Game Preview- SB – KC vs PHI

Posted: February 9th, 2023 | Author: | Filed under: Philadelphia Eagles | Comments Off on Game Preview- SB – KC vs PHI

Nick Sirianni is a creature of habit. He has preached a message of consistency and focus all year. His players took that to heart and avoided the crazy ups and downs that come with most seasons. That message has the Eagles playing in the Super Bowl. To Sirianni, this will be Game 19.

To the rest of us, this is a chance for history, revenge and a boatload of fun. The Eagles can win their second Super Bowl in five years, which is a bit hard to believe. The once snakebit franchise is now the one doing the biting. The Eagles won their first title by slaying the best coach-QB combination in football, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.

The Eagles can win title number two by beating the best combination in the league today, Andy Reid and Patrick Mahomes. Reid spent 14 years as the coach of the Eagles and laid the foundation for the success the team has now. He’s been brilliant in KC and already won them a Super Bowl in 2019. Beating him probably shouldn’t be considered revenge since there was an amicable split, but you see all the success he had out there and wondered why he wasn’t doing that at the end of his Eagles tenure. Why isn’t Juan Castillo the Chiefs DC?

There are a ton of crazy storylines to this game. Sirianni worked for the Chiefs. Reid fired him, after the Eagles fired Big Red himself. The Kelce’s will become the first brothers to ever face-off in a Super Bowl. Ron Jaworski played for both teams. Dick Vermeil coached both teams. Both teams hate the Patriots. All kinds of good angles to this game.

Let’s ignore that stuff and talk about the game. I’m not going to get too technical. There are others who write great X’s and O’s previews. I’m going to focus on what is sticking out to me when I analyze the matchup.


Simply put, the Eagles are the better team. They have a more talented, more complete roster. KC may win because Patrick Mahomes is such a special QB and they have some elite players around him. It feels weird for the Eagles to be seen as the better team, but they are.

Mahomes has been a starter for the past five years. He made it to the AFC title game in each of those years and all the way to the Super Bowl in three of them. You can talk yourself into the Chiefs being this juggernaut and Mahomes being this unstoppable player. Don’t do that. The Chiefs have been good for a long time, but they are human. They lost three games this year, including one to the Colts. The Texans took them to overtime. KC won last week in part due to a ridiculously bad penalty by the Bengals. They aren’t a machine that overwhelms each and every opponent. They can be beat.


My biggest fear each week is turnovers. Jalen Hurts went 16-1 this year. The one loss (to the friggin Commanders) came when the defense had issues and the offense turned the ball over four times.

If the Eagles protect the ball, they should win this game. That’s such an obvious and annoying statement, but it feels true for this team.


We’ve talked a lot about how good the Eagles pass rush is. I think some analysts come up short when they talk about the Eagles leading the league in sacks. They led by 15. They almost set the NFL record. Think for a second. This is one of the greatest pass rush units in the history of the NFL. And they’ll be going up against a pair of OTs that are erratic in pass protection. On top of that, the QB the Eagles will be chasing is playing on a bum ankle.

This is huge. In some ways, this is the game.

We know Andy Reid will have a good plan for getting the ball out quickly and being creative with his protections. But there will be some plays when the Eagles will have chances to hit Mahomes. Getting sacks would be great, but the key is affecting him. Force incompletions. Force checkdowns. Don’t let him sit in the pocket and pick you apart.

The Eagles don’t need to pitch a shutout. This isn’t going to be a 14-13 or 13-10 game. Both teams will score. It is critical for the Eagles to come up with a few key stops, whether forcing punts or forcing KC to kick field goals. Those stops could be the difference in the game.

Mahomes threw 12 picks this year. When the Chiefs have faced good defenses, they have turned the ball over. If the Eagles rush can come up with takeaways, those could be game-changing plays.

RT Andrew Wylie gave up 9 sacks this year, most in the NFL. He’s facing Haason Reddick, who had 16 sacks and 5 FFs. This is a huge advantage for the Eagles. LT Orlando Brown had his struggles. The Chiefs can’t help everyone out. Eagles pass rushers will have a chance to win and make some plays. They’ve done that all year. They led the league in sacks during the regular season. They lead in postseason sacks. They just knocked out a pair of QBs in the NFC title game. It would be hugely disappointing for this group to suddenly disappear in the biggest game of the year.


KC came to Philly and beat the Eagles 42-30 in Week 4 of 2021. I rewatched part of that game out of curiosity. It actually made me feel better about this weekend.

The Eagles moved the ball up and down the field in the first half. They had to settle for FGs too often and that was the big difference. The Eagles were missing Jordan Mailata and Lane Johnson. They had Jalen Reagor instead of AJ Brown.

The defense struggled against the Chiefs. But many of those guys are gone or in lesser roles this year.

Derek Barnett
Ryan Kerrigan
Tarron Jackson
Eric Wilson
Alex Singleton
Rodney McLeod
Steve Nelson
Anthony Harris
Genard Avery

Nice guys, but not the group you want facing Mahomes. This defense is so much better. I’ll be shocked if Mahomes puts up a ton of points (barring turnovers). The Eagles are healthy and the defense is clicking. They should be able to come up with key stops.


Jalen Hurts was playing at an MVP level when he hurt his shoulder. He’s been a bit erratic since then. But he’s also had some odd circumstances in that period. He hasn’t been completely healthy. The Eagles used a simplistic gameplan in Week 18 against the Giants. Hurts didn’t have to do much in the playoff beatdown of the Giants. Then he faced the best defense in the league.

It is fair to worry a bit. Will he play well on Sunday? Hurts did what was needed the last two weeks and the Eagles won big. The Chiefs won’t score 7 points. They’re too good for that. Hurts will need to be closer to his A game for the Eagles to win. His shoulder has had a couple more weeks of rest so he should be pretty good physically. The biggest issue we’ve seen is a drop in his deep ball accuracy. Let’s hope the time off will help that.

