Posted on February 11, 2023
The biggest game of the year deserves the biggest preview of the year, so that is exactly what you are going to get from me.
I’m going to switch it up a bit by going from position group to position group on each team, getting you up to speed on who and what matters for Super Bowl LVII.
From quarterback to OL, here’s all you need to know about the offenses for the big game on Sunday.
QuarterbacksThere’s no position with a bigger spotlight on them than the quarterbacks.
Both Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts have been two of the best signal-callers in the entire league this year.
It makes sense that games such as this one come down to the most important position on the field and this Super Bowl probably won’t be any different.
Despite both quarterbacks battling injuries throughout their playoff runs, and potentially being less than 100 percent for the game, we should still expect both players’ best.
That shouldn’t be surprising for Mahomes, who is looking to cap off his MVP season with a Super Bowl ring (and becoming the first player to do that since Kurt Warner in the 2000 season).
Mahomes led the Chiefs to the Number One offense in the league this year while racking up nearly 500 more passing yards than the next-best team.
He’ll be facing some very stiff competition in the form of a very good Eagles’ defense (which we will get to later).
But as the best player in the league, Mahomes should be able to rise to the occasion and make his typical jaw-dropping plays.
The quarterback on the other sideline is maybe the more intriguing player because he’ll be playing in his first Super Bowl as opposed to Mahomes playing in his third.
Hurts had an incredible season of his own and was the leader of an outstanding offense.
Although the Eagles don’t quite match the Chiefs in yards and points, they did finish second to them in both categories, which is still pretty good.
Hurts also has the added ability to beat defenses with his legs, which is something he did extremely well this year.
He scored 13 touchdowns on the ground this season along with 760 yards, emerging as one of the best dual-threat quarterbacks in the league.
That rushing ability will be a huge factor in this game because it gives the Chiefs’ defense one more thing to worry about. Hurts will need to make Kansas City pay with his legs in order to open up the rest of the offense.
Running BacksBoth teams have superstars at quarterback but the same cannot be said for the running back position.
That doesn’t mean both teams aren’t getting superstar-level production out of the players, though.
The Eagles have obviously gotten great production out of Miles Sanders considering they racked up the fifth-most yards on the ground this season.
The young running back had a great season sharing the backfield with Hurts, rushing for 1,269 yards and really solidifying the one-two punch in the Eagles’ backfield.
But it’s not just Sanders contributing to the team’s rushing success. Both Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott have been valuable backups, especially lately, combining for 213 yards in the two playoff games.
Gainwell has been particularly productive, giving Philadelphia a capable back to spell Sanders and keep him fresh.
The Eagles will no doubt look to lean on their ground game in the Super Bowl as they have all year so this stable of running backs will be incredibly important on Sunday.
The Chiefs don’t rely nearly as much on the run game as the Eagles, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have playmakers in the backfield.
Jerrick McKinnon and rookie Isiah Pacheco have both been important players this year and that will likely continue in the Super Bowl.
Pacheco, a Seventh-Round draft pick, has emerged as a go-to lead back for the Chiefs, filling in for the injured Clyde Edwards-Helaire, who may be able to return for the Super Bowl.
Pacheco ran for 830 yards this year on 4.9 yards per carry, demonstrating his ability to be an explosive threat.
McKinnon is a great complement to Pacheco. He thrives in the passing game, although he hasn’t made much of an impact so far in the playoffs.
Both of the Chiefs’ backs will need to play a big role, especially if Mahomes’s ankle is still slowing him down.
And while the Eagles do have a great defense, they allowed the ninth-most yards per carry, meaning they can get beat on the ground.
Pass CatchersThe pass-catching groups are really where we start to see the superstars in this game. Both teams have elite-level game-breakers in this group that will surely make an impact on the game.
The Chiefs have arguably the pass-catcher in the entire league in Travis Kelce. He is undoubtedly the best tight end in the game and he is the second-most important player on the Chiefs’ offense.
Kelce was a huge reason for Kansas City’s success in the passing game this year and has continued his excellent play in the playoffs, racking up 21 catches for 176 yards and three touchdowns in the two games.
Stopping Kelce is easier said than done but that will be the Eagles’ number one priority on defense.
Whether it is doubling him or chipping him at the line, look for the Philadelphia linebackers to be keyed on the star tight end on just about every play.
That will force the other Kansas City weapons to step up, which is where things get interesting.
Marquez Valdes-Scantling is the X-factor for the Chiefs. He is coming off his best game as a Chief last round against the Bengals, which may be a sign that he and Mahomes are clicking on the same page.
Not only can Valdes-Scantling work the middle and make big catches, but he also has the ability to take the top off the defense with his speed.
He is the type of player that can break the game open with one huge play, although that may be hard to come by against a Philadelphia defense that allowed the fewest passing yards per game this year.
There are also some other receivers that could have an impact for the Chiefs. JuJu Smith-Schuster was their most productive wideout during the regular season and is still incredibly talented.
And then there are the dynamic guys such as Skyy Moore and Kadarius Toney who may not produce too much but are capable of making a big play that swings the momentum.
The Eagles also have several players that will make a difference on Sunday, most notably their elite wide receiver duo of A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith.
Brown was one of the best acquisitions of the offseason, coming over from the Titans in a draft-day trade.
He instantly opened up the Eagles’ passing offense, giving Hurts a top-tier deep threat and ball-winner, and led to them being one of the most efficient passing offenses in the league, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt.
The presence of Brown also allowed Smith to shift to a secondary wide receiver where he instantly became one of the best number-two receivers in the league.
That dup presents mismatches for any defense because very few teams have two cornerbacks good enough to guard either of them.
The Eagles also have a pretty good tight end themselves in Dallas Goedert. He isn’t nearly on Kelce’s level but he’s an integral and productive part of the offense.
He’s a very good third option for Hurts and has been a big reason why they’ve been so successful through the air.
The Eagles have a pretty good matchup against a young and inexperienced Chiefs’ secondary, so look for those three playmakers to step up. It will also make life easier on Hurts and take some of the pressure off him if they are able to beat coverage and get open.
As important as the running game is to Philadelphia, whether or not they win may come down to how well they can move the ball through the air.
The offensive line may not be where most people’s eyes are drawn to in a game, but this game is different. Both teams have outstanding offensive lines, which is part of the reason they have made it this far.
Each team has two all-pros up front, with the Eagles’ Lane Johnson and Jason Kelce being named to the first team and the Chiefs’ Joe Thuney and Creed Humphrey being named to the second team.
The Eagles, led by those two guys, have arguably the best offensive line in the entire league. Along with Johnson and Kelce, Jordan Mailata, Landon Dickerson, and Isaac Seumalo have all played extremely well this year.
Those five guys will need to have another great effort on Sunday in order to win the Super Bowl. Whether it is opening running lanes or making sure Hurts has time to throw, the play up front will be incredibly crucial.
The Chiefs don’t have the most formidable defense but they do have guys up front that can impact the game, so the Eagles’ line will have its work cut out.
The Chiefs’ offensive line, on the other hand, has an incredibly difficult task going up against the best defensive line in the league. And with a quarterback that might not be at 100 percent, it’s even more important than ever to keep him clean in the pocket.
This is the most important matchup of the entire game, so how well Thuney, Humphrey, Orlando Brown, Trey Smith, and Austin Wylie perform on Sunday may decide the game.
They’ve been good all year, giving up sacks at the second-lowest rate in the league, but they haven’t faced a challenge like they’re going to see in the Super Bowl.
If the five guys up front can hold their own and give Mahomes a clean enough pocket, that might be the reason they take home the Lombardi Trophy.
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