(Matt Rourke, Matt Slocum, Reed Hoffmann, David Zalubowski, Jeff Roberson / Associated Press)
Los Angeles Times NFL author Sam Farmer breaks down the matchups between the AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs and the NFC champion Philadelphia Eagles for Super Bowl LVII, which will likely be performed Sunday in Arizona (3:30 p.m. PST, Fox):
Chiefs run offense vs. Eagles run protection
Kansas City Chiefs working again Isiah Pacheco runs in the course of the AFC championship towards the Cincinnati Bengals. (Reed Hoffmann / Associated Press)
Isiah Pacheco has made a distinction in Kansas City’s working recreation. Jerick McKinnon is a strong all-around again and keen move blocker. A wholesome Patrick Mahomes is a giant a part of the working recreation, however he is hampered by that unhealthy ankle. He did run when he wanted to towards the Bengals, together with the pivotal scramble when he was hit out of bounds. The Eagles struggled towards the run early within the season however responded by including defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph, which helped plug the holes. Philadelphia does not have a stone-wall run protection however does not actually get run over. Middle linebacker T.J. Edwards does a great job. If you are going to run on the Eagles, it is best to run across the edges. EDGE: CHIEFS
Chiefs move offense vs. Eagles move protection
The addition of versatile security C.J. Gardner-Johnson, who additionally performs within the slot, has helped enhance the Eagles secondary dramatically this season. (Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
If you are itemizing probably the most harmful red-zone threats in NFL historical past, Travis Kelce must be within the dialog. Marquez Valdes-Scantling is not a high-volume man who’s going to catch a bunch of passes, however he can reel within the large one. By the tip of the Bengals recreation, the Chiefs have been with out 4 of their prime six receivers. Most are more likely to return, though it is tough to think about Mecole Hardman (hip) will likely be wholesome sufficient to make an affect. The Eagles have a superb move protection, which they did not have final time they have been within the Super Bowl. James Bradberry and Darius Slay are each Pro Bowl corners. Nickel nook Avonte Maddox is nice when wholesome, though he has been battling a late-season toe harm. Philadelphia performs a variety of zone so it provides up some completions beneath. Safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson missed 5 video games with a lacerated kidney however nonetheless completed tied for the league lead with six interceptions. The Eagles additionally racked up a franchise-record 70 sacks, so opposing quarterbacks are likely to rush their throws. EDGE: EAGLES
Chiefs run protection vs. Eagles run offense
Eagles offensive deal with Lane Johnson (65) leads working again Miles Sanders (26) towards the 49ers. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)
Philadelphia has the perfect offensive line within the league and that paves the way in which for a superb floor recreation. Not many groups run on San Francisco, however the Eagles did. The tight ends block nicely too. Running again Miles Sanders had a profession 12 months, and understudy Kenny Gainwell has rounded right into a dependable again who performs nicely in large video games. Boston Scott is a type of do-everything backs who will not blow you away however can get the mandatory yards. Quarterback Jalen Hurts is a giant a part of the run offense, too, though the Eagles have dialed that again since his shoulder harm. He’s so robust and quick. He’s not fairly Lamar Jackson-fast, however he is shut. The Chiefs have not been terribly in line with their run protection, though they rating a lot that opponents are normally throwing to maintain up. Chris Jones is an element within the run protection. Nick Bolton is an effective tackler, and fellow linebacker Willie Gay is intermittently good towards the run. The bodily corners are too, as that is a requirement in a Steve Spagnuolo protection. EDGE: EAGLES
Chiefs move protection vs. Eagles move offense
The Eagles’ DeVonta Smith (6) celebrates his landing catch with A.J. Brown. (Rich Schultz / Associated Press)
High marks for the Philadelphia move offense this season, though it hasn’t been pretty much as good since Hurts suffered a shoulder harm. Hurts missed some throws towards San Francisco, together with A.J. Brown deep. The two weeks of relaxation ought to assist. With Brown, DeVonta Smith and tight finish Dallas Goedert, the Eagles have a receiving trio that is pretty much as good or higher than any within the NFL. Quez Watkins has nice pace, however he tends to get pushed round on the line of scrimmage and he is been much less of an element currently. The Chiefs have been second within the league in sacks to Philadelphia, to allow them to get after the passer. Jones is having an unbelievable season. Typically, he performs inside, however he can line up on the sting too. Three of Kansas City’s prime 4 corners are rookies, and the veteran in that group, nook L’Jarius Sneed, left within the first quarter of the Cincinnati recreation with a concussion. Those rookies held up nicely towards Joe Burrow. Sneed’s a great blitzer, and he tends to journey with the opponent’s finest receiver, so Kansas City needs him again. EDGE: EAGLES
Philadelphia Eagles kicker Jake Elliott (4) kicks a discipline objective from the maintain of Arryn Siposs. Elliott has by no means missed a discipline objective within the postseason, having made all 13 makes an attempt over 9 profession video games. (AJ Mast / Associated Press)
