The Philadelphia Eagles have earned the right to be in the conversation as one of the best single-season teams in NFL history, if they can get past the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LVII. The Chiefs are also seeking some history of their own, as Patrick Mahomes looks to become the first quarterback to win two MVPs and two Super Bowls before turning 30 years old (Mahomes is only 27).
While seeking their second Super Bowl title in four seasons, Andy Reid is seeking to become the 13th head coach to win multiple Super Bowls. Reid, who used to coach the Eagles, is the only head coach to win 100-plus games with two different franchises and 10-plus playoff games with two different franchises. He'll become the fifth head coach to face his former team in the Super Bowl.
This Super Bowl will feature the First Team All-Pro quarterback in Mahomes and the Second Team All-Pro quarterback in Jalen Hurts, the seventh time in league history that has happened. If Mahomes wraps up MVP (as expected) and Hurts finishes as the runner-up (as expected), this will be the third time the top-two MVP finishers squared off in a Super Bowl.
Then there are the Kelce brothers, the first time brothers from opposing teams will meet in the Super Bowl. Jason Kelce is a First Team All-Pro center and Travis Kelce is a First Team All-Pro tight end, both of whom are at the top of their games and are on the fast track to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Super Bowl LVII has plenty of intriguing storylines attached to it, but the two best teams in the NFL are squaring off at the end of the day. The Eagles and Chiefs are the two teams I focus on in the NFL the closest, mainly because of the Andy Reid connection and his decade-plus of success of Philadelphia and how he carried that over to Kansas City.
I've been tasked to make one pick a year for CBS Sports -- and that's who wins the Super Bowl. Now that the matchup is set, here's why I'm picking the Eagles to win Super Bowl LVII.
Eagles have historic defensive line
The Eagles pass rush has gone largely unnoticed until recent weeks, thanks to the incredible sack numbers the team has put up throughout the season. Philadelphia has 78 sacks on the season, the third-most by any team in NFL history (including postseason). The Eagles are the first team in NFL history to have four players with 10-plus sacks in a season, and all four of them have 12-plus sacks on the year (including the postseason).
The defense is clearly led by Haason Reddick, who has the most sacks in a postseason in franchise history (3.5). Reddick has certainly made a difference in the postseason by getting to the quarterback and making game-changing plays in both of the Eagles' playoff victories. Philadelphia was fourth in the NFL in pressures in 2022 (251) and second in pressure rate (38.4%), showcasing a consistent ability to get to the quarterback.
That pressure rate has improved to 53.6% in the postseason, the highest by any NFL team since 2017. This will be the biggest test for the Chiefs offensive line, which allowed just 26 sacks on the season (third-fewest in NFL). While Kansas City allowed just 26 sacks, the Chiefs were 14th in pressure rate allowed (33.4%) and the 2.56 seconds allowed before giving up a pressure is 13th.
The Chiefs have a good offensive line, specifically in the interior with Joe Thuney, Creed Humphrey and Trey Smith. The mismatch is coming to come with right tackle Andrew Wylie going up against Reddick, who has allowed nine sacks and 42 pressures this year. The beat rate of 5.0% from Wylie significantly favors Reddick, who should have his opportunity to impact the game and get consistent pressure on Mahomes.
Historic run game
The Eagles set the NFL record for the most rushing touchdowns in a season with 39, breaking the mark by the 1924 Frankford Yellow Jackets. Any time a team breaks a record from the 1920s, it's an historic group. Philadelphia has seven rushing touchdowns in two postseason games while the rest of the NFL playoff teams have seven rushing touchdowns combined.
Hurts has 15 of those rushing touchdowns by the Eagles, the most by any quarterback in a season in league history. Hurts and Miles Sanders are the first pair of teammates to record 13-plus rushing touchdowns in a season. Hurts makes the Eagles run game as valuable as it is, allowing the Eagles to be multi-faceted on offense with elite pass catchers like A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedert. Doesn't hurt the Eagles have arguably the best offensive line in football to pave the way for the running game.
The Chiefs have only allowed 12 rushing touchdowns this season, but the advantage goes to Hurts in this one. Hurts averaged 49.0 rush yards per game this season, the third-most among quarterbacks while the Chiefs allowed 26.1 rush yards per game amongst quarterbacks -- the third-most in NFL. The Chiefs do have a top-10 run defense, but Hurts' ability to make plays with his legs is going to make a difference here.
Personally, it's difficult to pick against the Eagles and Chiefs knowing both teams very well. The Eagles pass rush has been historically good, but the Chiefs offensive line can match up with them.
Reddick vs. Wylie is the difference in this game, which will give Philadelphia the advantage to pressure Mahomes and get him out of his spot. Mahomes has the ability to improvise, so it's important for the Eagles secondary to defend the quick passes he gets out of his hands to Travis Kelce, JuJu Smith-Schuster and his other playmakers.
Mahomes has been pressured 52 times in two Super Bowl games, both against strong pass-rushing units in the San Francisco 49ers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 49% pressure rate is why Mahomes has two touchdown passes to four interceptions and a 64.2 passer rating in Super Bowls.
The Eagles pass rush is a different animal. The Chiefs offensive line is good, but the Eagles pass rush is historic. That will play the difference in a close context between the two best teams in the NFL.
Score: Eagles 27, Chiefs 24