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Pigskin Pundit’s Picks: SUPER BOWL

After a grueling season of inconsistent football and heartbreaking losses, the field has finally been pared down to the same two teams most of us expected to see here, as though kismet is the undercurrent of the NFL. You had to be unconscious to not see how complete (and doggedly confident) the Eagles have been all season, from the head coach on down. Confidence comes from backing up your talk, and this team has gotten bolder as the year progressed, justifiably so. While the 49ers were victimized several times by asinine NFL refereeing garbage calls, they weren’t going to win that football game. If you want to beat Philly, Job 1 is to slow down that historic pass rush. They broke repeatedly like a tsunami against that O-line of San Fran, and knocked TWO quarterbacks out of the game. Dominance is what you call that. The Niners never really had a prayer after that. The insult to injury was the plethora of ticky-tack and phantom penalties the stupid refs piled on top of them, making it appear to be a home-field advantage. Roger Goodell needs to spend a little more of his very expensive time on the quality of the game and not so much on being woke and making 32 billionaires richer off tv deals.

The Chiefs are the Chiefs. As long as Reid, Mahomes and Kelce are together, this team is going to be in the fast lane to the late playoff rounds, reminiscent of the Brady/Belichick dominance in New England. Some combos are just lethal every year, and this club is one of those. The real kicker to KC’s late round success, in my opinion, is what Steve ‘Satan’ Spagnuolo is able to do with his defenses. I call him the Dark Lord of Defense with affectionate admiration, because he is always able to scheme up some wicked devilry to make his available talent better than they are in the biggest games.

I pulled for and picked Cincinnati to knock off the Chiefs again because of their stalwart defense, which then didn’t show up in the championship game. Kelce shredded them and several times was alone in the end zone after beating SINGLE coverage! The Bengals held him to NOTHING in their previous matchups, but in this game they let him be Travis Kelce. I’m at a loss as to why they failed at the single most important job in that game. Here we are, so let’s break it down.

Passing game: Mahomes is healthy enough to be at or close to full capacity. He is a lethal passer, whether in full gallop, pocket-poised, or flicking out quick strikes to the flats to avoid a heavy rush. We should see a lot of the latter, as the Eagle rush needs no introduction. Where KC will struggle is with their wideouts getting open. The Hyphen Brothers (Valdes-Scantling & Smith-Schuster) are good, not great receivers. The chances of rookie Skyy Moore breaking the game open are very slim, and Hardman is injured. McKinnon is an enticing target, but better watch out for those Eagle LBs. Kelce will not have the same space to operate that the Bengals afforded him.

Hurts’ impressive mobility tends to overshadow his passing ability, which should not be ignored. He has a strong, accurate arm, can also let it fly on the fly like Mahomes, and has top-quality targets in A.J. Brown, Devonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. Advantage: Eagles.

Running game: While both QBs are highly mobile, high ankle sprains don’t just disappear. When we see Mahomes run in this game, it will likely be necessary, not planned. Doesn’t mean he isn’t just as dangerous, and the main concern for that ankle is reinjury, not impairment. Hurts will scoot also, planned and unplanned. Philly has the One-Two punch of ‘Hundred’ Miles Sanders and Kenneth ‘Likely to’ Gainwell, with a little Boston ‘Tea Party’ Scott thrown in. That’s a lot to cover, and if Philly wants to pound the ball to control clock or just wear down the Chiefs, they have the backfield to do it. Andy Reid has Jerick McKinnon, who is decent if he can find holes, and late rookie phenom Isiah Pacheco, who has been electrifying in the second half of the season. The return of Edwards-Helaire is not likely to factor here, nor are the labors of Ronald Jones. Philly has piled up the yardage this season with their run-first offense. Advantage: Eagles.

Defense: Chris Jones has had one of those seasons, losing DPY narrowly to Nick Bosa. He seems to get better as he goes. The Chiefs D-backs also have improved late season, as Spags keeps finding ways to hide weaknesses and amplify strengths. KC is better now than they have been all season, but the team’s strategy still relies on outscoring the other guy to win. This is where the Eagles come in. They have been very good to scary good as the season progressed, and that win over the Niners was more like a horror movie than a football game. Wave after wave of giant, angry green monsters ripping through the offensive line and demolishing quarterbacks should have alarm bells clanging in Kansas City. Even Ndamukong Suh (isn’t he retired?) got a sack in the NFC championship game. Haason Reddick was unstoppable, and he knew it. If, and I mean if…Mahomes gets time to throw from a clean pocket, he will find little to throw at. That Eagle secondary of Slay, Scott, Bradberry, Gardner-Johnson, Wallace et al are a no-fly zone. I won’t belabor the point. Defense does win championships. Advantage: Eagles.

Special teams: Both kicking games are solid, under pressure. I don’t think it will come down to kicking. Advantage: Even.

Coaching: I will give Andy Reid the benefit here, with a very seasoned staff of clever pros, where nobody is overawed by the moment. The Big Stage changes nothing with these veterans, and while Rihanna is singing or whatever it is she does at halftime, they will be calmly scheming an end-game scenario in the locker room. The Chiefs are NEVER out of a game at half time….never.

Sirianni and his crew have had a great season, mostly due to great players, so we will see how them perform on the biggest stage. I think they are up to the task, but this is their first trip, and small mistakes don’t remain small in games like this. Advantage: Chiefs.

As good as Kansas City is, I don’t see how they are going to overcome a Philly team that has a historic defense, well-balanced offense, and the momentum of a runaway freight train. Philly believes in themselves…you can see it and feel it. The Chiefs have played down to their opposition all season, a troubling habit that may be a commentary on how good they think they are. The last thing I’m going to throw in here has nothing whatsoever to do with football…..but in the last 6 days, I have seen 4 separate bald eagles in different locations. Here in NH bald eagles aren’t an uncommon sight, but four in less than a week in cold midwinter is NOT common. I’m putting it into the sausage maker for this week’s pick.

Eagles fly, while Chiefs cry.

Thanks for another great season!
-Pigskin Pundit (Nathan Clark)

Nathan Clark

Nathan Clark is a conservative commentator who resides with his wife in New Hampshire. He is passionate about preserving the vision of our nation's Founders and advancing those tried and true principles deep into America's future. His interests range broadly from flyfishing, cooking and shooting to pro sports, gardening, live music and fine-scale modeling.