Shootout Or Slugfest?
ITB: Super Bowl LVII Could Be Decided In Myriad Ways
Super Bowl LVII has arrived as the Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs will compete in a matchup between the NFL’s two best teams.
On the latest episode of Inside The Birds, Adam Caplan and Geoff Mosher previewed Sunday’s matchup and shared final score predictions.
Adam Caplan: “He is a major focus in the run game. Miles Sanders’ success comes off of RPOs and Hurts. The teams not being sure where he’s going to go, and he does such a great job of hiding the football that they don’t know if he’s handing off or going to run…I think Hurts will be fine. I don’t buy this, ‘Is the moment going to be too big for him because he didn’t look great in the last couple of games?’ First of all, he didn’t have to throw to win. He’s mentally tough. My only issue is, if you’re going to put it on him to throw a lot, you just can’t get so caught up in it. Don’t try to keep up with Andy Reid, just run your offense…Run your offense, but check the game flow. If the Chiefs are not stopping the run, keep going with it, but throw off your run game because they’re going to drop a safety in the box. If they’re not stopping the run, when they drop that safety, bombs away.”
Geoff Mosher: “The Eagles will have four different options of what they want to do on almost any given play, especially when they’re in RPO mode. They’re either going to run the ball with the running back, run the ball with the quarterback, they’re going to throw a tunnel screen, or if it’s press coverage on the outside they’re going to be able to throw it to DeVonta Smith or A.J. Brown. This is how the Eagles catch teams that are good out of position, like they did to the 49ers. Now, sometimes they have played against some fronts that dictated what Jalen would do with the football. That will be the chess match. Will [Chiefs defensive coordinator Steve] Spagnuolo say every time they’re in the shotgun formation, he’s going to crash one of their edge defenders where he thinks the run is going and then make Jalen keep it and then loop his safety or linebacker around to try to stop him?”
Caplan: “Willie Gay’s a downhill linebacker, a thumper. He’s a good football player. But the Eagles run defense, which was much maligned in the first half of the season, is just better. The Chiefs are not a good run defense. They’re very average, you can run against them.”
Mosher: “A.J. Brown needs to be, and probably very much will be, a bigger part of this game than he has in the last two games. It’s hard to see Brown come out of this game with like four catches for 36 yards. He has great matchups, they’re going to recognize it from the start, and it wouldn’t surprise me if you saw a shot play really early on the first possession.”
Caplan: “[CB] Trent McDuffie is a competitive kid, but he’s also small. With A.J. Brown, this is such an advantage, I’m going to make this guy earn his money as a rookie. I’m going after him.”
Caplan: “If I’m the Chiefs, I’m putting Chris Jones over Lane Johnson. I have to put my best pass rusher on him. You have to make Lane Johnson move.”
Caplan: “He’s not blitzing as much as he has before, but he selectively blitzes. He’ll go heavy overload. He’s going to try to find something.”
Mosher: “Andy [Reid] is going to have a plan to deal with Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat, and it’s not just going to be, ‘My guys are going to block them.’ They expect to move Patrick Mahomes outside the pocket a lot, they expect a lot of quick game and screens.”
Mosher: “Travis Kelce is not your conventional route-runner. He’s so good at freelancing, improvising and finding spaces in the zone based on where he should be. Patrick Mahomes and him are on such a great wavelength together, that’s why every defensive coordinator says they’re going to draw a red circle on Travis Kelce and the man still comes out with eight to 10 catches and two touchdowns.”
Caplan: “They cannot allow the backbreaking seam passes with him. It never ceases to amaze me when teams play zone. Cover 3- and Cover 4-beaters are tight ends, left hash and right hash or deep middle. Greg Cosell said to me he’s pretty convinced it’s going to be C.J. Gardner Johnson. Gardner-Johnson is an amazing football player, he had to learn his defense on the fly this season, but that’s a tough matchup for me. Gardner-Johnson’s under 5-11. I think a bracket could be smart. I’m not worried about the Chiefs receivers, it starts with Kelce, you’re not going to stop him but control him. I’ll take 11 or 12 yards per catch, but the backbreaking catches demoralize a defense.”
Final Score Prediction
Caplan: “It’s going to be a tight one. I have it Chiefs 27, Eagles 30.”
Mosher: “I will say this: I came to Arizona thinking the Eagles will be up by three or five in the fourth quarter and then score a touchdown with about eight minutes to go and really put pressure on the Chiefs by going up 10 points. I thought that all along, but now I think Andy will have more of a plan to combat what the Eagles will do well than I anticipated. I do think the Eagles are going to win, but I think it will be close as well. I think the Eagles win 36-30.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
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