While the media hypes up Philadelphia to crush Kansas City in the Super Bowl, Patrick Mahomes and his clutch offense will lead the Chiefs to their second title in just four seasons.
Eagles fans swear by their teams offense – led by Jalen Hurts – that scored 28.1 points per game on average this season. Hurts has a plethora of receivers and running backs to call on such as A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, who both recorded over 1,000 receiving yards this season. The Eagles' offense also has a respectable running game powered by Miles Sanders and Hurts' mobile quarterback style.
However, Philadelphia's success is due to its cakewalk of a regular season. Prior to the 2022 season, the Eagles' schedule ranked as the third-easiest in the NFL. While Hurts led his team to an impressive 14-3 record, five of those wins were against the five worst defenses in the NFL, four of which were one-possession games.
Meanwhile, Kansas City was tied with San Francisco for the fifth-hardest schedule this season. Despite the Chiefs' challenging road to the Super Bowl, Andy Reid's offense led the league by averaging 29.2 points and about 413 yards per game this season.
Kansas City has also been tested in its tough playoff games, beating a surging Jaguars team coached by Doug Pederson and Joe Burrow's Bengals.
On the other hand, Philadelphia faced a weak Giants team and the 49ers, a team without a healthy quarterback. When it comes time for Philadelphia to face a real foe, who knows how Hurts will react under pressure?
While the Eagles are praised for their offense, Kansas City owes its success to reinventing its offense after losing Tyreek Hill to the Miami Dolphins. The Chiefs signed JuJu Smith-Schuster and Marques Valdes-Scantling and traded for Kadarius Toney midseason. The trio of receivers has excelled this season and helped take defensive pressure off Travis Kelce, the best tight end in football. Most surprisingly, Isiah Pacheco, Kansas City's seventh-round draft pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, has been explosive out of the backfield and averages 4.9 yards per carry.
On the other side of the field, the Eagles are praised for their stellar defense. Philadelphia excels in pass defense and allowed just 179.8 passing yards per game on average. The Eagles also led the NFL with 70 sacks this season, powered by Hassan Reddick's 16 sacks.
Nevertheless, the Chiefs' passing game will overcome the Eagles' defensive pressure. This season, Kansas City led the league in passing by averaging 297.8 yards per game. Mahomes, the odds-on favorite to be crowned the NFL MVP, is comfortable outside the pocket and can cripple defenses with his precise passing.
Kansas City's powerful offensive line will also nullify the Eagles' front seven. This season, the Chiefs led the league in team pass block win rate and had the third best team run block win rate. Even if Philadelphia can cover Kelce, Kansas City's offensive line will give Mahomes plenty of time to work his magic and find an open receiver. The Chiefs can also utilize Pacheco and Clyde Edwards-Helaire to capitalize on the Eagles' poor rushing defense that allowed an average of 121.6 yards per game this season.
While the teams are neck-and-neck in most aspects, the two coaches are polar opposites. Reid is a veteran who has proven his ability to craft innovative plays capable of breaking any defense, whereas Nick Sirianni is a young coach with little experience. If the Eagles breach the Chiefs' offensive line, don't be surprised if it's a designed play by Reid.
Nevertheless, the game will ultimately come down to whether or not Mahomes completes nearly impossible passes and outsmarts Philadelphia's defense. When he's fully healthy, Mahomes is one of the greatest quarterbacks ever and can will his team to victory. As Mahomes has proven time and time again, never count out a team with him calling the shots.
When time expires in the fourth quarter, Mahomes will claim his second Lombardi Trophy and cement his reign as the most dominant quarterback in the post-Tom Brady era. Then? Kansas City fans will celebrate peacefully while Philadelphia destroys itself after its third championship loss in less than four months.
Prediction: Kansas City 34, Philadelphia 27
Edited by Kate Duffy, Reagan Priest and Anusha Natarajan.
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Editor's note: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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