Philadelphia and Kansas City will meet on Super Bowl Sunday in a familiar setting for Patrick Mahomes’ squad; however, the Eagles have superior talent, and Jalen Hurts will be the key to its victory.
Hurts, an up-and-coming quarterback, versus Mahomes, a young and established league stalwart, is the predominant storyline. Generally, Mahomes has played better than Hurts; he threw for 41 touchdowns to Hurts’ 22 during the regular season. On top of that, Mahomes has had a higher completion percentage.
However, Hurts has superior offensive talent surrounding him. Miles Sanders, A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith and a strong offensive line match up relatively well against a Kansas City defense that was ranked 16th in defense in the league, according to Pro Football Reference, but more on that later.
Mahomes and Kansas City went to the Super Bowl in 2020 and 2021. They beat the Jimmy Garoppolo-led 49ers in the first appearance but were taken down by the Buccaneers in the second.
Mahomes is also nursing an ankle injury that, according to him, isn’t that bad. Regardless, it’s something to keep an eye on.
On the flip side, this isn’t the same Mahomes-led offense we’re used to. There’s no Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce has had to carry the load on an offense that lacks a true third star to complement Kelce and Mahomes.
When the Eagles get out to a lead, Mahomes will have to drop back to pass against the best pass-rushing defense in the league.
The Eagles sacked opposing quarterbacks 70 times during the regular season, 15 more times than the second-best team in that category… Kansas City.
Therein lies a chance to win for Kansas City. Can its defense slow down the fourth-best rushing attack in the league to the point that Hurts will have to drop back to pass on third and long, leading to sacks and potentially turnovers?
It’s not impossible to imagine. If it does happen, watch out, because the Eagles were the 11th-most sacked team in the league this past season.
But, it’s harder to imagine that than it is to imagine Sanders doing just enough to open up the Eagles’ passing attack so Kansas City has to throw consistently against a stellar defensive line. That’s why it seems clear that the Eagles have the advantage.
It’s easy to throw out some stats and make the obvious conclusion that the Eagles are the better team. Let’s take it a step further; the Eagles have superior vibes. And, again, it starts with Hurts.
“I watched the last game, and he (Hurts) was still sitting on the sideline, just straight-faced, ready to go. It’s nuts to be that business-minded, it’s what you need,” said Declan Membrila, an Eagles fan and a freshman studying nursing.
“I hope after they win, he might let loose a little bit, but right now it’s business because they haven’t won yet,” Membrila said.
While Hurts might have a serious mentality, Eagles fans don’t, at least not in the same way. Philadelphia has famously greased its street poles before sporting events in case of celebratory pole-climbers, and the city is already planning to do the same for Sunday night.
That is, clearly, a smart move. Even if the game is close, hopefully, we'll be watching a less-serious Hurts lift his first Vince Lombardi Trophy. Then? It’s time for a celebration in Philadelphia.
Prediction: Philadelphia 35, Kansas City 20
Edited by Kate Duffy, Jasmine Kabiri and Anusha Natarajan.
Reach the columnist at email@example.com and follow @StigileAaron on Twitter.
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.
Want to join the conversation? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Keep letters under 500 words and be sure to include your university affiliation. Anonymity will not be granted.
Like The State Press on Facebook and follow @statepress on Twitter.
Aaron Stigile is an opinion columnist at The State Press. He previously wrote for The Defiant Movement and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is also working toward a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Cross-Sector Leadership.