With this beiing the end of the season, the coaches will run Hurts as much as is needed. There’s no holding back for next week.

Hurts isn’t 16-1 by accident. He’s been been excellent at times. When he hasn’t been at his best, Hurts has still made the plays needed to win. I don’t think the moment wil be too much for him.


How do you stop the best TE in football? The Eagles limited Kelce to 4-23 in the game last season. The guy they had no answer for was Tyreek Hill, who went 11-186-3. Yikes.

Hill is gone, but that doesn’t mean Kelce will get shutdown. The Chiefs didn’t have to force the ball to him last year. Kelce is their biggest offensive weapon so Reid will gameplan extensively for him. He knows he’s got to get the ball to his TE for KC to have a chance. Kelce has destroyed man coverage this year so expect the Eagles to double team or bracket him. The problem is that Kelce and Mahomes have played together so long they can improvise and make plays. The Eagles want to limit Kelce and force the ball to the WRs.


The Eagles have the best OL in football. It is harder to quantify OL success, but most people would agree the Eagles have a special group. Just look at what they’ve done in the playoffs. The Giants and Niners have really good DLs. Those units helped them win games to get to face the Eagles. Then the Eagles OL shut them down. The Giants and Niners combined for 1 sack and 2 QB hits against the Eagles. The Eagles ran for 268 yards against the Giants and 148 yards against SF. Talk about dominant…

I can’t promise the Eagles will be able to shut down the Chiefs to that extent, but it is possible. Stoutland University turned game-wreckers like Dexter Lawrence and Nick Bosa into spectators rather than playmakers. If the Eagles OL has another performance like that, it will be hard for KC to win.

The Chiefs have a tough challenge in how to stop the Eagles run game. If they load the box, Hurts will throw the ball. KC likes to play zone and that means keeping a couple of safeties back. They can take chances with stunts and run blitzes. If they work, great. But they also leave the defense susceptible to big plays.


Andy Reid might be the best coach in NFL history when it comes to designing and calling screen passes. He was brilliant at that with the Eagles and is just as good in KC. Screens will be important for the Chiefs. When they work, they can slow down the pass rush. It gets the ball to RBs in space and allows them to make plays. The Chiefs had a ton of RAC yards this year. That’s a huge part of their offense.

Eagles rushers will have to be disciplined. They don’t want to fly upfield out of control. They want to key on RBs and also make sure Mahomes stays in the pocket. LBs will also be key in dealing with screens. They must make good reads and get to the ball.

KC will likely try to get the ball to their RBs with a variety of passes. You want to make the Eagles LBs chase in space.

As for limiting RAC yards, the key is good tackling. The Eagles must fly to the ball. They need to take good angles. They also need to make sure to wrap-up.


Steve Spagnulo loves to blitz. He learned that from Jim Johnson 20 years ago and has been doing it ever since. Spags will turn the dogs loose on Sunday.

The Eagles have had some success against the blitz, mainly throwing deep to DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown. The Chiefs will play a lot of zone so the deep balls might not be available. That means Hurts has to find open players on the short and intermediate levels. The Chiefs have struggled against #1 WRs. Brown will have a chance to catch a lot of balls and make plays.

The Eagles coaching staff knows the blitz is coming. They’ve got time to prepare. They will have some answers for Hurts and the offense. Screens to Dallas Goedert. Draw plays. QB runs. WR screens.

One of the real keys will be to avoid third and long situations. You don’t want KC having situations where they know you have to pass.


Jonathan Gannon’s defense has been outstanding so far in the postseason. In the two games combined, the Eagles allowed 391 yards and 14 points. They had 8 sacks, 4 takeaways and knocked out 2 QBs. That is some hellacious defense.

Beating Daniel Jones and Brock Purdy/Josh Johnson is one thing. Mahomes is a whole other level. He’s on his way to being one of the greatest QBs in NFL history. This is an opportunity for Gannon to destroy any remaining narratives about him.

He was an assistant with the Colts in 2019 when they beat the Colts 19-13. Gannon was also involved in a 2018 playoff game that KC won 31-13. He’s faced Mahomes a few times now and will have ideas on how to play him. For the first time, Gannon has the pieces to make his ideas work. I’ve already talked about the pass rush. The Eagles also have the best secondary in football.

It will be interesting to see what Gannon does schematically. When the Chiefs are in 12 or 13 personnel, he could go 5-1-5, giving him the ability to play the run and cover. They have used 13 personnel very effectively this year. If you go big, they throw. If you go light, they run. The 5-1-5 gives you enough bodies to handle the run, but also enough DBs to cover the pass. It puts a lot of pressure on the only LB. The Eagles use this look a lot and have had success with it.

If the Chiefs are in 11 personnel, Gannon will probably use a 4-2-5 look. He could also go Dime. I wonder if he would consider going down to 3 pass rushers. Bill Belichick did that a couple of years ago against KC and it had some success.

Gannon won’t be expecting perfection against an offense this good. If his guys can hold the Chiefs to 17 or 20 points, that would be great.


Reid is brilliant with time to prepare. Sirianni is the better coach on gameday.

Sirianni won’t be scared to make tough calls. He’s made them all season long. His team doesn’t see going for it on fourth down as desperate. They see that as an opportunity to make a play. It puts pressure on the defense.


Sirianni is good with timeouts, challenges and other gameday situations. Reid has his moments, but Eagles fans also remember some late game issues that were incredibly frustrating. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.


I’ll post my pick, some players to watch and random game thoughts on Friday night. Can’t wait for the game to get here. Feels like this week has gone on forever.


Here is some good intel on Big Red and his offense.


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