X-Factor Matchups for Super Bowl LVII


February 8

Super Bowl LVII is days away, with plenty of key matchups and X-factors to watch. Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts are the obvious X-factors for each team, but this game will be won or lost much deeper. 

  • Eagles Defensive Line vs. Chiefs Offensive Line

I’m tired of hearing talk about how the 49ers were helpless against the Eagles because their quarterbacks went out. That’s a soft and incorrect narrative. The Eagles put them out of the game because the 49ers’ offensive line could not do enough to protect their quarterback. Kansas City has one of the league’s best offensive lines, but let’s not act like San Francisco isn’t right up there with them. Philly has eight sacks this postseason after totaling 70 in the regular season, becoming the first team with four players recording double-digit sacks. The Chiefs will have their hands full with Mahomes’s health on the line. Stopping the Eagles won’t happen. This defensive front comes in waves with a deep rotation, offering fresh legs for all four quarters. Haason Reddick has stolen the show, but Philly has plenty of weapons capable of wrecking the game. All the Chiefs can do is hope to buy enough time to pull through.

  • Chris Jones vs. Eagles Offensive Line

Chris Jones was the best player on the field against the Bengals in the AFC Championship. He bullied the Bengals’ offensive line and set the tone for the entire game. The Chiefs don’t win that game without Jones. Enter the Eagles’ offense line, which is widely regarded as the best unit in football. They had their share of bullying last Sunday when they wrecked the 49ers’ defensive line and will be well-schemed to defend against Jones. Can Chris Jones do enough to make his presence known? Well, that could make or break the Chiefs’ quest for the Lombardi Trophy.

  • Travis Kelce vs. Whoever

It’s hard to be overly confident heading into the Super Bowl because it’s not supposed to be easy, but the Eagles’ star-studded defensive front should not be intimidated by the Chiefs’ run game. Philadelphia has studs on the outside to relatively limit the Chiefs’ wide receivers. Then leaves Travis Kelce, who no team has been able to defend. He will get his; that’s a lock. It’s just a matter of how much he makes Philly hurt. Kyzir White and T.J. Edwards are respectable in coverage as linebackers, but they’ll need safety help from C.J. Gardner-Johnson or Avonte Maddox.

Thumbnail photo via Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

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