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5 keys for the Chiefs to beat the Eagles in Super Bowl 57



Photo by: Bill Streicher/USA TODAY Sports

The Super Bowl showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles is less than a week away. With that, it’s time to examine 5 keys for the Chiefs to win as we approach the big game. We will go in-depth and examine just what both Mahomes and Company will need to accomplish in order to come away hoisting the Lombardi Trophy as the Super Bowl champions.

1. Run the ball … and then run it some more/Win the Time of Possession Game

Chiefs have to take command (yes, pun intended) of the ball and the clock against Philadelphia. The Chiefs should literally doubled up the Eagles, owning the ball for more than 40:24, leaving the Eagles with the ball only 19:31 like the Commanders did in their 32-21 MNF win vs the Eagles. Andy Reid needs to dial up runs, use short-yardage situations to convert on third downs. Isiah Pacheco led rookie running backs with highest yard per carry average (5.0) this past season while he and Jerick McKinnon have combined for 147 rushing yards this postseason. Along with the high-powered passing attack, the Chiefs also have a formidable ground game that will have a plus matchup against the Eagles run defense. Running the ball early and often will be key for the Chiefs.

2. Attack the dominate secondary of the Eagles

The Eagles starting secondary consists of All-Pro cornerback Darius Slay, fourth-year safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson, seventh-year Pro-Bowl cornerback James Bradberry, and third-year safety Marcus Epps. They have caused a ton of turnovers, which is to their credit, but Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon’s preferred style is pretty clearly to sit back and wait for the opponent to make a mistake. That’ll work in some, if not most instances if you can prevent big plays, but there are going to be times when you need to play aggressor, and the Eagles might pay for their passive approach on Sunday night. The Chiefs currently have Z receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster along with X receiver (and dangerous deep threat) Marquez Valdes-Scantling to go along with the young, emerging rookie Skyy Moore and newly acquired Kadarius Toney. Compared to last season even when they had Tyreek Hill, the Chiefs are in much better shape at wide receiver. Against a dominant but at-times mistake-prone secondary, the Chiefs will need to exploit that potential advantage.

3. Use Jaylen Watson with safety help as primary coverage against A.J. Brown

While rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson struggled to begin the season, he has turned into one of the Chiefs’ best defensive players. Since Week 15 (including playoffs), opposing quarterbacks have a 63.2 passer rating when targeting the cornerback, according to PFF. In the postseason, Watson has stepped up his game: On 24 targets, he has allowed 14 receptions for 192 yards allowing just 58.3% of completed passes while giving up one touchdown and snagging two highlight-reel interceptions. While Watson has settled into more of the boundary corner role for the Chiefs, he performed extremely well against Tee Higgins in the AFC Title Game and is still capable of playing on more the outside. With the help of either Juan Thornhill or Bryan Cook in dime packages, Watson should fare decently at the very least against All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Brown. It is by no means an easy task, but Watson has proved capable, clearing the way for Trent McDuffie and L’Jarius Sneed to have favorable match-ups against DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins.

4. Apply pressure early and often on Jordan Mailata

While the Eagles boast one of the best offensive lines in the NFL, the unit’s one weak link has given rise to some issues. Left tackle Jordan Mailata has allowed six sacks, 34 quarterback hurries, and 39 pressures this season, according to PFF. Chris Jones, George Karlaftis, Frank Clark, Mike Danna and Carlos Dunlap have all had solid seasons to make up a great season for Sack Nation. Between the ability to apply pressure to the quarterback, seal the edge, and stop the run, this unit has performed well above expectations and is a key factor for the Chiefs dominance on defense. Going after Mailata seems like a wise decision for the Chiefs if they want to try and slow down the Eagles’ dangerous run attack and the passing performance of Jalen Hurts.

5. Continue to use Marquez Valdes-Scantling as a main target in passing game

While this would seem obvious, it still cannot go without saying. MVS had the third-most targets during the regular season among all Chiefs playmakers, behind Kelce, and Smith-Schuster. The fifth-year wideout still managed to get 16.4 yards per reception during the regular season, ranked 8th in the league. Hogan has been even better in two playoff games, with 7 receptions on 10 targets for 122 yards and two touchdowns. With his ability to function in both the slot and on the outside, MVS has proven to be a legitimate deep threat for Mahomes and the Chiefs. He will be especially difficult to cover for the Eagles as his route running has improved as the season has progressed along with his ability to beat single coverage frequently downfield. And with Mahomes having a perfect passer rating (150.8) this postseason when targeting MVS, it would be wise for them to continue to feed him the ball.


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