his 2004 trip with Philadelphia.

Reid’s career since taking over in Kansas City has been nothing short of elite, as he has yet to finish with a losing record in his 10 years on the job. That production has obviously gone up a notch since Mahomes took over as their starting quarterback, with 74 wins and three Super Bowl trips in just five years. Reid already has a Hall of Fame resume, but winning a second championship would put him on a short list with the best in the sport.

Edge: Bosses

David Helman covers the Dallas Cowboys for FOX Sports. He previously spent nine seasons covering the Cowboys for the team’s official website. In 2018, he won a regional Emmy for his role in the production of “Dak Prescott: A Family Reunion” about the quarterback’s time at Mississippi State. Follow him on Twitter at @davidhelman_.

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