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SUPER CRYSTAL BALL: THE PREDICTION
Will the Chiefs or the Eagles hoist the Lombardi Trophy?
Folks, the Super Bowl LVII stage is set - and set beautifully - in Glendale, Ariz. Yes, it’s almost time for Kansas City vs. Philadelphia. Game time is 6:30 pm ET on Fox.
Reid vs. Sirianni. Mahomes vs. Hurts. Kelce vs. Kelce. Two great franchises in two great cities. And that leads us to five important questions.
Which city’s fans are more passionate about their respective football team?
I’ve been fortunate to spend many days in these fine towns and they are two of my favorite places, especially when I’m joined by THE FAIR CLAUDINE and THE TRE MAN.
First there’s Kansas City, a place that TFC and I called home for 2 1/2 years and a longtime work destination for me. Then you’ve got Philadelphia, birthplace of my wife and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews. Their citizens bleed Chiefs red and Eagles midnight green.
In Kansas City, there’s a weekly thing called “Red Friday” during the season, where darn near every resident wears the franchise’s primary color to work. On gameday, the KC faithful are in the Arrowhead Stadium parking lot bright and early and, when they get to their seats, they make their voices heard. In fact, it’s the loudest sporting venue I’ve ever visited, and it is not close.
Meanwhile, in Philly, you can’t walk five feet without seeing the locals in Birds regalia, and that’s the case even when the team isn’t good. And the epic tailgates at Lincoln Financial Field are nothing to snicker at, either.
Bottom line: at day’s end, both of these fine cities are very passionate about their respective ballclubs so I’m calling this one a push.
Cheesesteaks or barbecue?
I enjoy these delicacies like TOMMY BIRD enjoys giving himself 10-foot gimme putts, but, if I must pick a winner, I’m rolling with cheesesteaks.
Please don’t hate me, ROCKHURST ROB. I love barbecue and believe Kansas City does it as well as anyone, but the cheesesteak is the perfect food because it is meat and cheese in a blanket of carbohydrates. And, as you know, eating carbs is one of my true life passions, right up there with writing Haikus and working in watercolors.
How can the Chiefs win?
Kansas City’s best path to victory: control the clock to limit the opportunities for Jalen Hurts & Co. That’s easier said than done, of course, but there is a roadmap.
Philadelphia marched through the first 19 games methodically, similar to how READE STREET RICH works his way through a box of Tastykakes. There was, however, one exception: the loss to my beloved Commanders in November.
In that game, the Commies ran the ball a staggering 49 times and kept possession for more than 40 minutes while limiting the Eagles to 47 total plays. Third- and fourth-down success was a big factor as Ron Rivera’s charges converted 13 such opportunities into first downs to keep Hurts and his mates on the sidelines.
Interestingly, being thumped by Washington turned into a positive for the Eagles as it prompted General Manager Howie Roseman to sign two stalwart defensive tackles that week: Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph. They solidified the interior and played a major role in getting Philadelphia to this point.
Still, if Reid and the Chiefs are willing to lean on their offensive line and patiently matriculate the ball down the field, that could mean trouble for Philly. Surely it is doable.
Kansas City was 11th in the NFL in time of possession (TOP) this year and, running behind that o-line, running back Isiah Pacheco can pound the rock. Of course, the Birds were eighth in TOP and love to run the ball themselves, so something has to give here.
How can the Eagles win?
Stay the course and rely upon their dominant, physical offensive and defensive lines. That’s it.
Who captures the Vince Lombardi Trophy?
I believe Philadelphia has been the best team in football this season and, though this is Coach Sirianni’s first trip to the big dance, the roster has guys like Jason Kelce and Brandon Graham who helped lead the team’s magical 2017 run to the title.
I also don’t think we’re looking at a mismatch on the sidelines, despite the 22-year delta in head coaching experience between Reid and Sirianni, now in his second year at the helm of the Eagles. From a historical perspective, I think back to 1982 when a second-year coach by the name of Joe Jackson Gibbs led Washington to the Super Bowl XVII title, beating Miami and their legendary leader, Don Shula. To me, the experience factor is overrated when you have got excellent players.
It’s also worth noting that, as great as Mahomes is, he has struggled in his two previous Super Bowl appearances, throwing two INTs in each game with a much lower completion percentage than he usually posts. That does not mean he’ll have a rough day against the Birds, but I don’t think he’ll put up big numbers either. Surely guys like RIGHT WING MATT and THE MAYOR OF KC will disagree.
Well, that brings us to THE GURU’S pick as the record sits at 175-106 (.623), including 8-4 (.667) in the playoffs after last week’s split. The eleventh-hour switch to the Chiefs saved my weekend.
Simply put, I’m going with the Birds. Let’s call it 30-27.
Thanks for reading this season, all, and I’ll be back with more stuff soon! Be well and God bless, y’all.