We’re nearing territory where we’ve come close to analyzing the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs from every possible angle. We most certainly aren’t done. There’s plenty left in the tank, but trust us on this one. By the time we all settle in for the game and Super Bowl LVII kicks off, you’re going to feel like your brain is on overload. What else would we expect though? This is the biggest game in all of the professional sports.
Think about this for a second. Though Super Bowl Sunday isn’t technically a holiday, there isn’t another day or night in our great country that exceed Thanksgiving and the night of the biggest game in football as a time when more people convene to spend time with one another.
With two of the more storied and most popular franchises descending on Glendale, two things are certain. Citizens of the great state of Arizona had better beware, and there is plenty that we have to talk about from now until game day.
Here are a handful of Eagles versus Chiefs storylines to watch during Super Bowl LVII.
Inside The Iggles is fortunate to cover the Philadelphia Eagles on a day-by-day basis. We love a great story. We love telling stories. Here are five subplots surrounding February 12th’s game.
Two starting African-American quarterbacks duel in the Super Bowl for the first time.
This one’s a big deal, so much so that, by the time the game kicks off, this will be mentioned 200 times, and Jalen Hurts/Patrick Mahomes will have been asked their feelings on this 200 more. That’s okay though. These are two special young men who are enjoying a special moment together.
Much like Warren Moon and Randall Cunningham inspired the likes of Michael Vick and Steve McNair among others, it’s guys like Jalen, Patrick, and Lamar who are inspiring another generation. It’s hard to find three better role models who are professional athletes.
This game will be won in the trenches.
It’s an old theory. It’s a sometimes overused and overmentioned theory, but 99 times out of 100, it’s an accurate one.
NFL games are more often than not won in the trenches. Super Bowl LVII will be no different. The defensive line that pressures the opposing quarterback more often will put their team in a position to have the most success.
The offensive line that creates more running lanes will place its team in a position to have the most success. The team that protects its quarterback better will have the most success. Football is ever-evolving, but some things will never change.
Attention Eagles fans: Once and for all, blitzing doesn’t guarantee wins.
It took some longer than the rest of us to arrive here, but hopefully, by now, everyone has abandoned the ‘Jonathan Gannon sucks and needs to blitz more often’ theory.
Here’s a list of the ten teams that blitzed most often during the 2022-2023 NFL season and the percentage of plays that they sent the blitz on passing downs:
- New York Giants 39.7%
- Arizona Cardinals 34.5%
- Miami Dolphins 33.3%
- Denver Broncos 32.9%
- Green Bay Packers 35.5%
- Pittsburgh Steelers 31.5%
- Detroit Lions 31.2%
- Los Angeles Chargers 31.1%
- Carolina Panthers 29.2%
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers 28.3%
If you’re keeping score, only four of those teams made the playoffs, and only five of those teams had winning records. Three of the five teams with winning records only won nine games.
None of the teams on this list were in the AFC or NFC Championship Game. Three of the teams that qualified for the playoffs were eliminated on Wild Card Weekend (Miami Dolphins, Los Angeles Chargers, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
The Eagles, meanwhile, led the league in sacks (70). The team that finished second had 15 fewer, but it’s the same team that they’re playing on Super Bowl Sunday. We’ve said all of that to say this.
Sending additional players to blitz Patrick Mahomes is a recipe for disaster.
If you want to make Patrick Mahomes‘ life miserable on game day, it’s best to do so by trying to create pressure with the defensive front. Even on a bad leg, he’s too good to attack with the blitz.
Getting to Mahomes isn’t impossible. The Jacksonville Jaguars failed to register a sack during the Divisional Round, but in the AFC Championship Game, he took three sacks and was pressured on 34.8% of his dropbacks.
Unfortunately for the Cincinnati Bengals, it didn’t matter much, and he mostly deemed their blitz ineffective, Versus said blitz, he completed eight of 11 passes. That resulted in a touchdown pass and a 140.3 quarterback rating.
During the regular season, he crafted a 113.1 rating versus the blitz (that’s fifth overall) and an NFL-best 16 TDs versus the blitz. You do the math. It would be wise not to overcompensate here.
The Eagles have a distinct advantage on the right side of the Chiefs’ offensive line.
There will be heavyweight battles all over the place when the Chiefs’ offensive line is on the field and battling the Eagles’ defensive line. Joe Thuney versus Javon Hargrave is must-see television. That will be just as intriguing as watching where the ball is going.
Kansas City is also home to Pro Football Focus’ second-ranked center. Many see him as the best in the game behind Jason Kelce. Here’s where the Birds do have an advantage,