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Super Bowl LVII predictions: Guardian writers’ picks for Chiefs v Eagles | Super Bowl LVII



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What the Eagles have to do to win …

Reduce off Travis Kelce. Straightforward, proper? The one Chiefs participant with greater than 1,000 yards receiving within the common season, and the goal for one-third of all passes his crew has thrown within the postseason, he’s the person who an injured Mahomes will wish to search for when the strain is on. NB

The important thing to profitable Tremendous Bowls and beating elite quarterbacks is getting strain with 4, permitting a protection to cheat an additional defender into protection. Towards Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ go-go offense, it’s a should. Excellent news for Philly: They lead the league in sack charge and strain charge with a four-man rush this season. OC

Give attention to the bottom sport. Whereas the Chiefs’ protection has improved, it’s weaker against the rush than it’s the move. That is the place having a dual-threat quarterback like Hurts helps them, as he received’t essentially must attempt to beat Mahomes in a shoot-out to guide his crew to victory. HF

Swarm the backfield. Philadelphia’s tricked-out move rush has introduced the quarterback down behind the road of scrimmage in nearly one of eight plays this yr, the best sack charge for any crew in additional than three a long time. Mahomes eliminates the ball quick and doesn’t get hauled down usually, however the Eagles will begin 4 gamers on Sunday who racked up double-digit sack totals on the season: one thing not even the 1985 Bears may boast. If they carry that menace on Sunday like they’ve all yr, it may get late early for Kansas Metropolis. BAG

Easy because it sounds, Philadelphia should management the clock and hold the ball out of Mahomes’ fingers. Brock Purdy’s harm within the NFC championship sport cleared the best way for the Eagles, however so did Philly’s offensive line and operating backs. The Eagles don’t wish to must depend on Jalen Hurts airing it out. MJ

What the Chiefs have to do to win …

Preserve the Eagles’ formidable move rush off Mahomes lengthy sufficient for him to win the sport. Not one of the league’s final 9 Most Precious Participant winners have mixed that award with a Lombardi trophy, and there’s a trace there of how harmful it may be to ask an excessive amount of of 1 particular person. However it’s exhausting to think about a state of affairs during which Kansas Metropolis win this sport with out the newly minted MVP within the starring position. NB

Stylistically and schematically, the Chiefs don’t have the items to decelerate the Eagles’ overwhelming offense. What they’ll do is trigger all types of chaos up entrance and hope that they’re capable of idiot Jalen Hurts into making a few pricey errors. To win, the Chiefs might want to steal a possession. OC

The improved offensive line can’t let Mahomes undergo any additional harm. There’s no query Mahomes is the most important difference-maker right here, however it’s additionally unsure how wholesome his ankle is, regardless of how well he played against the Cincinnati Bengals within the AFC title sport. Any substantial harm to Mahomes will tilt the sport in favor of Philadelphia. HF

It hasn’t reared itself usually throughout the Eagles’ charmed season, however we’ve seen what the gentle underbelly of Jonathan Gannon’s protection can seem like at its worst. If ever a man was constructed to take advantage of that weak point, it’s Kansas Metropolis’s supremely gifted quarterback. Mahomes and Kelce should probe the quick and intermediate areas over the center early and sometimes, placing the query linebackers TJ Edwards and Kyzir White together with safeties Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Reed Blankenship and Marcus Epps. BAG

The Chiefs’ defensive entrance should penetrate that elite Eagles line and pressure Hurts to throw the ball. Whereas Hurts is a confirmed quarterback, the lingering affect of his shoulder harm was evident in opposition to the 49ers. Oh, additionally that Mahomes dude must work his standard magic whereas a wideout corresponding to Kadarius Toney wreaks havoc on Philly’s secondary. MJ

Haason Reddick
The Eagles’ Haason Reddick, left, celebrates together with his teammates after recovering a fumble throughout the second quarter of the NFC championship sport final month at Lincoln Monetary Subject. {Photograph}: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Photographs

Key participant for the Eagles …

Haason Reddick, edge rusher. The Chiefs won’t repeat the error that San Francisco made, assigning tight ends and receivers to dam Philadelphia’s finest edge rusher. However he had 16 sacks within the common season, too, his third straight yr hitting double figures. You don’t must be naïve for him to harm you. NB

