Each week, Coach Kevin Kelley will give a coach’s perspective and provide analysis for a few games against the spread throughout the 2022 NFL season.
I am super sad that the NFL season is ending but I am super happy that I think the best two teams are playing for the championship. The Eagles had an awesome year, had to play without Jalen Hurts for a couple of games, and had learn to find different ways to be successful on offense during that time. The Chiefs had doubters after they lost Tyreek Hill to the Dolphins, including this one. Patrick Mahomes answered with arguably his best season and it meant more balls for Travis Kelce.
This column is Coach’s Picks so I am going to look at this solely as a coach and NOT a guy that also likes the numbers involved in the game. There are a lot of numbers that point different ways and if you are a fan of Sharp Football Analysis and Warren, you have seen them all over social media and heard him talk about them.
You have heard things like the Eagles’ pass defense is the best in the league except when you look at passes thrown underneath 10 yards or within 2.6 seconds of the ball being snapped. Then they drop to the bottom third in the league. You have seen that the Eagles had more air yard completions over 20 yards than anyone else and you have seen that the Chiefs have the best third-and-long offense in the league.
There are so many nuggets that have been highlighted by Warren and many other people that it is almost information overload. The Eagles have the best first half record in the NFL. They have a chance to score a defensive touchdown because of the pressure they put on the quarterback and because they have a ball-hawking secondary and no team that has scored a defensive touchdown has ever lost the super bowl.
But let’s look at the football itself. The Chiefs, in my opinion, have the best quarterback in this game, best tight end, and best coaching staff overall. The Eagles have the best everything else. The Eagles’ running back stable, their defensive line, their linebackers, their defensive backs, their receivers, and their offensive line, all better. And Jalen Hurts runs his offense extremely well. A.J. Brown is the only receiver in this game that can simply overpower a defender. I will say the kickers aren’t much different for whatever that is worth.
But I am a coach and I know that coaching makes a huge difference and play calling is the great equalizer. The Chiefs have that and Andy Reid has been phenomenal in his career off a bye week and the Super Bowl had one.
But here is how I see it. Mahomes is awesome, there is no doubt about it. But he is good for a couple of bad decisions and errant throws if for no other reason than he loves to try too much at times. His offensive line is way better than it has been over the last couple of years and he is throwing the ball sooner. But that Eagles’ defensive line will cause him some problems and will hit him.
And I stand by one thing that I have always said, every quarterback gets worse when he gets hit early in games. I believe the Eagles will do that to Mahomes. Their running game could be a help in neutralizing but they simply won’t do it enough to make that difference. The Eagles defense has got to be smart enough to not fear getting beat deep so much that they just let the underneath stay open and kill them.
On the other side, the Chiefs defense is not scaring the Eagles or me. The unique running game of the Eagles is difficult for anyone to defend, especially teams with non-dominant defensive lines. Chris Jones is a man for sure, but it ends there. The linebackers don’t scare anyone either. Miles Sanders could have a huge day as could Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell on the ground, depending simply on how much they want to sub in for Sanders.
If the Chiefs try to crowd the box, DeVonta Smith, Dallas Goedert, and A.J. Brown can sure make them pay. They have to pick their poison when they are on defense. I have been impressed at times with Philadelphia coaching decisions with their aggression. They need to continue that and I think they will.
The real coaching view on this is that the Eagles are built to be the team to beat Kansas City. They can run the ball and keep Mahomes off the field. They can play pass defense and rush the passer which is absolutely key if you want to stop the Chiefs. And if they need to do so, they can score at a high rate as they led the NFL in points per drive (sorry, I had to throw in that number). And if they get behind, they have the potential to come back because of that receiving corp and the fact that Hurts ended the year more accurate than Mahomes believe it or not. I see more avenues for Philadelphia to win than I do Kansas City. Give me the Eagles currently -1.
I have several prop bets to consider as well this week and I will try to keep it to one sentence each to explain why.
- My favorite is Isiah Pacheco UNDER 12.5 yards rushing first quarter. Clyde Edwards-Helaire is back and he may take carries away. We don’t know who wins the coin toss so the Chiefs may only get a single possession on top of that.
- A.J. Brown over 69.5 yards receiving. Due for a breakout and this defense is perfect for that.
- Patrick Mahomes anytime touchdown +450. The Eagles allow more yards per contact against quarterbacks than anyone and I think Mahomes wants one this week anyway.
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire anytime touchdown +600. If he gets to play, they will run him on the goal line.
- Skyy Moore longest single rushing attempt in the game. I don’t expect a bunch of long runs and he will run a jet sweep or reverse and it is worth the +3000.
- Boston Scott anytime touchdown +460. He has scored a touchdown in both playoff games and the plus 460 makes it worth a shot.
- First kickoff in the endzone, yes +170. In the Super Bowl, I would not take a chance on letting good field position happen on it.
- Kenneth Gainwell UNDER 11.5 yards receiving.
- Marquez Valdes-Scantling UNDER 36.5 yards receiving. Too many others and the Eagles pass defense good.
HAPPY SUPER BOWL DAY!