Super Bowl 2023: Five early bold predictions for Chiefs vs. Eagles, including a surprise MVP candidate
Five early bold predictions for Super Bowl LVII
Our Super Bowl LVII matchup is officially set, as the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will face off on Feb. 12 with NFL glory on the line. Both of these teams have separated themselves as the best in the league, and there are plenty of interesting subplots that come with this matchup.
This will be the first Super Bowl where two brothers will face each other, with Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce and Eagles center Jason Kelce. This is also the first Super Bowl matchup that features two Black starting quarterbacks. Andy Reid will become the fifth head coach to coach against his former team in the Super Bowl, which hasn’t happened since 2014.
What will this matchup come down to? Will the season end with more Patrick Mahomes heroics, or will the Eagles’ rushing attack rule the day? Below, we will break down five early bold predictions for Super Bowl LVII.
Mahomes sacked a postseason-high five times
The Eagles and Chiefs ranked 1-2 in sacks during the regular season, with Philly recording 70 quarterback takedowns, and Kansas City registering 55. This is the third Super Bowl matchup between the top two teams in sacks, and the first Super Bowl matchup between teams that recorded at least 55 sacks during the regular season. Our bold prediction is that Mahomes is sacked five times — which would be a career postseason high for him.
Mahomes has been sacked five times just once, back in 2018 against the Arizona Cardinals. In his first Super Bowl appearance against the San Francisco 49ers, Mahomes was sacked four times. Against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV — where he had a banged-up offensive line — Mahomes was sacked three times.
Teams have taken different approaches to defending Mahomes. Some have attempted to blitz him, while others sit back with two high safeties. Mahomes has had success against both. Either way, the Eagles were No. 1 in pass-rush grade this season, per PFF. Philadelphia will rely on its strengths in the biggest game of the year.
Travis Kelce throws a touchdown
The Chiefs star tight end was certainly on one after the AFC Championship win over the Cincinnati Bengals. “Burrowhead, my ass!” Our prediction is that Kelce will throw a touchdown to Kadarius Toney in the red zone — a little “special” against Philly, if you will. Kelce is a versatile red zone threat that can both find the gaps in zone coverage or take a shovel pass right up the middle for the score. Expect something creative from Coach Reid in the red zone in Super Bowl LVII.
Kelce has attempted just one career pass in the playoffs. That attempt went for a 2-yard touchdown against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Jalen Hurts sets Super Bowl record
This may be our least bold take, because Hurts seems poised to break one Super Bowl record in particular. The great Steve McNair owns the Super Bowl record for most rushing yards by a quarterback, as he rushed for 64 yards in Super Bowl XXXIV. Hurts hasn’t hit 64 rushing yards since Week 14, but we say he gets to 65 rushing yards in Super Bowl LVII.
Hurts averaged 50.7 rushing yards per game this season, which was just a tad under the 52.3 rushing yards he averaged in 2021. His 760 rushing yards in the regular season rank second-most among quarterbacks to reach the Super Bowl behind Russell Wilson in 2014.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson makes case for Super Bowl MVP
The versatile defensive back is going to play a large role in the Super Bowl. Ceedy Duce should have a hand in helping to defend Kelce in the passing game, and also as a blitzer. The former Saint has recorded just four career sacks, but he’s the kind of player who forces turnovers one way or another. We saw that against the New York Giants in the divisional round, as his pressure on Daniel Jones forced the quarterback to throw an interception to James Bradberry. In the Super Bowl, Gardner-Johnson will record 1.5 sacks and an interception that will put him in the conversation for Super Bowl MVP.
The Under hits despite the game going to overtime
The Chiefs led the AFC in points scored per game this season with 29.2, while the Eagles led the NFC in points scored per game with 28.1. This is the seventh Super Bowl matchup between the top scoring offenses from each conference. Interestingly enough, both teams scored exactly 546 points this year, including playoffs. Our bold prediction is that the Chiefs and Eagles will score the same amount of points in regulation on Feb. 12, forcing the game to overtime.
This will be the second Super Bowl to go to overtime — the first, of course, being Super Bowl LI, which featured the Atlanta Falcons blowing a 28-3 lead. While Philly and Kansas City will have extra time to score more points, it won’t help those holding tickets for the Over. The Under will hit in this game, with the final score being 23-20, Eagles.