Jason Kelce, middle. The offensive line fuels the Eagles’ run sport, and has constantly pitched shutouts in move safety (Lane Johnson hasn’t conceded a strain in six weeks). If the run sport is rolling early, the Chiefs can be in bother – and the Eagles’ floor assault is constructed round Kelce’s distinctive skillset, which permits them to run issues different groups can solely think about. OC

Miles Sanders, operating again. Whereas Kenneth Gainwell has been the most efficient operating again for Philadelphia within the postseason, Sanders stays their premier dashing risk (at the very least amongst non-quarterbacks). He ended the common season with the fourth-most dashing touchdowns within the league, plus the fifth-most dashing yards. Anticipate some game-changing carries from him. HF

Jalen Hurts, quarterback. The Eagles have received 19 of their previous 21 video games when Hurts is beneath middle, however the Super Bowl is a special animal – particularly for a younger signal-caller. Of the seven quarterbacks to begin a Tremendous Bowl earlier than their twenty fifth birthday, solely two have completed with a passer score above 66: Tom Brady on the finish of the 2001 season (86.2) and Mahomes on the finish of 2019 (78.1). The 24-year-old Hurts’ even-keeled temperament appears tailored to fulfill the second, however we received’t know for positive till the rubber hits the highway. BAG

Nick Sirianni. OK, he’s not a participant, however this would be the greatest take a look at but for Philadelphia’s 41-year-old head coach. To this point, he has proven poise, self-discipline and a wholesome quantity of guts. (The Eagles have gone for it on fourth down a whopping 35 instances this season.) However the Tremendous Bowl is a novel beast and lots of extra skilled coaches have crumbled beneath the highlight. MJ

Key participant for the Chiefs …

Chris Jones, defensive sort out. Mahomes, in fact, however to be rather less apparent I feel Jones may have an enormous position on the opposite facet of the ball. The Eagles’ offensive line are bullies, however a participant who piled up 15.5 sacks and 46 quarterback pressures, finest within the league at his place, may simply have the moxie to provide them a bloody nostril. NB

Patrick Mahomes, quarterback. You would level to rookie nook Trent McDuffie, whose entry into the lineup has remodeled the Chiefs’ protection. However KC’s hopes for a championship trip on Mahomes’ proper shoulder. Throughout the board, the Eagles have a greater roster. It is going to take an all-time efficiency to push the Chiefs excessive. And who could be prepared to guess in opposition to Mahomes to ship? OC

JuJu Smith-Schuster, vast receiver. With Mecole Hardman injured, Smith-Schuster – who had 78 catches for 933 yards within the common season – goes to be much more necessary for the Chiefs, significantly if the Eagles’ protection efficiently covers Mahomes’s high goal, Kelce. HF

Andrew Wylie, proper sort out. The undrafted free agent from Jap Michigan, whose 9 sacks allowed within the common season have been joint-third most in the NFL, might want to step up his sport after drawing the unenviable project of containing Haason Reddick, the sting rusher extraordinaire who’s incomes straight-faced comparisons to Reggie White. BAG

Trent McDuffie, cornerback (and the Chiefs’ different rookie DBs). The Chiefs hit the jackpot with this group of rookies and significantly with McDuffie, who can play on the skin and within the slot. The Eagles will sling it to AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith when there’s a juicy one-on-matchup. How McDuffie and Co maintain up in these moments will go a good distance in figuring out the end result. MJ

Chris Jones
Kansas Metropolis’s Chris Jones sacks Cincinnati’s Joe Burrow throughout the first quarter of the AFC championship sport final month at Arrowhead Stadium. {Photograph}: David Eulitt/Getty Photographs

One daring prediction …

Hurts units a brand new file for most dashing yards by a quarterback in a Tremendous Bowl. The goal is decrease than you may suppose: simply 64 yards by Steve McNair in a dropping effort for Tennessee in opposition to St Louis on the finish of the 1999 season. NB

