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February 12th at 6:30 pm EST at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, the Philadelphia Eagles will play the Kansas City Chiefs for the title of Super Bowl Champions. Both of these squads were the number one seed in their respective divisions before winning their conferences to cap off 14-3 seasons. In the AFC Championship, the Chiefs beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 on a Harrison Butker field goal with seconds to go after a late hit moved the line of scrimmage to make what would have been a fifty-eight yard field goal a forty-three yarder. The refereeing was interesting in that game, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that an incredibly banged-up Patrick Mahomes was able to throw for almost 330 yards and two touchdowns to take his team to the Super Bowl. In Philadelphia, the Eagles absolutely dominated the San Francisco 49ers’ number one ranked defense in a 31-7 win. Brock Purdy was injured early, and when backup (well, fourth-stringer) QB Josh Johnson suffered a concussion, Purdy was forced to return and hand the ball off on every single down to finish out San Francisco’s season. The win came to a tad easier for the Eagles, especially after the injuries began to flow, but it doesn’t change the fact that they were able to put up thirty-one points against the best defense of the 2022 NFL season.
When the line for this game opened, Philadelphia was hovering around 1.5 point underdogs to Kansas City. The Chiefs are a definitive powerhouse when fully healthy, and Mahomes will have nearly two full weeks to rest the high ankle sprain as well as time to heal for Kadarius Toney, L’Jarius Sneed, Willie Gay, and Juju Smith-Schuster, who all suffered injuries in the AFC Championship game. While two weeks isn’t a crazy amount of time, it should be plenty for Chiefs doctors to acquire the multitude of painkillers necessary to make anyone with a sore hamstring feel like he’s stronger than a freight train. This will be a different Chiefs team than showed itself in the game against the Bengals, as a healthy Mahomes was able to combine for over 5,000 yards passing and rushing during the regular season and will be a much bigger threat outside the pocket than he was against Cincinnati, which means that on paper the Chiefs look like they may have an edge and is likely the cause of the initial line.
Early betting caused the line to move and put the Eagles as favorites in the upcoming game, but two weeks’ rest will serve the Birds just as well as the Chiefs. Jalen Hurts was injured during week fifteen, which caused him to miss two weeks and resulted in the team’s second and third losses of the season. We saw that despite the talent around him, Jalen Hurts is the heart and soul of the Philadelphia offense, and while he hasn’t looked quite as dangerous since his return, he hasn’t had to. The lack of need for him to make miracle plays wasn’t there, and with the rest there, combined with the thirteen days off before the Super Bowl, he’ll certainly be back to the brilliance he showed throughout the entirety of the season. Defensively, the Eagles were the number one defense in the league against the pass in 2022, and seeing as they faced Saquon Barkley and Christian McCaffery and limited their opponents to a combined 14 points in the playoffs, it seems that their run defense is doing pretty, pretty, pretty good, too. They’re also the best defense in the league at getting QBs pressured, which is going to be absolutely essential against a back-to-healthy Mahomes.
This is going to be an unbelievably fun Super Bowl, but it’s going to be unbelievably more fun for Eagles fans. The Birds have far fewer injury concerns and possibly the best defense possible for the type of offense the Chiefs present. The offensive line, and while the Chiefs pressure really well, they’re also coming off a game against an injured Bengals O-Line that wasn’t great, to begin with. The Birds, on the other hand, just experienced the toughest test they could have received offensively in the 49ers defense, and they demonstrated the crucial ability to adjust and score points however possible. This won’t be nearly as easy of a game for Philadelphia as their other playoff matchups, but it’s one that they’re equipped to handle. It’ll be tough for Philadelphia fans to watch Andy Reid suffer a loss… but not really. Take the Eagles with your no sweat bet and get a share of $10,000,000 when Gronk attempts the “Kick of Destiny.”
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