Sean O’Donnell | Staff Writer
Feb. 9, 2023
It will be a matchup of two teams with juggernaut offenses, when the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs face off in Super Bowl LVII on Sunday evening.
Coming off a 2021-22 season that saw the Eagles going 9-8 and lose in the first round of the postseason, they arrived back at the big game sooner than many expected.
They managed to revamp their squad, ending this regular season with a league-high-tying 14 wins, matching none other than the Chiefs.
A big part of the Eagles’ revamp was the acquisition of Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Brown from the Tennessee Titans during the 2022 NFL Draft. In his first year as an Eagle, Brown recorded career highs in both receptions (88) and receiving yards (1,496). His 11 touchdowns also matched a personal best, originally set in 2020.
Philadelphia is hoping this revamp will culminate with hoisting the Lombardi Trophy for the first time since 2018.
Kansas City is appearing in the Super Bowl for the third time in four seasons, having defeated the San Francisco 49ers in 2019-20 before falling to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2020-21 campaign.
The Chiefs have enjoyed eight-consecutive seasons of winning at least 10 games. A big part of their stability during that stretch has been the consistent play of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Arguably the sport’s most-talented player has been dealing with a high-ankle sprain this postseason, but it did not seem to hold him back against the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship Game.
In that conference title contest, Mahomes played through his injury, throwing for 326 yards and two touchdowns in a 23-20 victory.
Mahomes will look to use his big-game experience to push his team over the edge. In Super Bowl LIV against the 49ers, Mahomes threw for 286 yards and won the game’s Most Valuable Player award.
With more time now to recover from his injury, this should not play a huge role, but it is important to take note that the Kansas City quarterback might not be 100% come kickoff.
Philadelphia will certainly look to utilize the connection of quarterback Jalen Hurts and wide receiver DeVonta Smith. After winning a College Football Playoff National Championship at Alabama in 2017-18, the two were reunited when Smith was selected by the Eagles in the 2021 NFL Draft (Hurts was drafted a year prior).
Hurts, who is now in his third year in the league, faced a lot of doubters to begin the season. In 2021-22, he threw for just 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Hurts showed some flashes of greatness, but his true potential was still very much unknown.
This season, he silenced much of the doubt surrounding his name, turning himself into a dynamic, dual-threat quarterback. He threw for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns. Hurts is also dismantling teams with his running ability. He finished the regular season with 760 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns. In the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers, he rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown.
The connection between Hurts and Smith has transferred well from college to the pros. Smith finished the regular season with 95 catches for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns. In this postseason, Smith has recorded eight receptions for 97 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Kansas City has an electric duo of their own between Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce. The two have been teammates since Mahomes was drafted back in 2017. Kelce finished the regular season with career highs in receptions (110) and touchdowns (12). Kelce has solidified himself as arguably the league’s best tight end, as he has now posted seven-straight seasons with at least 1,000 receiving yards.
One of the more-intriguing storylines will be the matchup between Travis and his brother, Jason, who is a center for the Eagles.
Although they won’t get to share the field at the same time, they will be the first pair of brothers to play against each other in the Super Bowl. Brothers Jim (49ers) and John (Baltimore Ravens) Harbaugh coached against one another during Super Bowl XLVII.
In a battle of the league’s top teams that both boast high-scoring offenses, expect a lot of points and a tightly-contested game to cap off this NFL season.