Super Bowl 57: Philadelphia Eagles v Kansas City Chiefs Sunday, February 12: 11.30pm Virgin Media (Ireland), Channel 4, Sky Sports Main Event
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Patrick Mahomes is operating on one and a half legs. And while that’s usually good enough for him to win regardless, they’ve not come up against a free-scoring juggernaut like Philadelphia all year.
That’s primarily because there is no juggernaut like Philadelphia.
In many instances, teams can combat free-scoring by playing aggressive man coverage. But that means gifting Hurts the chance to run. If you spy Hurts, it means a light box for Miles Sanders.
If you play zone, Philly will go to their RPO game and force defenders to make decisions.
Philadelphia are perhaps the best offense and the best defense in the entire National Football League. I cannot remember the last Super Bowl team to be able to make that claim.
I’m happy to move the point spread to where I think it should be.
Miles Sanders to Score Anytime
Aaron Donald is the best defensive tackle in football. Chris Jones might be the second best. But the key difference between the two is that Donald is essentially a nose tackle with passing rushing ability.
Chris Jones is a pass rusher who happens to play inside, and his play against the run isn’t quite where it should be. Teams actively run towards him in the red zone because he’s so itchy to rush out of his stance that he leaves space inside.
The Chiefs spent some draft capital over the last few years trying to shore up run-defending linebackers in behind him, but it won’t matter against this Philly front.
Kenneth Gainwell Over 19.5 Rushing Yards
Remember what I said about Philly being unpredictable? Using Gainwell to complement Sanders is a huge deal for them.
And that’s only become more obvious in the postseason as they look to impress upon defenses that tired legs would be the only thing stopping them rushing.
Boston Scott probably wasn’t the answer they’d hoped for but the emergence of Gainwell will do just fine, and he’s had twenty-six carries this offseason, going for 160 yards in the process. He’s part of the plan.
DeVonta Smith Over 63.5 Receiving Yards
Philly use motion at the line of scrimmage to try and check for man coverage. This is usually a standard procedure and defenses know that.
But what Philly do is actually implement that motion into their play. So while it looks like Smith might move and then revert when he sees zone coverage, what they’re actually doing is just getting him into space so he can carry the ball.
He’s never more than one catch away from breaking this tally.
Philadelphia -1.5 Miles Sanders to Score Anytime Kenneth Gainwell Over 19.5 Rushing Yards DeVonta Smith Over 63.5 Receiving Yards