This price has come down, so I'm adding a money-line play in addition to my ATS pick. Last year in the Super Bowl, we saw the winner fail to cover; it could happen again though the spread is much tighter. The Chiefs have not faced any of the Top-10 rushing offenses this season. Philly's ground attack will be a shock to their system. And over the course of four quarters, the Eagles' superiority on both lines of scrimmage will be telling.
Maybe Andy Reid has one trick play lined up where Fortson gets a red zone pass, but otherwise it's tough to see the third-string TE even getting a target -- if he takes the field. Fortson was activated off IR before the AFC title game but didn't see the field as far as I can tell (no targets anyway).
There's little doubt that the two best teams in the NFL are left standing for Super Bowl 57, and thus a solid case can be made for either side of this air-tight line. But the deciding factor is that the Chiefs have the best player on the field and more players with big-game experience. The Eagles are solid top to bottom and should be in contention for years to come, but if feels like they are about one year ahead of schedule for hitting their peak. Chiefs win a tight one.
Classic head vs. gut play in a Super Bowl with two No. 1 seeds starting MVP-caliber quarterbacks and talented rosters. The head says the Eagles, which rolled through the NFC, enter with one of the NFL's top defenses and have historic ATS stats in their favor. The gut says the Chiefs, which are far more experienced, get the uber-successful Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes coming off extra preparation and would have been favorites if not dealing with injuries. (The report is clear.) Philadelphia has luckily not been forced to rely on Jalen Hurts' injured shoulder yet while rolling through weakened opponents. Kansas City has succeeded despite Mahomes' high-ankle sprain, which should be quite fine with two additional weeks of rest, while outdueling Josh Allen and Joe Burrow. Despite so many tickets on Philly, the line has not budged. There are three picks in this write-up: Chiefs +1.5, Eagles 1H and the double result.
The SL Model has Hurts finishing with just 211 and we know that the Eagles are just fine if they don't throw the ball a ton because that means the run game is working. Hurts has topped this only twice in his past nine.
If there's a weakness on the Philly defense, it's against the run so we'd have to think barring injury Pacheco should get around 12 carries, and he averages nearly 5 yards per carry so ... the SL Model has him with 11 carries for 58 yards.
McKinnon has not been an effective rusher lately, gaining just 43 yards on 24 carries in his last five games. He needed 11 carries to get to 25 yards against the Jaguars, and I can't see him getting that volume again in this matchup with his rushing attempt prop at 5.5. I'll bank on something like four carries for 12 yards from McKinnon as he does much more damage in the passing game.
Mahomes showed capable of getting to 300 yards against the Bengals while his receivers dropped like flies, so he's certainly someone you can never count out. But I think this number has gotten a bit inflated against the defense with the fewest passing yards allowed and lowest net yards per pass attempt mark in the regular season. With the Eagles secondary healthy, I can't see Mahomes getting this close to 300 yards.
It feels pretty gross to pick against Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes as underdogs with two weeks to prepare, but a little less so when you consider that the last time the Chiefs were in the Super Bowl they had the same coach/QB combo and lost by 22. The reason for that? The Bucs put a ton of pressure on Mahomes, as K.C. was missing both starting tackles in Super Bowl 55. Enter the Eagles defense, which had the ninth-highest sack rate (11.5%) in NFL history, and finished just two sacks shy of the most sacks by a team in NFL history. Mahomes is obviously a great player, but the Eagles have the clear advantage in the trenches on both sides of the ball, and they're also healthier than the Chiefs. I made Philadelphia my Super Bowl futures best bet at 28-1 back in September, and now is no time to get off the bandwagon. Lay the point and a half.
