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February 10, 2023

Super Bowl picks: Rounding up the experts' predictions for Eagles-Chiefs

Many writers and analysts believe Sunday night in Arizona can go either way.

The best quarterback in the league and the juggernaut of the AFC against the NFC champion that ran through every opponent and every doubt on the way to Arizona. 

An unstoppable force versus an immovable object? That's sure how Super Bowl LVII is looking between the Eagles and Chiefs, and it's only a bit longer before we finally see who comes out on top. 

In the meantime, how do we think it's going to play out?

For our own Evan Macy, nearly every way he looks at it, the Eagles are the better team:

The Eagles are the better team. I have spent over a week coming to that concrete conclusion. There are a ton of different ways they can win this game.
• They can win with their superior defensive line, getting to Mahomes and creating havoc in the backfield.
• They can win with their superior secondary, with Darius Slay and James Bradberry handling the Chiefs' average receiving corps.
• They can win by pounding the run game, using the best offensive line in football to control the ball and the clock.
• They can win through the air, with Jalen Hurts distributing the ball to A.J. Brown. DeVonta Smith and Dallas Gordert.
If you run a simulation of this game 10 times, the Eagles could win a ton of different ways and likely would win it more frequently than Kansas City. 
How can the Chiefs win? Honestly, only if Patrick Mahones plays out of his mind. Which, you know, is certainly possible. 
Still, I think the odds are in Philly's favor. In an entertaining game, the Birds win the Lombardi Trophy. [PhillyVoice]

How's the rest of the football world feeling?  

The Inquirer: For the Inquirer beats, this one's a coin flip, but EJ Smith thinks the Eagles' overall talent will win out:

This game is a toss-up. An early lead will be a significant swing, as will the health of both quarterbacks playing. Picking against a quarterback as good as Mahomes is tough to do, but the Eagles’ talent advantage is too hard to overlook. The Eagles win in a shootout with Brown becoming the third receiver in the last five years to win Super Bowl MVP.

Prediction: Eagles 38, Chiefs 34 [The Inquirer]

The Athletic ($): From a panel of nine writers, six of them are going with the Chiefs, though here is a case for either two to win:

Tashan Reed (Chiefs): The Eagles have the best roster in the league, but I’m rolling with the best player: Patrick Mahomes. While Mahomes can’t overcome an entire team by himself — the Chiefs’ blowout loss to the Bucs in Super Bowl LV is a prime example — he’s more than capable of being the deciding factor in a matchup between fairly evenly-matched teams. Kansas City isn’t as complete as Philadelphia. Still, they have one of the best offensive lines in the league, a strong collection of offensive weapons built around Travis Kelce and a defense that’s really come on strong in the playoffs. Another potential equalizer is the fact the Chiefs have the coaching advantage with Andy Reid facing off against Nick Sirianni. Mahomes gets healthy during the two-week gap between the conference championship round and the Super Bowl, puts his excellence on display when it matters and leads the Chiefs as they take another step toward building a dynasty.

Michael-Shawn Dugar (Eagles): The Eagles are loaded up front — on both sides. As the Buccaneers demonstrated a few years, being built that way is a recipe for defeating the best quarterback. That’s why the Eagles are going to win. They can run the ball effectively on offense and put it in the air against a so-so Kansas City cornerback room. Defensively, they can rotate 4-5 guys with a legitimate shot at getting to Patrick Mahomes on any given snap. That will be tough for four quarters, especially with the quarterback nursing an injured ankle. [The Athletic] There's a fairly decent split here as well, with 13 writers and analysts picking the Eagles to win while 11 went with Kansas City.

Again, a case for each:

Marc Ross (Eagles 30, Chiefs 21): Philadelphia has been the most talented, balanced and well-coached team for most of this season. The edge Patrick Mahomes has over Jalen Hurts will be negated by Mahomes' bum ankle and the ferocious Philly pass rush, which will harass No. 15 all night, much like the Bucs did in Super Bowl LV.

DeAngelo Hall (Chiefs 31, Eagles 24): Andy Reid will be prepared for the Eagles' vaunted defensive front and won't let it dictate the flow of the game. On the other side of the ball, DC Steve Spagnuolo will have his young defense peaking at the right time against Philly's read-option run game. []

• Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: This pick ultimately comes down to the quarterback and the Chiefs have the edge there.

