February 11, 2023
Oh man, did this one go far.
The Eagles came into the 2022 season retooled and ready to do some damage, yet they went and exceeded almost every expectation.
They dominated the regular season, Jalen Hurts didn't just progress but looked like an MVP for a while, Haason Reddick came home and wreaked havoc on opposing offenses, and A.J. Brown came in to construct a wide receiver duo with DeVonta Smith that no secondary ever wanted to see.
Then in the playoffs, they rolled right through the upstart Giants and a QB-depleted San Francisco to put the franchise on the doorstep of its second-ever Super Bowl title.
All that stands in their way is 60 minutes against Andy Reid, Patrick Mahomes, and the AFC juggernaut Kansas City Chiefs.
Will this incredible run end in a parade down Broad Street?
Here's what our writers think:
TV: FOX (Kevin Burkhardt, Greg Olsen, Erin Andrews, Tom Rinaldi, Mike Pereira)
RADIO: 94.1 WIP (Merrill Reese, Mike Quick)
|Book||Spread||Money Line||Total (O/U)|
|DraftKings||PHI -1.5|| KC +105|
|FanDuel||PHI -1.5||KC +104|
|BetMGM||PHI -1.5||KC +105|
|UniBet||PHI -1.5||KC +100|
|PointsBet||PHI -1.5|| KC +100|
Jimmy's full breakdown of his prediction can be seen HERE, but here's quick rundown of what he's thinking:
The line for this game has settled in at Eagles (-1.5). In my opinion, it should be higher, but it is shaded in the Chiefs' direction because we have all become accustomed to seeing them make deep playoff runs...
It's actually a bit reminiscent of 2017, when the Eagles faced Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and a good-not-great supporting cast. The Chiefs' cast of characters are less hateable this time around, but they are the NFL's alpha team.
The Eagles are definitively better in the trenches, at the offensive skill positions, and in the secondary. Is the gap between Mahomes and Hurts big enough to overcome all of that? If Hurts remains hampered by his injury, then... maybe? I'll bet that Hurts is ready for this moment. Give me the Birds (-1.5), and another parade.
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.
I have the Eagles cruising to a two-touchdown win between a ferocious pass rush and a dynamic, versatile offense that can put up points on a suspect Kansas City defense.
My Super Bowl MVP pick is Haason Reddick, recording 2.5 sacks, including a strip sack, fumble recovery, and touchdown trifecta. I’ll say that Jalen Hurts and Kenny Gainwell each pick up rushing TDs, too.
Patrick Mahomes scares the hell out of me, but he is really the only reason that I have considered taking the Chiefs.
The Eagles are the superior team with a better, well-rounded roster, and they should win this game. I also couldn't stomach the idea of picking the Chiefs solely to try to win the season-long prediction battle — either I take the crown for the year and all my loved ones are sad, or I'm the guy who picks against the Eagles that gets made fun of for months to come.
No thank you.
Maybe it's age, maybe it's priorities, maybe it's the fact that I saw the Super Bowl pillar fall five years ago so now the idea of the Eagles winning it all doesn't seem so impossible anymore, or maybe it's the mint tea (it's quite soothing).
Probably a combination of all four.
Either way, this is easily the calmest I've been for any Philadelphia team heading into a championship round, and I feel pretty confident that the Eagles are going to pull this off.
The Chiefs are great and Patrick Mahomes can and will burn you, there's no doubt about that. But the Eagles are going into this with a complete and relatively healthy roster, and I just can't help but think that when combined with an aggressive gameplan, at a certain point, the Birds are just going to pull away.
It won't be a blowout like the divisional round or the NFC Championship, and I really can't see a Mahomes-led offense scoring less than 20 on this stage (at least not again), but I can imagine in the third quarter, with Kansas City needing a score, Jalen Hurts leading an eight-minute touchdown drive that just breaks their back and robs them of too much time to recover.
I can imagine Philly remaining undefeated against the light poles too, and another parade up to the Art Museum steps in a few days' time.
The Eagles are flat-out the better team. They even have the better narrative in Jalen Hurts and his road to success. The only thing holding this game back from being a blowout is the idea of Patrick Mahomes and Andy Reid. But Mahomes is just not himself, not 100 percent of himself at least, and Reid is dealing with the best defense he's faced all year (with a hobbled quarterback). Mahomes keeps losing weapons and won't be able to just rely on Travis Kelce. In fact, there's a good chance that BOTH Kelces get in the end zone as opposed to just the tight end.
There is just no way the Chiefs' offense can keep up with the Eagles. Don't worry about the Super Bowl stuff - like teams feeling each other out at the start of the game. This is a 38-17 blowout to put a beautiful bow on a magical season for Philadelphia.
When it comes to Super Bowl LVII, I'm defaulting to my riser theory.
The quick explanation for that is the show made out of the NFL's opening media night, when the league makes the coaches and 11 notable players from each team available on "risers" while the rest were left to mill around on the floor of the Footprint Center to dodge inane questions, the Eagles list was filled with All-Pros, Pro Bowl selections, or at least alternates from Jalen Hurts down to Miles Sanders – ironically the player who correctly foreshadowed the Eagles as an All-Star team before they kicked off the run to the big game.
The Chiefs, on the other hand, were top-heavy with superstars Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, and Chris Jones before the drop-off to a good but not great player in Frank Clark.
The thesis of the riser theory is that the Eagles are simply the deeper, more well-rounded team, and 60 minutes of football should prove that on Sunday. This is the NFL, though, and Kansas City has more than a puncher's chance with a QB who already has a Hall-of-Fame worthy resume and one of the greatest coaches of all time in Andy Reid, who is an almost unfathomable 28-3 with extra time to prepare.
The halcyon days of 38-7 in the divisional round and 31-7 in the NFC Championship Game are over for the Eagles, but the best team in football has proven to be exactly that in 16 of 17 tests with Jalen Hurts on the field. There's no reason to fight upstream against the trend. Philadelphia finds a way.
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