By Nick Athan
On Sunday night, the Kansas City Chiefs face the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII. It’s a game where nearly everyone is picking the NFC juggernaut to defeat the AFC challenger. In some regard, this game has a similar tone to Super Bowl LIV between the Chiefs and the 49ers. However, this Andy Reid-led team is loose and confident, and they have the look of a team, that won’t be denied earning their second Lombardi Trophy in three years.
The late Marty Schottenheimer used to preach to his players, to win in this league, you had to have that gleam in your eye. Schottenheimer was a master motivator, and one of the greatest head coaches of all time. In his tenure in Kansas City, he knew how to fire up his players and himself. Chiefs Head Coach, Andy Reid, has the same ability, though it’s a bit more subtle, in getting his point across to his players.
On Friday, Reid brought in former Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback, Michael Vick, to talk to the Chiefs about the importance of winning this Super Bowl, against his former team. The move by Reid was pure savage. Vick had his best years in an Eagles uniform. He’s also spent time with the Chiefs in training camp, so it’s not a total shock Reid asked his former player to address the enemy.
Since the Chiefs arrived in Arizona last Sunday, the narratives really haven’t changed. The Eagles are the better team. The Chiefs have the league’s MVP on the field. Yet, the team from Philly remains the prohibitive favorite. Other storylines remain, but Reid could care less about any of them. He just wants to win Sunday.
To defeat his former team, Reid must do what’s been working all season long. This isn’t the time to change things up. With Mahomes under center, a playbook that is considered by many to be the most creative in the league, Reid will trust his MVP Quarterback to work his magic and his underrated defense to get stops.
On the flip side, the Eagles are not intimidated by the Chiefs. Though they had the easiest path to a Super Bowl in the modern era of the game, that really doesn’t mean much at this stage. Unless, of course, the Eagles succumb to the pressure of the game itself, they should be ready.
Still, I’m perplexed the Chiefs are being dissed this much by the media masses. The Eagles, despite being anointed the eventual Super Bowl Champion nearly two weeks ago, haven’t really done anything to prove the dominance of the narrative, they can’t lose this game.
Yes, they have a young dynamic Head Coach in Nick Sirianni, and a very talented but mostly unproven quarterback in Jalen Hurts. They possess an aggressive defense led by premier pass rusher, Haason Reddick. They have athletes and attitudes on both sides of the trenches. So, it’s not a stretch to see why the so-called experts are mostly picking the Eagles to crush the Chiefs.
Yet, much like the Chiefs were against the heavily favored Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC title game in Kansas City, and the upset minded Jacksonville Jaguars in the divisional round, this team isn’t going fall flat on Sunday because many believe they can’t win. If you factor, in what happened in Super Bowl LV against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the teams Kansas City played in the regular and post-season to be in Arizona, the Chiefs should be overwhelming favorites.
My gut tells me the Chiefs will attack the Eagles’ top-rated defense, much the same as they did against the Bucs in week four, and the San Francisco 49ers a month later on the road. In those games, the Chiefs put up 85 points, against two of the best defenses at the time they played one another In this game, the Eagles play the same style of defense as those former top-rated units, so it’s not a stretch to believe Mahomes and company, won’t light up the Eagles defense on Sunday.
Listen, I get the love for the Eagles. It makes sense because some people just don’t want to see the Chiefs become the next NFL Dynasty. With a win in SB LVII, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.
I’m not a big X’s and O’s guy when it comes to analyzing Super Bowl matchups because of the variables that can determine the winner or loser. It could be a turnover, a bad call by the officials, or an unlikely hero that makes a play that nobody saw coming. All I can say is what’s in my gut and what I’ve seen all season long watching these two football teams predict the outcome.
For me, it boils down to a pair of facts. First, the Eagles, outside of two comebacks against the Jacksonville (at home) and Indianapolis Colts (on the road), have not faced a team as talented as the Chiefs. Yet to their credit, they’ve beaten down some bad football teams. The second point is an easy argument. This Eagles team is swimming in uncharted waters facing Mahomes, and a Chiefs defense, comprised of five rookies, some talented veterans, that have won back-to-back playoff games in the postseason. In those wins, KC’s defense made plays when they needed stops and created key turnovers.
One thing is certain, this moment won’t be too big for anyone wearing a Chiefs uniform, because they’ve already won a Super Bowl, and all season they’ve taken the best shots of every opponent on their path to Super Bowl LVII. The same can’t be said about the Eagles.
So wins Sunday?
The team with that gleam and the experience to wield their will against anything the Eagles bring to the game.
Kansas City Chiefs – 38
Philadelphia Eagles – 26