For the first time since 2017, the No. 1 seed in each conference will face off in the Super Bowl. The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles, both 16-3 SU, will meet on Sunday for the Lombardi Trophy. Not only do both teams have identical records, but they also each have scored 546 points this season.
Kansas City has won seven straight games and nine of its last ten dating back to the regular season. Philly has won 16 of its last 17 games with starting quarterback Jalen Hurts in the lineup. In the previous three encounters between these two teams, Kansas City has won and covered each time. The most recent was a 42-30 victory over the Eagles in Philadelphia last year.
With the Chiefs rolling, they may have wanted to keep playing right after the AFC championship game. However, the two-week break has been good for Kansas City. It gave QB Patrick Mahomes time to heal his injured ankle. Mahomes suffered a high ankle sprain in the Chiefs’ win over Jacksonville in the divisional round. He toughed it out in the AFC title game as KC won 23-20 over Cincinnati.
Mahomes wasn’t the only one happy with the time off. Three of Kansas City’s top receivers – Kadarius Toney, JuJu Smith-Schuster, and Mecole Hardman – ended up out of the AFC championship game with injuries. Star tight end Travis Kelce was plagued by back spasms that nearly prevented him from playing. The Chiefs’ secondary was forced to play the Bengals with three rookie corners and a rookie safety.
Kansas City will benefit from having the time off to recover, and head coach Andy Reid’s teams are notorious for getting it done after a bye week. The Chiefs are also an extremely dangerous underdog. In their last 17 games as the dog, Kansas City is 12-4-1 ATS.
In its first two playoff games, Philadelphia destroyed the Giants and 49ers by a combined score of 69-14, demonstrating that its 14-3 SU regular-season record was no accident. In last week’s stifling defensive effort against San Francisco, linebacker Haason Reddick was instrumental. He forced a turnover, recovered another one, and contributed two sacks. The Eagles also benefited from 49ers QB Brock Purdy being injured.
Hurts has not produced significant numbers since suffering a shoulder injury against Chicago in mid-December. A week after accumulating just 154 passing yards against the Giants, Hurts only threw for 121 yards against the 49ers. That may have to change if the Eagles want to have some success.
If Mahomes’ ankle is sound by kickoff, his pocket mobility will be crucial against a Philadelphia pass rush that was first in the NFL with 70 sacks in the regular season, 15 more than any other team. KC must also run the ball more effectively than it did against Cincinnati, when it managed only 42 yards on 20 carries.
In terms of defense, Philly’s fifth-ranked rushing unit contrasts favorably with the Chiefs’ eighth-ranked run defense. Hurts, the MVP front-runner for the Eagles, hasn’t done much with his legs recently, so expect the Chiefs to force him to out-air them. Philadelphia will try and stick to what works, which includes ball control. The Eagles have averaged nearly 10 more minutes of ball possession than their opponents in the postseason.
Sunday’s game features the top two scoring offenses in the NFL. Interestingly, the Under has hit in four of the Chiefs last five games and the last four straight for the Eagles.
Experience trumps everything. The Chiefs have been here before and they are battle tested. The Eagles are good. There’s no question about that, but they did play one of the weakest schedules in the NFL. Even when they played good teams, Dak Prescott missed the first Cowboys-Eagles game and Aaron Rodgers left midway through Philly’s game with the Packers. In the NFC title game, Brock Purdy blew an elbow or that game may have been different.
KC and Mahomes have the No. 1 pass offense in the NFL and they did it playing against seven top-10 pass defenses. Yes, the Eagles led the NFL in sacks, but don’t discount head coach Andy Reid’s impact. Remember, as an NFL head coach, Reid is 27-4 in 31 games played after a bye week. Plus, the Chiefs are outstanding as underdogs – 12-4-1 ATS in their last 17 such games.
Mahomes trumps a struggling Jalen Hurts. The Chiefs wide receiver crew should be healthy and that will give KC all it needs to prevail. Back the Chiefs +1.5.
With the two top offenses in the NFL, the game total is set at 51. Typically, early in Super Bowls, teams will feel each other out to get an idea of what they can do later in the game. Scoring will be limited early and that could carry over into the second quarter. The last four Super Bowl final combined scores were 43, 40, 51, and 16. All four of those games went Under.
The betting public loves the Over and the Super Bowl will be no different. These are the top two scoring offenses in the NFL. Both teams average 29 points per game. The total opened at 49.5 and has adjusted to 51. That tells you the public is on the Over…and for good reason.
These two teams can score. Plus, the KC red zone defense leaves a bit to be desired (30th in the NFL). Philly typically doesn’t give up a lot of points (18.8 ppg), but they did get torched for 40 by Dallas. Over the last 14 Super Bowls, 10 have seen the winning team score at least 27 points. The O/U record in those 14 games is a dead-even 7-7. The point though is this. If one of these teams scores 27 (which is highly likely), the other team is going to have to score to keep the game close. That will push this total Over.
KANSAS CITY +1.5
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