Sports Columnist Mike Prisuta: Why I’m Picking the Eagles To Win Super Bowl LVII
The Chiefs may have the higher-profile QB, but the Eagles have the pass rush to repeatedly flatten Patrick Mahomes, and they will.
It’s a fantastic matchup headlined by two of the game’s best QBs, but Super Bowl LVII is going to be won by defense.
It’s going to be won by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs are going to make things interesting.
Mahomes always does.
But unless he figures out a way to throw passes from his back, Mahomes is going to lose his second Super Bowl in three seasons.
It has less to do with the status of his highly-sprained ankle than it does the Philadelphia pass rush.
When these Eagles have landed, it’s invariably been on a quarterback.
Philadelphia had 70 sacks in the regular season, and has added eight more in beating the New York Football Giants and the San Francisco 49ers on the way to the Super Bowl.
That’s two shy of matching the 80 registered by the 1985 Chicago Bears (regular season and playoffs combined). And the ’85 Bears, in case you’re relatively new to this stuff and are just embracing the Super Bowl for the parties, invariably come up when the best defenses in NFL history are discussed.
We might be including the ’23 Eagles in that conversation soon.
The Eagles had four players with at least 11 sacks apiece in the regular season, the first time a team has had that many with at least 10 since 1982. So it won’t be as simple for Kansas City as merely figuring out a way to block an elite rusher, a T.J. Watt, for example.
Philadelphia is coming in numbers, and somebody is going to get there.
That’s had a great deal to do with the Eagles finishing tied for seventh in the NFL in scoring defense in the regular season (allowing an average of 20.2 points per game).
And that’s the biggest reason why my cheesesteak money will be riding on the Eagles.
In the previous 56 Super Bowls, the eventual winner was a team that had finished in the Top 10 in the NFL in scoring defense on 48 occasions. That’s 86 percent of the previous champions (85.7 actually, but you get the idea).
The Chiefs finished No. 16 in scoring defense (21.7 points per game).
That’s a compelling statistical trend.
Philadelphia, likewise, performed at a historic pace running the football this season, and that’s the “wit” (with onions) and “whiz” (Cheese Whiz) on Super Sunday’s Pat’s Steak (a breakfast of champions if ever there was one).
The Eagles have run for 39 touchdowns this season (the most in NFL history, regular season and playoffs included), including 15 by Jalen Hurts (the most by a quarterback in NFL history, regular season and playoffs included). They rushed for 148 yards and four touchdowns (one by Hurts) while dismantling San Francisco in the NFC Championship Game.
The 49ers had the NFL’s No. 1 total defense (300.6 yards per game) and No. 1 scoring defense (16.3 points per game).
If the Eagles can handle that, they can handle Kansas City.
They did and they will.
It won’t be a blowout, but nor will it be all that close.
Fly, Eagles fly.