Other than kicker Jake Elliott, particular groups have been a weak spot for the Eagles all season. They made errors that actually would have mattered had they not been so dominant in any other case — two faux punts transformed towards them, blocked kicks, lengthy runbacks, dumb penalties… That appears to have improved of late, besides a depressing efficiency within the NFC championship recreation by new punter Brett Kern. The Eagles could possibly be getting Arryn Siposs again, nevertheless. His apply window was opened on injured reserve and the punter is eligible to be activated for the Super Bowl if wholesome. He has been sidelined since struggling an ankle harm towards the New York Giants on Dec. 11. The Chiefs performed nicely towards Cincinnati, however their particular groups have been fairly blah many of the season. The usually dependable Harrison Butker suffered a high-ankle sprain within the season opener and has struggled since, lacking six discipline objectives and three further factors. But he is been higher currently and kicked the winner towards Cincinnati. Punter Tommy Townsend has had a great season. EDGE: EAGLES
This would be the fourth Super Bowl for Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid, who’s 1-1 with the Chiefs and 0-1 with the Eagles. (Associated Press)
Nick Sirianni has a younger, energetic workers that relates nicely to the gamers. He’s playful and mugs for the cameras, one thing you did not see with earlier coaches equivalent to Reid, Chip Kelly or Doug Pederson. The demonstrative Sirianni’s nearly like a participant. Both Eagles coordinators, Shane Steichen (offensive) and Jonathan Gannon (defensive), have been candidates for head teaching jobs. Andy Reid is terrific coming off a bye week and may be capable to draw up an efficient recreation plan, particularly in mild of Mahomes’ harm. But seasoned as he’s, Reid is 1-2 in Super Bowls, all three of which concerned Tom Brady. He is 1-1 with Kansas City and 0-1 with Philadelphia. EDGE: CHIEFS
Three Chiefs it’s best to know
FRANK CLARK, defensive finish: There’s been a lot consideration given to Jones that folks are likely to overlook Clark, who’s third on the all-time listing of postseason sacks with 13½. He’s near tying Bruce Smith for second place.
JAYLEN WATSON, cornerback: He’s a rookie seventh-round choose who has provide you with some large interceptions, one in every of the playoff video games and a 99-yard pick-6 towards the Chargers early within the season.
JERICK McKINNON, working again: He’s an skilled again with good arms out of the backfield and a succesful blocker. The Chiefs are going to wish that towards a Philadelphia crew that had 70 sacks this season — and with a compromised Mahomes.
Three Chiefs who should come by
The Chiefs’ Chris Jones closes on Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow in the course of the AFC championship recreation. (Eric Gay / Associated Press)
CHRIS JONES, defensive deal with: It’s laborious to see the Chiefs successful and not using a large recreation from Jones. He had a career-high 15½ sacks this season together with 4 move deflections, two pressured fumbles and 17 tackles for loss.
ISIAH PACHECO, working again: He’s acquired a bodily type the Chiefs do not have of their different backs. He’s not an ideal receiver and so they do not put a variety of belief in him as a move blocker, however he runs laborious between the tackles.
Harrison Butker, kicker: The Chiefs have been bleeding factors this season, lacking discipline objectives and further factors. Butker has been lots dependable in years previous, however was much less so this 12 months. He’s been higher currently, although, and must maintain that up.
Three Eagles it’s best to know
Haason Reddick had 16 sacks and T.J. Edwards (57) 159 tackles to guide the Eagles this season. (Rich Schultz / Associated Press)
T.J. EDWARDS, linebacker: He’s an vital a part of the protection. He’s OK however not nice in protection however he is actually good at stopping the run and directing the protection. After taking part in 64% of the snaps final season, he has been on the sector for just about each defensive snap this season.
KENNY GAINWELL, working again: A change-of-pace again who hits the opening actually quick. He has change into an element within the playoffs, with 12 carries (for 112 yards) towards the New York Giants and 14 carries towards the 49ers. The Eagles are going to have an issue conserving Miles Sanders this offseason, and Gainwell seems to be to be his alternative.
AVONTE MADDOX, cornerback: The Eagles have to do one thing to neutralize Chiefs tight finish Travis Kelce and, because the slot nook, Maddox figures to play a job. He’s a small however aggressive and heady participant though he has battled a toe harm suffered late within the season.
Three Eagles who should come by
Philadelphia Eagles extensive receiver A.J. Brown celebrated 11 landing catches this season and a crew report 1,496 yards receiving. (Chris Szagola / Associated Press)
A.J. BROWN, extensive receiver: Brown actually modified the offense this season. He’s been coping with a bum ankle and hasn’t checked out his finest currently. The Eagles want him to have a giant day, perhaps not 100 yards however greater than the 28 he had towards the 49ers.
HAASON REDDICK, linebacker: Reddick was phenomenal within the NFC title recreation, with a pressured fumble, fumble restoration and two sacks. He will likely be key, particularly with Patrick Mahomes slowed by a high-ankle sprain. He has to get the Chiefs quarterback off his spot and make him uncomfortable.
LANE JOHNSON, proper deal with: When wholesome, Johnson is the perfect proper deal with in soccer. He’s coping with a extreme groin harm that requires surgical procedure however after just a few weeks of relaxation got here again to play by ache in two playoff video games. Kansas City has a superb defensive entrance, so the Eagles want Johnson to hold on for yet another recreation.
Mahomes is the large wild card, however that ankle harm is an issue, particularly towards an Eagles protection that set a franchise sack report this season. That Philadelphia secondary is smothering, too. It’s at all times scary selecting towards Kansas City, however the Eagles are the extra full crew and have extra methods to maneuver the ball. That provides them the sting.
EAGLES 28, CHIEFS 23
This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.