The Lombardi trophy is on the line this Sunday, as the Kansas City Chiefs and the Philadelphia Eagles will vie for a championship in Super Bowl LVII. The Eagles soundly defeated the San Francisco 49ers by a final score of 31-7 in the NFC title game. Kansas City edged out the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC Championship, notching a 23-20 victory.
Watching the two best teams in the NFL will be a treat for fans at the game and watching on TV. Here are three things we’ll be looking at very closely during the big game.
Patrick Mahomes’ Health
There have been conflicting reports surrounding what type of injury Patrick Mahomes actually suffered in the Divisional Round against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but it’s clear that he’s been limited since. The team downplayed its significance in the days leading up the AFC title game. For a good part of the game, the injury seemed to be a non-factor, as Mahomes’ mobility looked crisp and fluid.
However, as the game wore on, Mahomes started to limp and hop around, and was forced to make certain throws without being able to step up in the pocket. With amazing arm talent, he’s one of the few players that can get away with that, but it will be harder to achieve against a strong Philadelphia front seven. We’ll see if an extra week of rest will allow Mahomes to play a healthy 60 minutes of football in the Super Bowl.
Controlling The Line Of Scrimmage
During their manhandling of the 49ers in the NFC title game, the Eagles proved that there were the more physical team, which is saying something against San Francisco. Their defensive line did a great job limiting the creative rushing attack the 49ers deploy, and their offensive line created consistent running lanes against Joey Bosa and the stacked San Francisco defense.
At this point, there’s no reason to think that the Eagles will run into a problem controlling the line of scrimmage against Kansas City, since it’s what they’ve done all season on both sides of the ball. Doing so on the offensive side of the ball should allow Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts as well as their reliable stable of running backs to establish a rhythm on the ground.
In almost any NFL game, analysts and fans often watch to see how teams start the second half. It’s an indicator of how well the coaches calibrated their adjustment strategy, and what was said in the locker room to get their energy back up.
However, halftime during the Super Bowl is unlike any other intermission period in a regular game. It lasts for a longer period of time, and the players have to navigate this differently. Many of the Chiefs players have experience with this, as they were in the Super Bowl just three years ago. It’ll be interesting to see if the Eagles, many of whom are playing in this game for the first time, will be able to handle the pause well.