Both offenses will have success. That will make this a fun Super Bowl. But, in the end, new school will beat old school.
Give me the best quarterback in the league on the biggest stage. Mahomes will close out the season with the award trifecta: League MVP, Super Bowl MVP and another ring to add to his first one.

The Chiefs dynasty will be in full force come late Sunday evening.

Pick: Chiefs 33, Eagles 30. [CBS Sports]

MORE: Jimmy Kempski's Super Bowl pick

Sports Illustrated ($): Another coin flip. The MMQB staff can see this going either way, so once again the case for the Chiefs and then the Eagles:

Albert Breer (Chiefs 27, Eagles 24): In his last act as 49ers defensive coordinator, DeMeco Ryans left the bones for a Super Bowl game plan out there for Chiefs DC Steve Spagnuolo. He crowded the line. He sent simulated pressure. And through one half of the NFC championship game, he held the Eagles to fewer than four yards per carry and, outside of DeVonta Smith’s circus catch on fourth-and-3, a whole lot of nothing in the passing game. Eventually, the weight of carrying an offense hobbled by quarterback injuries broke Ryans’ unit. But that doesn’t mean his plan didn’t work. And the Chiefs’ defense, while not as good as the Niners’, won’t have as much asked of it, with Patrick Mahomes running the show on the other side of the ball. So put me down for a dogfight of a game, with Kansas City’s force-of-nature at quarterback, as usual, being the difference maker.

Greg Bishop (Eagles 24, Chiefs 21): Look, the Eagles are a lot like their budding superstar of a quarterback. They’re doubted, doubted and doubted some more. But when Hurts has been healthy, they’ve just rolled people up, almost without exception. Philadelphia has a complete team. They Eagles are great on offense, even better on defense and exhibit few, if any, weaknesses on special teams. They’ve proved over the course of the season that they can beat teams in different ways. They’ve won with offensive explosions, defensive clamp-downs and special teams star turns. They’ve even won in different ways just on offense: with Hurts running a ton, with efficient passing, with doing just enough to get by. Mahomes remains the single greatest wild card in pro football. He could lift the Chiefs, with their own stars and a complete roster, to victory. But I just keep thinking back to the conference championships. Philadelphia blew out a very good San Francisco team. Kansas City narrowly defeated a very good Cincinnati team. That all lines up with an Eagles triumph for me. []

Sheil Kapadia, The Ringer: A tough one to decide, but ultimately one Kapadia sees the Eagles putting away with a signature clock-killing scoring drive led by Hurts:

I think both offenses will move the ball consistently in this game, but there could be a lot of long drives that limit the total number of possessions. I see a tight game in the fourth quarter, but the Eagles get the ball back while trailing 25-24 with about four minutes left. They grind away and never give Mahomes another chance. Kicker Jake Elliott nails the game-winning field goal as time expires. Eagles 27, Chiefs 25.

The pick: Eagles (-1.5) [The Ringer]

• Bill Bender, The Sporting News: One for Kansas City.

It's a virtual pick'em for a reason, and that line could shift toward the Chiefs before kickoff. The Eagles' running game will be a huge factor, and Philadelphia will lead at halftime in this game. Still, this is another Mahomes legacy game, and the victory against the Bengals was just another example of how his dynamic play-making ability shifts games. Count on the lessons learned from the loss to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl LV to register, especially against that pass rush. 

This is Reid's fourth trip to the Super Bowl as a head coach, and that experience will pay off – especially in the fourth quarter. Kansas City wins on another walk-off by Harrison Butker in a fantastic Super Bowl that lives up to expectations. 

Super Bowl 57 final score: Chiefs 31, Eagles 28. [The Sporting News]

Vinnie Iyer, The Sporting News: And one for Philly. 

When examining the total personnel of both teams, the Eagles have the better offensive line and the better defensive front seven. They have more with which to help their quarterback, including the willingness to run and get him involved in doing so. Hurts has more reliable weapons, including his own legs, than Mahomes does.

Both teams will be hard-pressed to force turnovers and can't hope that the opponent beats itself with key mistakes or breakdowns. Should just the Eagles and Chiefs just line up in a physical, well-coached disciplined game with its share of big-play flashes, the Eagles are the stronger team with fewer weaknesses. Hurts, much like Nick Foles in Super Bowl 52 for the Eagles, plays well with a lot of help while Mahomes falls a little short carrying his Chiefs one more time.

Eagles 31, Chiefs 27[The Sporting News]

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