The Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs will meet in Arizona on Sunday 12 February to battle it out in Super Bowl LVII. For the Chiefs, this is their third trip to the Super Bowl in the last four seasons, while the Eagles return for the first time since winning Super Bowl LII in February 2018. The Eagles can join the Chiefs with two Vince Lombardi trophies, if they can beat Kansas City. Both were number one seeds and benefitted from their bye week at the start of the playoffs to win their divisional and conference games. Like any Super Bowl played before, there are plenty of intriguing storylines.
Firstly, Chiefs head coach Andy Reid won more games than any other coach in the history of the Eagles, after winning 140 games in Philadelphia and guiding the team to the playoffs nine times in his 14 years in charge. Reid coached in five NFC Championship games, and advanced to the Super Bowl once, where the Eagles were beaten by the Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX. This will be Reid's third Super Bowl as Chiefs coach, and he has his sights set on winning a second ring.
Secondly, Super Bowl LVII will be the first time two brothers line up against each other. Jason Kelce is the center for the Eagles, while younger brother Travis is a tight end for the Chiefs. Because they both line up on offense, they will not be on the field at the same time. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes has a tremendous relationship with his tight end, and the younger brother can expect a number of passes thrown his way. Kelce senior is an important cog in the Eagles running game as he is one of the best blocking centers in the game.
The Eagles opened as 1.5-point favourites with the majority of NFL betting sites, but how will the game unfold? We break the game down to find out which team has the edge and where value can be found in the betting markets.
Super Bowl LVII will be the biggest game of Jalen Hurts' career. Philadelphia's third-year quarterback has handled everything thrown his way so far, and he has won over the Eagles fan base, which is arguably the most demanding of all the teams in the NFL. Hurts started the season with critics working out who their next starting quarterback should be, but Hurts has temporarily silenced those doubters. Bringing the Vince Lombardi trophy back to Philly could lead to a statue being built outside the Linc to sit next to the one of former head coach Doug Pederson and back-up quarterback Nick Foles, who masterminded their last success five years ago.
The Eagles ranked third in total offense, and they will fancy their chances against the Chiefs, who finished the regular season ranked 16th in scoring defense. Philadelphia scored an average 28.1 points per game throughout the regular season, but that has increased to 34.5 in the playoffs. The Eagles put up 38 points during their third win of the season over NFC East rivals the New York Giants. The following week, Philadelphia scored 31 points against the 49ers, who had the best scoring defense in the league, allowing just 16.3 points.
For the Chiefs to have a chance of winning Super Bowl LVII, they need to stop the Eagles from running the ball, and force Hurts to beat them through the air. Hurts suffered a shoulder sprain in his throwing arm towards the end of the regular season, and while he's back under center, there's concern that the shoulder might not be 100%. The Eagles ran for 268 yards against the Giants and 148 yards against San Francisco, and the Chiefs need to block the holes at the line of scrimmage.
The Chiefs defense managed to limit the Bengals to 71 rushing yards, and if they can limit the Eagles to somewhere near that total, their hopes of winning will be boosted massively. If the Eagles can establish the run early, then it opens them up to use play-action passes. The Eagles have an advantage when it comes to their offense against the Chiefs defense, especially as Hurts knows when to hand the ball off, when to keep it and run it himself and when to pass it. That's difficult for any defense to figure out, which is why the Chiefs opened as early underdogs on many sports betting apps.
This will be the third Super Bowl for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, which gives him an advantage over Hurts. Mahomes knows how to deal with all the attention that will be thrusted upon both quarterbacks prior to the game. Many of the questions Mahomes will be asked during the week leading up to the game will relate to his ankle injury. Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in the divisional win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he recovered enough to lead the Chiefs to a 23-20 win and avenge their loss to the Bengals in the same game 12 months ago.
With Mahomes leading their offense, the Chiefs averaged 29.2 points per game in the regular season, but that average dropped to 25.0 in their two playoff games. Perhaps the injury to Mahomes played a part, and with two weeks between the Conference game and the Super Bowl, Mahomes should be close to full fitness to face the Eagles in Arizona.
Mahomes will need to be fully fit, as he is about to face an Eagles defense that has put up historical numbers this season. Philadelphia led the league with 70 sacks in the regular season, 15 more than the Chiefs who were second on the list. In their two playoff games, the Eagles added another eight sacks. In the NFC Conference game, they knocked 49ers quarterbacks Brock Purdy (elbow) and Josh Johnson (concussion) out of the game. Purdy returned to the game because his team had no other option under center, but he couldn't throw the ball.
The Chiefs offense may have to come up with some creative plays in the red zone as they have done in recent years, and they might have to dig deep in their bag of tricks to score against an Eagles defense that allowed just seven points in each of their two playoff games. In those two games, Philadelphia's defense limited their opponents to just 96.0 passing yards per game and 99.5 rushing yards. If Mahomes is fully fit and able to get out of the pocket, then the Chiefs have a chance to upset the odds on NFL betting apps. But if the Eagles can get to Mahomes, like the Buccaneers did in the Super Bowl two years ago, then it might be a difficult day for Mahomes and co.
After weighing up all the stats, the Eagles look the better bet to win Super Bowl LVII. They have better balance on both sides of the ball, and they should win the battle in the trenches. That's not to say the Chiefs won't have their moments. They will, and they need to take every opportunity to score points whenever they can. The over/under was set at 52, but this might not be a high-scoring game so the under looks a solid bet. The six playoff games in the divisional round and Conference Championship games all had total points of 47 or under.
We also expect Jalen Hurts to have a solid game for the Eagles. He won't be expected to throw the ball much, although he has proved this season that he can air it out just as well as anyone in the league. With seven rushing touchdowns in his last six games, including one in each playoff game, Hurts is a good option for anytime touchdown scorer, as the Eagles look to end a 16-year-old NFL jinx. Philadelphia, who won their first eight games, can become the first team since the 2006 Indianapolis Colts to win the Super Bowl after being the last undefeated team.