Q&A: Birds Have Better Roster, Should Hoist Lombardi Again
The Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs have earned their spots in the Super Bowl thanks to elite coaching and talent.
The question is: Where does each team have an advantage?
On the latest “Q&A” podcast on Inside The Birds, former Eagles standouts Jason Avant and Quintin Mikell gave a full preview of Super Bowl LVII and shared their final score predictions.
Jason Avant: “The Eagles are superior in every position group except for quarterback and tight end. Jalen (Hurts) is playing at an MVP level, but because of Mahomes’ record, stat line and Super Bowl pedigree, you have to give the edge to Kansas City in that regard. Travis Kelce is going to go down as a top-five tight end to ever play this game and Dallas Goedert is a young, emerging tight end who is going to make multiple Pro Bowls. But Kansas City has that advantage. Every other position group, the Eagles are better in: offensive and defensive line, corners, safeties, linebackers is pretty close but I think we’re better in. Our receiver core is better than their revolving door. Our running back room is better. That’s where the Eagles can dominate this game.”
Avant: “Here’s the shakiest area: the Chiefs’ coaching experience is so drastic in comparison to the Eagles’, when you talk about (Chiefs DC) Steve Spagnuolo and (Special Teams Coordinator) Dave Toub, even Andy [Reid] as an offensive coordinator/head coach. You’re talking almost 60 years of experience. Michael Clay, our special teams coordinator; Jonathan Gannon; Shane Steichen; our guys have like six years. Devising the game plan, understanding this, and having some Super Bowl pedigree within the coaching ranks is definitely advantage Chiefs. If this game is close, the Chiefs will win. That’s what coaching usually does. But the thing is, I don’t think the game will be close.”
Quintin Mikell: “Both offenses are going to put up points. This game is going to come down to both defensive coordinators and how they choose to attack. I already know for a fact [Steve] Spagnuolo’s going to bring the house, do Double-A-gap blitzes, zone blitzes, man blitzes. He has an attack-first type of mentality. On the other hand with Gannon, the thing I am most nervous about is his reluctance to change up looks, add blitzes and add pressure. Even if the Eagles have a 14-point lead, you cannot call the dogs off against this team because they are going to keep chucking it and keep attacking no matter what the score is. If the Eagles, on third downs, are able to win half of them against Travis Kelce and force Mahomes to look somewhere else, I think the Eagles have a chance.”
Avant: “I had the pleasure of breaking down the Chiefs’ offense. These are the same plays that Reid ran in Philadelphia. The difference is [Mahomes] can do more, he can see more. Coach Reid has three ways to neutralize the pass rush, because that’s where the game can be won for Philadelphia. Number one, he’s going to screen them to death: Travis Kelce, (Isiah) Pacheco, receiver screens. And I’m talking about a variety of different screens; middle screens, shovel passes, TE screens, bootleg throwback screens, tunnel screens. The second way is that he moves the pocket, even to this day with Mahomes. Our system, when we watch the Eagles, we don’t see sprint-outs right or left much. You will see sprints and bootlegs, mainly sprints where his back is not turned, to get it out as quick as he can. He’ll do it eight to 10 times a game if need be. And then max protection. Andy will chip with everybody, the running backs, the tight ends. You saw it in the past two games, eight-man protections and two people out on the route. Haason Reddick’s going to see two or three people when he’s rushing”
Avant: “I’m curious to see how Spagnuolo is going to play Jalen Hurts. That’ll be huge. It can’t be what the 49ers did and use somebody as a spy, I think it has to be what the Bears did: send the defensive end for the ball carrier and loop people back to the quarterback. The defensive end would come down and crash the running back and then the rest of the defensive linemen were stunting the opposite way toward the QB and the linebackers could scrape over the top.”
Mikell: “If you see the Eagles start off in the pistol formation, they’re doing that because a lot of teams will set their stunts based off of where the RB is. If the RB is offset to the QB’s left, they already know they’re forcing a pull and slanting away from the back. What [the offense] is doing when they’re in pistol is making sure the team cannot set their fronts and stunts.”
Chiefs CBs vs Eagles WRs
Avant: “When you look at the guys playing this game, [Chiefs corner] Trent McDuffie’s a young guy, L’Jarius Sneed is questionable, Jaylen Watson has been playing a bunch for them. A lot of these guys are very young and they’re going to be asked to stick A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith. I just don’t see that being a long-term solution. Here’s the thing though: against the Bengals, the DC decided to bracket J’Marr Chase on third downs and critical situations. If he was outside, he was bracketed. And then everyone else was man-to-man and the safety was in the middle. The guys on the opposite side, if they won, it made the game easier. If A.J. Brown comes out and is destroying somebody, you’re going to see them bracket A.J. Brown, which leaves one-on-one with everyone else. The only problem with that type of defense is you have Jalen Hurts, who can win the game by running the football.”
Mikell: “They’re going to have to use some kind of bracket coverage at some point. Maybe it’s only on third down or certain situations. Knowing Spags, he might say for one play we can live with a one-on-one outside with A.J., but we notice on certain downs and formations, they like to go to DeVonta [Smith], so he could be bracketed. Dallas Goedert could end up being bracketed. But I do think they’re going to have to because there’s no way that, in certain situations, they’ll be able to hold up for a full game with these young corners all across the board.”
Final Score Prediction
Avant: “My prediction is the Eagles will win this football game, 33-24.”
Mikell: “I have the Eagles winning 28-21. It’s going to be relatively high scoring, but these defenses are going to be so uptight and locked in, it’s not going to be a crazy high scoring game.”
– Benjamin Paul is a staff writer for InsideTheBirds.com.
Listen to the latest “Q&A” podcast featuring former Eagles standouts Quintin Mikell and Jason Avant:
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