More than any other sport, football is the consummate team game. It’s not an exaggeration to say that not much can be accomplished without the assistance of one’s teammates in the NFL, and that camaraderie will be put to the test in Super Bowl LVII.
With that backdrop in mind, it’s hard to say that Super Bowl LVII between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will come down to one player’s performance. However, there are a few individual matchups that could go a long way in determining who wins the game.
Chris Jones Vs Jalen Hurts
On paper, this doesn’t seem like a valid pairing, as Chiefs pass rusher Chris Jones wouldn’t figure to directly impact Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts. On the field though, Jones’ effectiveness, and more importantly, his discipline, will be a huge factor in this game.
Jones had an enormous impact in the AFC championship game, highlighted by his critical fourth quarter sack of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow. He flew around the edge on that play, and he might find himself on the edge again in the Super Bowl. In their run-pass option heavy offense, Hurts will be staring at Jones early an often to see how he reacts. If Jones can keep Hurts guessing, Philadelphia might have a harder time ripping off large gains on the ground than people think.
A.J. Brown Vs L’Jarius Sneed
There’s no question that the Eagles’ acquisition of wide receiver A.J. Brown in the offseason changed the fortunes of the franchise. It’s fair to say that Philadelphia probably wouldn’t be in the Super Bowl if they don’t make the trade to get Brown from the Tennessee Titans. As a playmaker and a talent, Brown is one of the very best pass-catchers in the NFL.
All signs point to Kansas City cornerback L’Jarius Sneed having the first crack at trying to slow Brown down, which is no easy task. The talented cornerback cleared concussion protocol ahead of the Super Bowl, so he should be all systems go for this matchup. The Chiefs would love to leave Sneed on Brown one on one without shading too much coverage.
C.J. Gardner-Johnson Vs Travis Kelce
Since the departure of Tyreek Hill, everyone on the field and in the stands knows that Kansas City is trying to get the ball into the hands of superstar tight end Travis Kelce. Despite the obvious gameplan, defenses have not been able to prevent him from making a huge impact on games.
It speaks to the level of greatness Kelce has, and how well the Chiefs are able to scheme in order to get him open. The Eagles know what they have to do, but how they’ll try to do it is a big question. They might try to stick the brash, physical C.J. Gardner-Johnson on Kelce. Gardner-Johnson is a really good player, and has also been known to get under the skin of opponents. He might need to try to do that against Kelce, since not much else has worked.