McKinnon has been somewhat of an afterthought in Kansas City's offense during the playoffs. The versatile RB has also taken a back seat to explosive rookie Isaiah Pacheco. That being said, I think this is an excellent buy low opportunity for McKinnon and we are getting a significant discount on his receiving prop. McKinnon was arguably the Chiefs second most reliable pass catcher over the second half of the regular season. He scored nine touchdowns while averaging roughly 70 scrimmage yards per game over the Chiefs final six regular season games. The Eagles struggled with pass catching RBs this season and it wouldn't surprise me to see McKinnon to have a more featured role in the big game.
The main variable as to why I think the Eagles win and cover in the Super Bowl is their strong run game and amazing pass rush. It’s the top pass attack in the NFL against the team with the most sacks. That pass rush wrecked the 49ers from the outset two weeks ago. The Eagles basically ran a vanilla offense in both playoff games, with the run carrying them. That run game and the offensive line carry the Eagles, and the defense gives them a few short-field opportunities, as well. Eagles to win and cover.
The Eagles are so top-heavy with talent that QB Jalen Hurts might not rank among their main few strengths -- and he was runner-up in the MVP voting. Leading off is surely the pass rush. While Chiefs QB Pat Mahomes' ailing ankle is on the mend, he could not hand-pick a worse defense to confront. Philly's pressure rate is second to none, partly because of enviable depth. On offense, its gifted trio of WRs could expose the inexperience of K.C.'s rookie-laden secondary. The cornerstone, though, is a ground game whose effectiveness is illustrated in one stat: 20 consecutive wins when leading after three quarters. While the Chiefs might get the checkmark on coaching with Andy Reid, ya gotta love Nick Sirianni's boldness. The Eagles converted on all but six of 27 fourth-down attempts, highest in the league. Such assertiveness often pays off in the Super Bowl, and it should here.
Everything sure seems to say fade Kansas City. No regular-season passing yardage champion (Patrick Mahomes) has won the Super Bowl. Mahomes faces the Eagles' No. 1 pass defense. There have been two previous instances of the passing yards leader and the top passing defense meeting in a Super Bowl, each won by the team with the top-ranked pass defense. This will be the seventh SB matchup of a first-team (Mahomes) and second-team All-Pro QB (Jalen Hurts). The second-team QB won the previous six. No regular-season MVP (Mahomes) has won a Super Bowl this century. Kansas City is 8-11 ATS and is the seventh team to enter the Super Bowl with a losing ATS mark. The past five lost outright. Yeah, the white jersey trend favors Kansas City but I'll take my chances there.
Kenneth Gainwell is the best receiver among Philly's running backs, and the Chiefs give up the second-most receiving yards to opposing running backs. Gainwell caught two passes for 26 yards in the NFC title game, giving him at least two grabs in four of the past six games. In this particular matchup, I love Gainwell to record at least 12 receiving yards.
Pacheco was busy in the AFC Championship, catching five of six targets for 59 yards. It was a rare occurrence for him, given that he had a total of three receptions for 24 yards over his previous three games. However, I expect him to remain more involved in the passing game based on this matchup. The Eagles have two excellent cornerbacks in Darius Slay and James Bradberry, which should make for a rough matchup for the wide receivers on the Chiefs. Someone else is going to have to step up and take some of the pressure off tight end Travis Kelce, so look for Pacheco to receive enough targets to reach this over.
Smith-Schuster has seen his role dwindle as the season has moved along. He caught just one pass in the AFC Championship against the Bengals, although he was limited by a knee injury. The more concerning stat is that he has gone four straight games with three or fewer targets. The Eagles have a stellar cornerback duo in Darius Slay and James Bradberry, which should make things even more difficult for Smith-Schuster.
Goedert has exactly five receptions in both playoff games so far. What’s so encouraging about that is that he did so with the Eagles not needing to throw much late in either game because of the lopsided scores. This should be a much closer battle with the potential for plenty of points on both sides. Expect Goedert to receive enough targets to hit the Over.
