With millions of fans tuning in on Feb. 12, Super Bowl LVII represents the best of football. Both teams — the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs — went 14-3 before winning conference titles, and both have showcased elite quarterback play with Jalen Hurts (he/him) and Patrick Mahomes (he/him), respectively. The Chiefs face off against the Eagles in a showdown featuring two of the league’s most dominant offenses and MVP contenders. While also having local representation with offensive tackle Andre Dillard, this final is already making history, with both teams being led by two black quarterbacks for the first time. It will also have siblings Travis Kelce and Jason Kelce facing each other on the field. Although it’s projected to be a close game, the Eagles are significantly more well-rounded and therefore bound to be the Super Bowl LVII champions.
Although the Chiefs have Mahomes, the Eagles have Hurts, their own MVP-caliber quarterback, whose story in the league remains one of great struggle and success. From never having a consistent coach since high school, to only making appearances as a backup quarterback for his first two seasons with the Eagles, to finally making his name known throughout the NFL community, Hurts has shown remarkable determination and deserves this chance to represent his team.
This historic matchup between Hurts and Mahomes will come down to which quarterback makes the magical plays on third down against the pass rush. On third-down conversion percentage, Kansas City was at 48.8% and Philadelphia 47.5%, ranking second and third in the league respectively. Nonetheless, the Eagles have been statistically more dominant virtually all year, losing just one of Hurts’ starts. Their offense scored the third-most points this season and is borderline unstoppable in short-yardage situations, and their defense led the NFL in sacks and pass defense. In fact, Philadelphia was seeded No. 1 during their Super Bowl LVII run, completing an amazing season with the more complete team. The team averaged 18.2 first-half points in the regular season — nearly three more than the next-best team, Kansas City, who has 15.5 points. Nothing changed in the playoffs, as the Eagles put up 28 first-half points in their divisional playoffs victory over the Giants and 21 in the NFC Championship Game against San Francisco.
However, Mahomes, who is recovering from a sprained ankle, is not one to be not underestimated. He’s the Tom Brady of his time. Even on a bad leg, Mahomes scrambled for clutch yards in the AFC title game and didn’t bat an eye. His presence alone means Kansas City will be in this game.
Although Mahomes’s powerhouse offense can move the ball through the air better than anyone, the Eagles have proved to be more balanced. They can win both ugly and effortlessly, leaning on both an old-school ground attack and new-school aerial assault. It’s an embodiment of Hurts, who has established himself not only as a punishing, elusive scrambler but a vastly improved downfield thrower.
It can be hard to get a read on the Eagles because they did beat San Francisco who was forced to use their backup quarterback for a full half on NFC championship weekend, and Philadelphia’s defense has been vulnerable against the run all season. Time and time again, however, elite defenses prevail when it matters most in the NFL. There’s no reason to think this Eagles team will be any different. Eagles’ running back hydra of Kenneth Gainwell, Miles Sanders and Boston Scott dismantled the 49ers defense during the NFC championship.
It’s hard to go up against the all-world partnership of Mahomes and Jason Kelce, which sure seems like the contemporary edition of the once-supreme Patriots pair of Brady and Rob Gronkowski. It’s fully expected that Mahomes, in particular, will give the Eagles’ defense more trouble than it’s ever seen. The Chiefs have the edge in experience, but Philadelphia is simply better and healthier.