Pedestrians walk past Super Bowl LVII roman numerals hung above them on Monday in Phoenix. Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | licensed photo
PHOENIX, Feb. 7 (UPI) — Players from the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs will spend this week avoiding distractions as they prepare for Super Bowl LVII in Phoenix. The Eagles remain a slight favorite in Sunday’s game.
“They have one more game left,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told reporters at the opening of Super Bowl LVII Monday at the Trail Center.
“They have to stay focused, which is important for young guys with all their hype. I expect the older guys to keep an eye on them.”
The Eagles opened as 2-point favorites to win the Vince Lombardi Trophy but dropped to 1 1/2-point favorites earlier this week. Super Bowl LVII airs at 6:30 pm EST on Fox.
“I’m going to get on the field and give it my all, but I don’t have any predictions,” said Eagles forward Haason Reddick. “Let’s see how this one plays out in the fourth quarter.”
Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who already won the NFL MVP award from the Professional Football Writers Association of America for the 2022-23 season, will try to lead the Chiefs to a second title in four seasons.
During this time, he appeared in three title games, including a 2021 loss to Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The Eagles, the NFC’s top seed, will try to win their second title in six seasons. They tied the game with the Chiefs, the AFC’s top seed, with an NFL-best 14 wins in the 2022-2023 season.
“The biggest motivating factor is getting on the field and trying to be the best,” Mahomes said on Monday. “We know we’re in big trouble at the Philadelphia Eagles. It will be a great game.”
Reid and Eagles coach Nick Sirianni said they set up many of the components of their game plans last week ahead of the Phoenix flight.
But both teams still need to honor their media commitments as they make time to spend with their families and their training schedules throughout the week.
“We are here to win the football match,” Sirianni said. “Obviously there’s a lot going on, but we’re going to have fun and do our best to come out and win the game.”
Most Super Bowl LVII fan festivals will take place in downtown Phoenix. The Eagles and Chiefs players will practice at the respective facilities of the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State University, located about 8 miles apart, before meeting Sunday at State Farm Stadium in Glendale.
The Eagles will present one of the most balanced lineups in the Super Bowl with elite offensive and defensive lines. They finished the regular season ranked 2nd on defense and 3rd on offense in the NFL.
The Eagles’ offense is led by the league’s No. 5 offense. Quarterback Jalen Herts led the charge with 35 touchdowns and just six interceptions this season.
The Eagles will also bring the best passing rush in the NFL to the competition. They’ve hit 70 sacks this season, an NFL record. Reddick had 16 quarterback takedowns.
The Eagles’ best pass rush and pass defense, combined with average run defense, means the Chiefs will likely need strong performance from their offensive line and running backs to keep the game going.
The Eagles defeated the New York Giants 38–7 in the first game of the playoffs. They then beat the San Francisco 49ers 31–7 to advance to Super Bowl LVII. They gained over 400 yards in those wins.
“In the last two games, we’ve been really good with the ball and taking opportunities,” Eagles wide receiver A.J. Brown said. “No matter how the game plays out, we just know we have to be prepared for whatever comes our way.”
Mahomes, who also won the 2018 NFL MVP award, led the league with 41 passing points this season. He suffered a high ankle sprain and was hampered by the Chiefs’ Divisional Round victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
But he bounced back with 326 passing yards and two points in the Chiefs’ win over the Cincinnati Bengals in the AFC title game.
On Monday, Mahomes said his ankle now feels “great” but he still needs to see how it holds up in a game situation.
The 8th-ranked Chiefs defense system will face its biggest test of the season against the Eagles’ highly ranked game. This fight could determine possession time and how often Mahomes will be on the field.
“We will try to be balanced, but we have to be able to run to win the game,” Sirianni said.
The Chiefs defense also allowed the most passing touchdowns in the NFL and ranked 18th in passing yards allowed, which may have encouraged Hurts to throw more.
While the Eagles won by 55 points in their first two playoff games, the Chiefs won by just 10 points. They beat the Jaguars 27-20 in the divisional round. They then lost to the Bengals 23-20 in the AFC Final.
They allowed under 250 passing yards and kept their opponents under 145 rushing yards in those wins.
“I’m very excited about the opportunity to play with them,” Reid said of the Eagles. “It’s a very good football team. We’re a good football team. It should be a lot of fun to compete… We’re sort of setting up right now. But you’d better get ready when you play in Philadelphia.”
How to watch
What: Super Bowl LVI
Who: Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs
When: Sunday, 6:30 pm EST.
Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.
Streaming: FoxSports.com, Fox Sports App, NFL+