In order to preview this gigantic matchup, I reached out to our enemies over at Arrowhead Pride. The tasteful Tom Childs took the time to answer my questions about this upcoming battle. Let’s take a look at the answers.
[For my answers to Tom’s questions about the Eagles, stay tuned to AP. Also, be sure to check out AP previously giving us 3 reasons why the Birds will win on Sunday.]
Our friends at DraftKings Sportsbook have all of the odds for this week’s games.
1 - The question that everyone asks but no one seemingly has a good answer for: What’s the key to stopping Patrick Mahomes? Or at least limiting the damage he can do?
We all saw what was said in the offseason:
“Surely Mahomes will regress without Tyreek Hill”.
“This will be the year Mahomes is dethroned in the AFC”.
“XYZ is now better than Pat”.
Yeah, we kept the receipts.
While some of these takes were for clicks, I did think there was some logic to the thinking.
More fool us.
Instead of focusing on who wasn’t in KC, Patrick Mahomes decided to turn his attention to the receivers who were in Kansas City. Sure, the dynamism of Hill was gone but instead, he has found ways to play to the strengths of the likes of JuJu Smith-Schuster, Justin Watson and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
At times, it hasn’t been flashy. In fact, you could make the case that it has been quite — dare I say it — boring. But what it has been is incredibly effective. Mahomes led the league in just about every passing metric that matters and led the league’s number one passing offense.
When you look at how other quarterbacks reacted when they lost their number one wide receiver, you just have to hold your hands up and admit that we’ve witnessed one of the great quarterback seasons.
Quick side note: Jalen Hurts was incredible too. You’ve got a good one.
How do you stop Patrick Mahomes? If I’m not so sure you can entirely, but I am looking forward to seeing what the number one passing defense in the NFL has in store for him.
You did say that no one has a good answer to this question.
2 - The Chiefs have been wildly successful under Andy Reid. But what is the discourse like if KC loses this game and Andy/Mahomes only have one Super Bowl title to show for five straight AFC Championship Game appearances?
Someone’s opinion on LeBron James’ finals record will probably be a good indicator of how someone will view the Chiefs’ record in the Super Bowl should they lose on Sunday.
There’s one point of view where you see the win-loss record and instantly believe that this person chokes when it matters most.
Then there is the point of view where you acknowledge how incredibly difficult to get your team to the finals — or in this case — the Super Bowl in the first place.
Will I be gutted if the Chiefs lose? Sure, I want the Chiefs to win the Super Bowl every year. But KC fans can’t lose perspective. They’re facing one hell of a team in the Super Bowl after coming through what was a gauntlet of a regular season and AFC Championship.
Falling at the final hurdle will hurt, but based on what we’ve seen in the previous 5 seasons, there will be plenty of opportunities for redemption.
3 - To what extent — if at all — do Chiefs fans have a soft spot for the Eagles given the Andy and Kelce brothers connections?
Honestly, this week has been the best. No trash talk, no drama, no nonsense. And I think it starts with the relationship of the Kelce Brothers.
At this point, who doesn’t listen to the ‘New Height Podcast’? It’s so good and unbelievably refreshing that siblings who happen to be athletic, rich and famous still have relationships like I do with my brothers. Never have I felt so aligned with any athlete.
In fact, I actually met the Kelce family (including Jason) in 2015 when the Chiefs played Lions in London. The family made it to a party we had the night before. What I saw that night is a mirror of what we’ve seen this week. They’re incredibly genuine.
The joint admiration for the Kelces and of course Andy Reid has filtered down into the fanbases. I think both sets of fanbases know that these are the two best teams in the NFL and whoever comes out on top will be a worthy winner.
4 - Which players on the Chiefs’ roster do you think would start for the Eagles? Patrick Mahomes at QB, Chris Jones at DT, and Travis Kelce at TE are givens ... who else?
Wow, guys. Now you’re turning up the heat with a question like that.
I’m not going to sit here and pretend that I know the Eagles players anywhere near the level that you and your readers do. I would just be flat-out lying.
But what I do know very well are their Chiefs’ counterparts. The names that immediately jump out to me who could start for any team, not just the Eagles are L’Jarius Sneed, Joe Thuney, Trey Smith, Nick Bolton and Tommy Townsend.
I know that isn’t a huge list but these are the players that I would consider the Chiefs have that are near the top of their position.
An observation I have made about the difference between the Chiefs and the Eagles is that the Chiefs possess more nine and ten out of ten players, but pretty much all of the Eagles’ roster is a solid seven or eight out of ten with the odd nine sprinkled in. There just aren’t any weak links. Roster building like that paired with excellent coaching is a terrifying combination to go up against.
5 - What is the best matchup in the Chiefs’ favor in this game?
I don’t think this is necessarily the best matchup for the Chiefs — far from it — but I am really intrigued by how the Chiefs’ young corners match up against the two studs the Eagles have at receiver. When L’Jarius Sneed left the game early against the Bengals, I feared the worst. I had visions of Ja’Marr Chase and Tee Higgins tearing apart a cornerback group full of rookies. Luckily, it never materialized that way and our bunch of rookies more than held their own. Fluke, talent or gameplan? I didn’t really care.
Now, I’m not suggesting for one second that I think the Chiefs will be able to lock up DeVonta Smith and the freak that is AJ Brown — but if they do keep them quieter than normal then the Chiefs will be hoisting the Lombardi on Sunday.
6 - What is the most concerning matchup for the Chiefs in this game?
No apologies here for taking the lay-up but it’s definitely Hassan Reddick vs Andrew Wylie.
If there has been a weak link in the Chiefs’ offense this season, it has been the play of the offensive tackles. You guys will know more than most that Andy Reid loves to leave his tackles on an island. Unfortunately for him, Andrew Wylie has been found wanting on several occasions, giving up nine sacks this season.
We’ve already seen Patrick Mahomes run for his life over and over again in one Super Bowl. I’m praying to the football gods that history won’t repeat itself on Sunday.
7 - Who wins this game and why? With DraftKings Sportsbook listing the Eagles as 1.5-point favorites, what’s your score prediction?
I’ll have you guys know that I actually had this Super Bowl as my preseason prediction so I’ll give myself a quick pat on the back. I even backed it and stand to make a very decent amount of money should the Chiefs beat Philly.
That’s enough about me.
I mentioned Super Bowl 55 in the last answer and how Mahomes was essentially running for his life all game. What gets lost when talking about that game was how good Mahomes actually was. He was let down massively by his playmakers and offensive line that game. There is even a case to make the Chiefs were underprepared and poorly coached. The whole event was a mess from start to finish.
I can’t imagine for one second that the Chiefs will put in a similar performance this time around. I know that number-one offenses don’t tend to have too much success against number-one passing defenses, but this just feels like the Chiefs are ready to make that next step towards building their dynasty.
The reason for using homerism to answer this question is that I truly see this game as a coin flip. Whoever settles in early will win.
With that being said, I’m going with the guys that have been there before. I know some of the Eagles team were around in 2017/18, but a number of the Chiefs roster and coaching staff have now seen both ends of the Super Bowl result. They’ve made mistakes in the past in this game before. They’ll make up for them on Sunday.
Chiefs 31, Eagles 24
Regardless of who wins, I think we’ve found a new inter-franchise bromance.