Super Bowl LVII Tale of the Tape: Who has the edge at each position group?
Here's how the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles stack up against each other at every position ahead of Super Bowl LVII.
NFL fans deserve a Patrick Mahomes-Jalen Hurts matchup. They quarterbacked the two No. 1 seeds in the regular season and were considered MVP front-runners for most of the campaign.
Hurts broke out in 2022 while leading football's most dominant team. The 24-year-old, who's helped Philly blow out both of its opponents this postseason, completed 66.5% of his passes during the regular season while passing for 3,701 yards and 22 touchdowns against six interceptions. He also put on a show on the ground, rushing for 760 yards and 13 scores despite missing a pair of games in the campaign's final stretch with a shoulder injury.
But as good as Hurts has been, Mahomes is on a different level. The All-Pro passer, who's set to play his third Super Bowl in the last four years, posted a career-high 67% completion rate during the regular season while leading the NFL with 5,250 yards and 41 TD passes.
Mahomes' health will be a major story ahead of Super Bowl LVII after he suffered a high ankle sprain in the divisional round. The 27-year-old did throw for 326 yards and two touchdowns in the AFC title game but was limping on the field. Although it's unlikely his ankle is fully healed for the Super Bowl, he'll have two weeks to rehab and should be healthier in the big game.
This one isn't really close.
Pacheco and McKinnon are explosive weapons, and the potential return of Edwards-Helaire - who hasn't played since Week 11 due to injury - would add depth to K.C.'s backfield. But while the Chiefs lack consistency on the ground, the Eagles have run over their opponents.
With 1,269 yards and 11 touchdowns, Sanders is having a career year. Gainwell and Scott didn't have a ton of carries in the regular season, but they've made the most of their touches in the playoffs. Gainwell leads the team with 160 rushing yards, and Scott and Sanders have each scored two TD runs in two games.
And we can't talk about this running game and not mention Hurts, a premier rushing quarterback who's racked up 185 rushing attempts this season. The Eagles - the only team to ever have four players rush for at least five scores in the same campaign, including the playoffs - have scored 39 rushing touchdowns this season, the most in NFL history. Good luck stopping this group.
The Chiefs and Eagles had different approaches at wide receiver this season. Kansas City traded away Tyreek Hill and tried to replace him with versatile playmakers on cheaper contracts, while Philadelphia acquired Brown in a blockbuster trade and made him one of the position's highest-paid players.
Many around the NFL didn't think K.C. would have enough firepower to reach the big game with an aging Kelce and without Hill, but here they are. Kelce - the club's No. 1 target - remains football's best tight end and has scored 15 touchdowns this campaign, including three in the playoffs. His matchup against Philly's defense - which has allowed only three tight end TDs - will be interesting. And speaking of tight ends, don't sleep on Goedert, who's caught 783 yards and four touchdowns in 14 games this season and could give Kansas City some trouble.
As expected, the Chiefs have more players involved in the passing game, including McKinnon, who's caught nine touchdowns. Smith-Schuster led the team's wideouts with 933 yards but only had three regular-season touchdowns and has been quiet in the playoffs. Smith-Schuster, Toney, and Hardman - who all missed time earlier - left the AFC title game with injuries, and their statuses will be worth monitoring.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia rosters an elite duo in Brown and Smith, who both rank in the top 10 in receiving yards. Brown also caught 11 touchdowns, the third-most in the league. No Eagles pass-catcher has topped 100 yards after two playoff games, but that's mostly because Philly dominated its opponents without using its passing attack much. Brown and Smith give Philadelphia a blend of physicality, explosiveness, and star power that Kansas City doesn't have at wide receiver anymore.
You'll hear a lot about these units in the coming days.
The Chiefs would win an O-line comparison against most teams. Unfortunately for them, the Eagles - who rank first in pass blocking and third in run blocking, according to PFF - aren't one of those clubs. Led by All-Pro cornerstones Kelce and Johnson - who'll both start their second Super Bowl with Philly after winning it five years ago - the Jeff Stoutland-coached offensive line has done an impeccable job and showed no real weakness.
Two years ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers dominated the Chiefs' line in the Super Bowl, and Mahomes and Co. couldn't do much. Kansas City has since bolstered the unit, which ranks seventh and sixth in pass and run blocking this season, respectively.
Brown hasn't been as dominant as K.C. would've hoped after placing the tag on him, but the team's interior blockers have been outstanding behind second-team All-Pro linemen Humphrey and Thuney. This unit will need to play its best game for Kansas City to have any chance against Philadelphia's standout pass rush.
Is the Chiefs' O-line good? Yes. Is it Philadelphia Eagles good? Hell no.
