Jan 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass during the first quarter against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs-Eagles Preview, Props, Prediction

Patrick Mahomes is on the verge of becoming the youngest quarterback to start three Super Bowls, but the Kansas City Chiefs star is more interested in becoming the 13th to earn multiple Super Bowl rings.

Mahomes will be playing in his third Super Bowl in the past four campaigns, and his task on Sunday is to solve the dominant defense of the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Ariz.

Philadelphia has been backed by 67 percent of the spread-line bets and 68 percent of the handle at BetMGM. The action was similar at BetRivers to begin the week before more money started flowing in on the Chiefs, with the Eagles now drawing 58 and 51 percent, respectively.

Mahomes will be 27 years, 148 days old when he takes the field but is already viewed as an NFL great. He is 1-1 in previous Super Bowls, having beaten the San Francisco 49ers 31-20 in Super Bowl LIV and lost 31-9 to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV one year later.

Philadelphia’s defense, ranked second in the regular season at 301.5 yards allowed per game, will be swimming like sharks around Mahomes.

The Eagles have racked up 78 sacks during the regular season and postseason. That is third-most all-time behind the mid-1980s Chicago Bears, who had a record 82 in 1984 and 80 in 1985.

Philadelphia will look to corral Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who ranks second all-time in postseason receptions (127) and receiving yardage (1,467) and is tied for second with Rob Gronkowski with 15 postseason touchdown grabs. Jerry Rice leads in all three categories.

Kelce is part of a juicy storyline as he and older brother Jason (the Eagles’ center) will become the first set of brothers to play against one another in Super Bowl history. Both Kelces already own a Super Bowl ring, but Travis is 3-0 in matchups against Jason.

“Whoever wins this one will have the ultimate bragging rights,” Jason Kelce said.

Chiefs coach Andy Reid is looking for his second Super Bowl ring as he faces the organization that fired him in 2012 after 14 seasons. Reid ranks second all-time in postseason victories (21) behind Bill Belichick (31).

The 64-year-old has tried to swat away “Andy Reid Bowl” questions all week. He reached five NFC title games with the Eagles but just one Super Bowl, a 24-21 loss to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXIX.

Also a hot topic is whether the Chiefs can stamp themselves as a dynasty with a second Super Bowl win in four seasons. Reid, not surprisingly, has no interest in the subject.

“I’m not really into all that,” Reid said. “It’s important in our world as coaches and players that you try to get better every day. You’re only as good as your last game, or your next game, I should say. We’re striving to focus on this thing and try not to worry about all that stuff.”

The quarterback matchup between Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts is noteworthy, marking the first Super Bowl in which each team has a Black starting quarterback.

Only three Black quarterbacks have won a Super Bowl: Doug Williams (Super Bowl XXII), Russell Wilson (Super Bowl XLIX) and Mahomes.

“It’s not about me. It’s about the team,” the multi-dimensional Hurts said. “Football is the ultimate team game, and you can’t have one player with the belief that he can succeed without the others around him.”

The Eagles have held steady as a consensus 1.5-point favorite after the spread reached as high as 3.0 points at some major sportsbooks.

PROP PICKS
–Hurts Over 10.5 Rushing Attempts (+100 at BetMGM): This has received the most total bets among player props at the sportsbook. Hurts has averaged 11.5 carries over the past four games. That includes 11 against the 49ers in the NFC Championship Game despite the Eagles being in control much of the game. The offseason begins Monday, so look for Philadelphia to use Hurts’ legs to the fullest as it attempts to keep the Chiefs’ defense off balance.

–Travis Kelce Anytime TD (-124 at BetRivers): Kelce has three touchdowns in two playoff games already and will be coveted safety blanket against the Eagles’ ferocious pass rush. Him scoring at least one touchdown on Sunday leads the sportsbook’s player props with 4.5 percent of the total money. Kelce is also among the top 10 most popular plays to score twice, which has drawn 1.3 percent of the money at +575.

–Josh Sweat Over 0.75 Sacks (+110 at DraftKings): Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick has been on an absolute tear with 3.5 sacks in the playoffs following 16 during the regular season. But his -180 odds at Over 0.25 sacks doesn’t portend a great potential payout. With the Chiefs having to prioritize protection Mahomes against Reddick on obvious passing downs, there should be plenty of opportunity for Sweat, who set a career high with 11.0 sacks during the regular season and racked up another 1.5 in the playoff-opening win against the Giants.

INJURY REPORT
The right ankle injury Mahomes sustained against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Jan. 21 is healing, but he won’t be 100 percent against the Eagles.

“You won’t know exactly how it is until you get to game day,” Mahomes said this week. “I mean, I definitely move around better than I was moving last week or two weeks ago. So it’s just trying to continue to get the treatment and the rehab and get it as close to 100 percent and then rely on some adrenaline to let me do a little bit extra when I’m on the field.”

The Chiefs overall have a clean bill of health, while the Philadelphia Eagles listed only one player, wide receiver and return specialist Britain Covey, on the final injury report ahead of the game.

Covey (hamstring) popped up for the first time Thursday, was limited for two straight days and was listed Friday as questionable for the game.

An undrafted rookie, Covey has rarely seen snaps on offense but serves as Philadelphia’s punt returner. He also returned kicks in Weeks 4, 8, 9 and 10. Covey fielded 33 punts in the regular season for 308 yards with a long of 27. He averaged 9.3 yards.

If Covey can’t play, the Eagles may need to turn to the likes of speedy former Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith as a replacement punt returner.

Friday’s news was good for Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed, who appeared on Thursday’s injury report as a limited participant with a knee issue. The Chiefs said Sneed practiced in full on Friday and gave him no game status designation.

That’s not to say Kansas City is at perfect attendance. Earlier in the week, it placed wide receiver Mecole Hardman on injured reserve with a pelvic injury, taking him out of the equation for the Super Bowl.

But that allowed the Chiefs to activate running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire (ankle) from IR in a corresponding move, and two other wide receivers with previous injury concerns — JuJu Smith-Schuster (knee) and Kadarius Toney (ankle, hamstring) — are cleared to play Sunday.

PREDICTION
The NFL might be an offensive league in this era, but most of the recent Super Bowl champions have sported the superior defense. The Chiefs lack a real threat in the backfield, which will force them to rely on the short passing game as a complement to help thwart that pass rush. The Eagles bring more offensive balance to the equation along with variety in the red zone that will pay off in crunch time. –Eagles 27, Chiefs 26

–Field Level Media

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