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Super Bowl LVII Preview

Twenty-six weeks after the Hall of Fame Game, and we've finally made it the Super Bowl. It's been a long, grueling NFL season, and we have an incredible payoff on tap as the two best teams in the league go head-to-head. Today, I'll go over some major storylines, analytical matchups, Super Bowl history, and more as we head into the Big Game. It's the Chiefs and Eagles in what is shaping up to be another unpredictable outcome in a dubious season.

Photo: Chris Unger/Getty Images

 

The Storylines


What We Know

  1. Unlike the past few seasons, we have the first matchup between 1 seeds since 2017. With that being said, we've had 6 matchups in the past 14 Super Bowls to feature both 1 seeds facing off

  2. Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are both top MVP candidates, and both teams also have DPOY level players in Chris Jones and Haason Reddick

  3. Both teams rank in the top 5 offensively and defensively per PFF, with the Chiefs boasting the #1 offense and the Eagles boasting the #1 defense

What's Up in the Air

  1. Patrick Mahomes's and Travis Kelce's overall health, despite both playing in the AFC Championship

  2. If Jalen Hurts's can step up after being benched in his previous national title game, especially given he's not 100%

  3. If the Chiefs defense can stop the Eagles RPO, or if the Eagles defense can lock down the Chiefs versatile offense

What We Don't Know

  1. If Nick Sirianni will stick to his roots or be unorthodox in his first career Super Bowl appearance

  2. If Andy Reid will utilize Clyde Edwards-Helaire much, if at all, with Isaiah Pacheco's and Jerick McKinnon's recent success

  3. Who will win (obviously)

The Analytics


Season Long Matchups


Over the course of the regular season and postseason, the Eagles and Chiefs have the best records against teams with a record at or above .500, at 10-2 and 8-2 respectively. Although, on paper, the Eagles have one of the easiest strengths of schedule this season, they actually performed better against teams in this category than the Chiefs. With that being said, there are some caveats to the Eagles wins vs the Chiefs.


At the time the Eagles played each team at or above .500, the opposing teams had a combined winning percentage of 65.4%


At the time the Chiefs played each team at or above .500, the opposing teams had a combined winning percentage of 61.8%


The combined record of all other teams the Eagles and Chiefs beat were 14-32-2 (.313) and 21-57-1 (.272) respectively. In comparison, the combined record of teams they lost to were 20-19 (.513) and 11-6-1 (.639) respectively. This might be one of the tightest opposing schedule results in a Super Bowl we've ever seen.


I will note that 4 of the Eagles wins were when their opponents were shorthanded at key positions (Cooper Rush for the Cowboys, Brock leaving the game early and Josh Johnson getting hurt later, the Giants resting their starters, etc.), where the only shorthanded opponent the Chiefs played was when the Titans started Malik Willis against them. With that being said, two of the Eagles three losses were when Jalen Hurts was out.


Season Long Team Ranks


Per season long metrics, here are the following ranks for each major statistical category:

Stat

Kansas City Chiefs

Philadelphia Eagles

Offense YPG

413.6 (1st)

389.1 (3rd)

Rush YPG

115.9 (20th)

147.6 (5th)

Pass YPG

297.8 (1st)

241.5 (9th)

Points Scored Per Game

29.2 (1st)

​28.1 (3rd)

Defensive YPG

328.2 (11th)

301.5 (2nd)

Def Rush YPG

107.2 (8th)

121.6 (17th)

Def Pass YPG

​220.9 (18th)

179.8 (1st)

Points Allowed Per Game

21.7 (16th)

20.2 (8th)

Sacks

55 (2nd)

70 (1st)

Takeaways

20 (T-20th)

27 (T-4th)

Giveaways

23 (T-17th)

19 (T-5th)

Turnover Difference

-3 (T-22nd)

+8 (3rd)

The Eagles have a 6-4 advantage in all major stats from a numerical standpoint, so now let's how they fair from a more specific level:

Stats

Kansas City Chiefs

Philadelphia Eagles

​Pressure Rate

45.26%

49.20%

Pressure to Sack Rate

16.47%

20.71%

​Pressure Allowed Rate

25.49%

20.21%

Sacks From Pressure Rate*

9.18%

10.61%

Completion Rate Allowed

73.1%

66.7%

Forced Incompletions

51

66

Passer Rating Allowed

105.4

86.3

Rush Yards Before Contact

918

1,073

Rush Yards After Contact

1,051

1,435

Yards After Catch

2,850

2,083

Missed Tackles Forced

123

140

* - stat is related to how many sacks were allowed from pressures


Based on these numbers, the Eagles have a 9-2 advantage in more specific metrics - giving Philly a 15-6 total advantage in basic and advance metrics.


The last main metric we'll look at is experience. Since the Eagles are the farthest removed from the Super Bowl, they are returning only 7 active players from their 2017-2018 playoff run. Those players are Jason Kelce, Lane Johnson, Isaac Seumalo, Fletcher Cox, Brandon Graham, Jake Elliott, and Rick Lovato.


On the flip side, the Chiefs are returning 11 active players from their 2019-2020 playoff run. Those players are Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Andrew Wylie, Nick Allegretti, Chris Jones, Derrick Nnadi, Khalen Saunders, Frank Clark, Juan Thornhill, Harrison Butker, and James Winchester.


Blake Bell, Mecole Hardman and Derek Barnett played in their team's last Super Bowl wins, Hardman and Barnett both are on IR for this game, and Bell has been ruled out.


Despite a 5 man advantage, the notion the Chiefs have "been here before" or have more experience, which is true at the surface level, isn't as great as it seems since the Eagles are relatively close in that category as well. Granted, all of the Eagles skill position players are brand new to the Super Bowl.


My Prediction


With all of the main variables listed above, I'm giving Philly the edge, meaning the Philadelphia Eagles will be your Super Bowl LVII Champions.


I have a final score of 34-24, with the deciding play being a Haason Reddick strip sack and recovery for a touchdown with less than 4 minutes left in the game. This play will cement Haason Reddick as your Super Bowl MVP.

Photo: Drew Hallowell/Philadelphia Eagles

 

Final Notes:


It's been a wild year, and even if the Eagles can't pull it off, I'll be happy as I predicted the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl back in my pre-season predictions. Additionally, I want Mahomes to have as much success as he can, as he is a fantastic ballplayer and tremendous person. Hopefully we can see him win multiple times throughout his career.


Until then, sit back, relax, and enjoy the season finale for the most unpredictable season in NFL history!

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