This is another case in which the Chiefs are very good, but the Eagles are just better.
Kansas City rosters the best defender in the Super Bowl in Jones, one of three finalists for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He leads a unit that's on fire right now thanks to Clark - who's racked up a team-high 2.5 sacks this postseason - and young players like Karlaftis and Gay. The Chiefs, who've done a pretty good job against the run, recorded 55 regular-season sacks, the NFL's second-best mark.
The Eagles have been even more impressive, amassing 15 more sacks than the Chiefs, and their 78 sacks sit third in NFL history, including the playoffs. This year, Philly became the first team ever to have four defenders with 10-plus sacks (Reddick, Hargrave, Sweat, and Brandon Graham).
Graham - as well as Ndamukong Suh and rookie Jordan Davis - are other franchise standouts whose names don't appear in the table above. Oh, and we can't forget about veteran Robert Quinn, a big Eagles midseason trade acquisition who still hasn't done much since joining. Philly's depth is just unfair. This front seven would essentially be perfect if it weren't for some flaws against the run - Philly's defense only ranked 23rd in rushing expected points added (EPA).
A.J. Brown and Reddick were the Eagles' splashiest moves as they went all-in during the offseason, but Gardner-Johnson and Bradberry deserve a lot of credit for what they've done in Year 1. A second-team All-Pro, Bradberry forms arguably football's top cornerback duo alongside Slay, and they've had solid support in the slot from Maddox, who returned to the lineup Sunday after a three-game absence due to injury.
The Eagles were off the charts against the pass in the regular season, ranking in the top five in passing yards allowed, yards per completion, and interceptions. In the playoffs, Philadelphia's giving up only 96 passing yards per game. That said, facing Daniel Jones in the divisional round and Josh Johnson for most of the NFC title game made things much easier. Up next is a heavyweight bout against Mahomes and one of the sport's most creative offenses.
For the Chiefs, it's another tough matchup. But despite having four rookie defensive backs - Watson, McDuffie, Williams, and Cook - playing significant snaps Sunday, Kansas City did a solid job versus Ja'Marr Chase and Tee Higgins. The team now turns its focus to stopping Brown and Smith. Steve Spagnuolo's defense, which stood out for its physicality against the Bengals, has three interceptions in two games this postseason. Hopefully, the unit will have Sneed, who's in concussion protocol, on the field in Super Bowl LVII.
Both sides should feel good about their secondaries. Kansas City's young secondary was far from great in the regular season but stepped up in the playoffs against offenses led by hot quarterbacks, meaning the unit's peaking at the right time. Still, the Eagles' defensive backs bring more experience, power, and depth.
Elliott had another good campaign, missing just three field goals and two extra points before the playoffs while kicking a league-high 53 PAT. He's 9-for-9 this postseason, including two field goals.
Meanwhile, Butker battled an injury in the campaign's first month and had some misses along the way, converting only 75% of his regular-season field-goal attempts - the lowest rate of his career. However, the 27-year-old's apparently back on the right track, nailing all five of his field goals this postseason, including two kicks of 50-plus yards. He also hit the game-winning 45-yard FG in the dying seconds of the AFC title game.
While K.C. rosters an All-Pro in Townsend, there could be a debate regarding who'll punt for Philadelphia. The club brought Kern in to replace an injured Arryn Siposs in December, but the latter recently said he's cleared to return. Kern had a solid divisional-round game but didn't perform nearly as well last week.
Kick returns aren't a strength for either team, but Kansas City saw rookie Skyy Moore make plays as a punt returner on Sunday after Toney got injured, including a 29-yard return that helped set up the game-winning drive. Special teams is always unpredictable, but K.C. gets the edge here.
All eyes will be on Andy Reid, one of football's brightest offensive minds, who will coach against his former team. Reid's reached the Super Bowl in three of the last four seasons with K.C. He's also the Eagles' all-time winningest head coach, guiding them to five NFC Championship Games from 1999-2012.
But Nick Sirianni and his assistants have Philadelphia firing on all cylinders right now.
The Eagles outplayed and looked more prepared than most of their opponents on both sides of the ball all year long. They were also very aggressive, ranking fourth in the regular season in fourth-down attempts (32) and fourth-down conversion percentage (68.8%), while the Chiefs converted nine of their 12 fourth-down attempts.
Granted, the duo of Reid and Mahomes is a match made in heaven. However, when it comes to the size of a coaching staff's impact, Philly might be second to none, which is why offensive coordinator Shane Steichen and defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon have attracted head coaching interest from around the league. No other club this season has dominated its opponents in as many ways as the Eagles, who are the first team since the 2000 Baltimore Ravens to give up seven points or fewer in back-to-back playoff games.