Rihanna delays the second half. The league has type for delaying the second half of the Super Bowl. I’m unsure in the event you’ve seen the prop bets, however Vegas appears to know stuff. Rihanna to Affirm That Her Lyrics Have been Censored by the NFL is a -105 favourite to happen throughout the half-time efficiency. What if that censorship causes the league to panic and delay? Or, I don’t know, somebody slips on RiRi’s fake rain throughout Umbrella. OC

The sport will activate a security. In a contest between the 2 finest groups within the league, you count on one thing near a wonderfully executed sport. Perfection, nonetheless, hardly ever occurs in skilled sports activities. HF

The Chiefs will strive an onside kick on their first kickoff. The fearless Andy Reid as soon as opened a season with an onside kick (and watched the same gambit backfire spectacularly a couple of years later) throughout his time with the Eagles, so there’s a observe file right here that Philadelphia ought to pay attention to. Don’t be stunned if he tries to catch his keyed-up opponents off guard earlier than they’ve gotten their legs beneath them, whether or not it’s to begin the sport or after Kansas Metropolis’s first rating. (Additionally, Rihanna busts out Pon de Replay for the primary time in 12 years.) BAG

Disclaimer: I 100% hope this doesn’t occur. Hurts re-injures his shoulder within the first quarter. Gardner Minshew enters the sport, revs up the aerial assault and is topped Tremendous Bowl MVP. A wide range of hair product corporations combat for his advertising and marketing companies, all contingent on Minshew rising again his mullet. MJ

The ultimate rating can be …

Chiefs 23-20 Eagles. On paper, Philly are the higher crew. That offensive line is simply so sturdy, and they’ll have success establishing the run to manage the clock early on. However shut video games are determined by the moments when all the pieces goes off script, and who manages these higher than Mahomes? It’s not nearly him, both. Are we but able to put Sirianni above Reid, who has given Kansas Metropolis the most effective a long time of any crew in NFL historical past? NB

Eagles 34-28 Chiefs. Philadelphia high Kansas Metropolis in nearly each division. They’ve the perfect offensive line within the NFL by a ways. They’ve the perfect, only defensive entrance. Entrance to again, they’ve the perfect protection within the league. Mahomes remains to be battling a excessive ankle sprain. The Chiefs receiving corps is depleted. And so they’re taking part in a historic variety of rookies on protection. All indicators level to the Eagles operating over an undermanned KC facet. However the Chiefs have the perfect quarterback within the sport, taking part in on the apex of his powers. The Eagles ought to win, however Mahomes, Kelce and Jones will hold it shut. OC

Eagles 29-24 Chiefs. The Chiefs are going to attain touchdowns on this sport, that’s the one prediction right here that this author is 100% assured about. The Eagles, nonetheless, have been essentially the most full crew all common season and have plowed their approach via the competitors within the postseason. If this sport hinges on a handful of errors, it feels just like the Eagles are the crew finest certified to show these into factors. That could be the distinction in a Tremendous Bowl that ought to go all the way down to the wire. HF

Eagles 33-16 Chiefs. Philadelphia have the NFL’s finest offensive line and the perfect defensive position. They’ve been the deepest and most full crew throughout the board all season they usually’re the more healthy facet getting into Sunday’s sport. And but one way or the other the specialists are nonetheless underestimating them: the Chiefs have been put in as two-and-a-half-point favorites earlier than the general public spoke with their wallets, swinging the road in the Eagles’ direction inside quarter-hour. So long as the ankle holds up, Mahomes’ routine incandescence paired with one of many sport’s finest ever game-planners in Reid will hold the end result unsure till the championship rounds, the place the physique blows will mount and the Eagles’ class will inform. BAG

Eagles 31-22 Chiefs. The Eagles are higher and deeper throughout nearly each unit. Offensive line? Test. Receiving corps? Operating sport? Secondary? Test. Test. Test. The Chiefs, in fact, boast the perfect quarterback within the sport, to not point out the perfect tight finish. However with Mahomes three weeks faraway from a excessive ankle sprain, his receivers banged up and an inexperienced nook group, the Eagles have extra viable lanes the place they’ll prevail. MJ