Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Line: Philadelphia -1.5
Where: State Farm Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
When: Sunday, 2/12 at 6:30 p.m. ET
The top seeds from each conference will square off in the Super Bowl for the first time since 2017 when the Eagles meet the Chiefs on Sunday night.
Kansas City is riding a seven-game winning streak that includes a divisional round win over Jacksonville and an AFC Championship win against Cincinnati. Philadelphia has won 16 of its 17 games with quarterback Jalen Hurts on the field, cruising to blowout wins over the Giants and 49ers in the playoffs.
These teams did not meet this season, but Kansas City notched a 42-30 win as a 7-point road favorite last year in a game that flew ‘over’ the total of 54. The Eagles only gave up 40 points in a game once this season, going ‘under’ the number in five of their last six games.
Oddsmakers opened Philadelphia as 1-point favorite when the Super Bowl 57 odds initially came out. The line quickly jumped to -1.5, which is where it has remained at almost every sportsbook over the past 1.5 weeks. Sunday night’s total has seen more significant movement, jumping from the opener of 49.5 up to 51 as of Thursday afternoon.
That movement has come despite Philadelphia closing the regular season at No. 2 in total defense (301.5 yards per game) and leading the league in the playoffs. This will be a matchup of strength vs. strength, as Kansas City was the top-ranked offense in the NFL in the regular season (413.6).
The Chiefs are playing in the Super Bowl for the third time in the last four years, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes is set to become the youngest quarterback to start three Super Bowls. The 27-year-old has gone 1-1 in his previous two tries, beating San Francisco in Super Bowl 54 before losing to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl 55.
Mahomes has been in the headlines due to a right ankle sprain that he suffered against Jacksonville three weeks ago. He managed to play through the pain in the AFC Championship and is hoping to be closer to 100% for the biggest game of the season.
“You won’t know exactly how it is until you get to game day,” Mahomes said on Wednesday. “I mean, I definitely move around better than I was moving last week or two weeks ago. So, it’s just trying to continue to get the treatment and the rehab and get it as close to 100% and then rely on some adrenaline to let me do a little bit extra when I’m on the field.”
Mahomes is not the only key injury that Kansas City’s offense is dealing with, as wide receivers Mecole Hardman (pelvis) and Justyn Ross (foot) are both on the injured reserve, while Kadarius Toney (ankle) is ‘questionable.’ Fortunately for head coach Andy Reid, tight end Travis Kelce is healthy after dealing with back spasms two weeks ago.
Kelce, who will face older brother Jason (Philadelphia’s center), ranks second all-time in postseason receptions (127) and receiving yards (1,467). The brothers will become the first to ever play against each other in Super Bowl history.
“Whoever wins this one will have the ultimate bragging right,” said Jason, who is 0-3 against Travis in his career.
Mahomes and Kelce will be trying to solve a Philadelphia defense that has held the Giants and 49ers to one touchdown apiece during the postseason. The Eagles have recorded the third-most sacks (78) in a season in league history, sitting behind the ’84 Bears (82) and 85’ Bears (80). Linebacker Haason Reddick posted a career-high 16 sacks in the regular season and has added 3.5 in the two playoff games.
Philadelphia’s defense overshadowed an offense that ranked third in the regular season (389.1). Third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts completed 66.5% of his passes for 3,701 yards, 22 touchdowns and six interceptions while rushing for 760 yards and 13 scores. He has added 275 passing yards, two touchdowns and no picks in the playoffs.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the team,” Hurts said. “Football is the ultimate team game, and you can’t have one player with the belief that he can succeed without the others around him.”
His support has come via running back Miles Sanders (1,269 rushing yards) and wide receiver A.J. Brown (1,496 receiving yards). Second-year wide receiver DeVonta Smith had 95 catches for 1,196 yards and seven touchdowns in the regular season and has a team-high 97 receiving yards this postseason.
Reid has gone 12-4-1 ATS in his last 15 games as an underdog and has covered in six straight games against NFC teams. Philadelphia is 2-4 ATS in its last six games, but it is 7-0 in its last seven games against AFC opponents.
The pick: Kansas City +1.5
Most metrics are likely going to lean towards Philadelphia here due to its elite balance on both sides of the ball, but I have more faith in Kansas City to deal with the pressure of playing in a Super Bowl. This is becoming a somewhat routine occurrence for Reid and Mahomes, who are used to the fanfare of the two-week stretch leading up to the biggest game of the season. I also expect Mahomes to be more mobile than he was in the AFC Championship, as the extra week off came at the right time. Kansas City’s strength defensively has been against the run, which matches up well against a run-heavy Philadelphia offense. The Eagles could find themselves in some serious trouble early in this game if they get behind by a few scores, as they are built to bleed the clock with lengthy possessions.