This is heavy juice but it's worth it given Quez Watkins' diminished role in the offense. He has one target and no catches in two playoff games. With Dallas Goedert on the field, Watkins has barely been a factor. He's also losing snaps to Zach Pascal, a better blocker. The Eagles might take a deep shot to Watkins due to his blazing speed, but I'll bank on him finishing below two receptions.
The Chiefs played the ninth toughest schedule, while the Eagles played the 29th hardest. Philadelphia steps up in class after beating the overrated Giants and the 49ers, who had to use their fourth-string QB and Brock Purdy who physically couldn't throw the ball. Eagles QB Jalen Hurts' yards per attempt has been declining in his past four games (8.0, 6.0, 5.9 and 4.0). Kansas City's offensive line is ranked No. 5 in sack rate (4.8%) this season, while Philadelphia's is No. 19 (7.7%). I expect the Chiefs to play a lot of up-tempo, which should negate the Eagles' pass rush. I can't pass up Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes with two weeks to prepare, knowing they are 18-6-1 against-the-spread as an underdog or a favorite of three points or fewer. The Chiefs have played 32 straight games they either won outright or lost by four points or fewer. I'm taking Kansas City and the points.
While the Eagles feasted on a weak schedule, it's worth noting the Chiefs have not faced a top-10 rush defenses per DVOA. Now they face the No. 1 ground game featuring an elite offensive line, three quality backs and, of course, Jalen Hurts. The Eagles also bring the NFL’s top defensive front, with Haason Reddick, Josh Sweat, Javon Hargrave and Brandon Graham each registering double-digit sacks. Kansas City’s Andrew Wylie and Orlando Brown both rank in the top four among offensive tackles in pressures allowed. Top corner L’Jarius Sneed (concussion) is the most critical Chiefs player of the five listed as questionable. Philly is fully healthy. I’m expecting the Eagles to build a lead as they typically do, and for a Patrick Mahomes-led comeback to ultimately fall short.
While Miles Sanders regularly loses work to Kenneth Gainwell and Boston Scott, Sanders is who the Eagles will lean on if the game is close -- as the Super Bowl is expected to be. He should get at least 15 carries against this mediocre Chiefs' run defense. This number has risen but there's still value at 57.5. Sanders cleared that figure in 12 of 19 games. With Jalen Hurts looking erratic as a passer last time out, look for Philly to lean on its top-ranked ground game with Sanders leading the way.
Both QBs get a much-needed two weeks to recuperate, and we'll likely see better play from both than we had in the previous round. But outside of QB, the Eagles are likely to be the much healthier team, and it's anyone's guess which receivers the Chiefs will have available. They've survived all year without top-tier talent at the position, but even Patrick Mahomes would struggle to execute the offense with a stable full of practice-squadders. Throw in a few key injuries on defense and it's understandable while Philly is favored here. The Eagles have a much stronger O-line than the one the Chiefs beat up on last week, and they hold up well enough to give the Eagles a chance to keep playing from ahead.
Sanders had a career year, averaging 75 rushing yards per game and a very healthy 4.9 YPC. He has eclipsed this line in 12 of 19 appearances including the postseason. I am not overly concerned with Kenneth Gainwell receiving double digit carries in back to back games because the majority of those touches came in the second half when the Eagles were playing with a substantial lead. I have Sanders projected at 15.7 rushing attempts in this game. He is running behind arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. I expect Sanders to be heavily featured in what should be a competitive game environment. I think this line ultimately closes close to 60 and I'd play it up to 56.5.
Thanks to game script, Jalen Hurts has only attempted 49 passes through two playoff games (24 against NYG and 25 against the QB-less 49ers). That script changes against Kansas City. Prior to last week, Smith hit this total in four out of five games, with three of those games going over 100 receiving yards. Further, prior to last week, Smith hadn’t received fewer than eight targets since Week 9. The Eagles will finally get a game script where passing the ball will be an integral part of the game plan and the KC secondary can certainly be beat. This number is simply too low for Smith, who is heavily targeted, efficient and gets downfield.
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