Around the Daily News sports department, we used to say we would want Andy Reid as the Eagles’ coach Monday through Saturday but never on Sunday.
Reid’s clock management is sketchy. He takes unnecessary timeouts. He gets too pass-happy. He forgets he has running backs. He tends to lose big games.
Of course, now the Chiefs’ coach has Patrick Mahomes, so he can win by throwing 50 times a game.
Remember this: Before the Eagles beat the Giants in the divisional playoff game, the Giants were the trendy pick coming off a win at Minnesota. Oh, Daniel Jones. Oh, Saquon Barkley, they said.
Before the Eagles beat the 49ers, the Niners were the world’s greatest team with an overpowering defense and a rookie quarterback experts were comparing to *Joe Montana*.
Well, after the Eagles beat the Niners, skeptics said it was because the Niners played their fourth-string quarterback.
But remember, when the Eagles scored four rushing touchdowns, it has nothing to do with San Francisco playing its fourth-string quarterback.
The Eagles are slight favorites in Sunday’s Super Bowl. Doesn’t mean much, right? The difference in the Super Bowl is that the Mahomes hype is real. He can break your heart. That’s his speciality.
3 PREDICTIONS YOU’LL LIKE
1. JALEN HURTS
All season, Hurts has been money — interesting for the guy who always talks about not leaving money on the table.
If the Eagles win, Hurts has to play well. The Eagles can’t win the Super Bowl with average quarterback play against a generational quarterback like Mahomes.
We don’t know the medical status of Hurts’ sprained shoulder. What we know: He’ll give everything he has. Same with Mahomes’ high ankle sprain.
We don’t know if inactivity will be a factor. Hurts has played three games in 56 days. The Eagles say his play won’t be restricted.
Hurts set an NFL record for quarterbacks with 15 rushing touchdowns. He also threw for 22 touchdowns. That’s an interesting stat because the Chiefs allowed 33 touchdown passes, four more than any other team.
Expect the Eagles to put up at least 30 points.
Mahomes already is one of the NFL’s all-time great quarterbacks. To doubt his ability is asking for trouble.
The confidence that the Eagles can beat the Chiefs comes from the pass rush and the subsequent turnovers that come from putting fierce pressure on Mahomes.
To put the most pressure on Mahomes, the Eagles first need to stop the Chiefs’ 20th-ranked running attack. Mahomes is going to put up points. Don’t allow him to put up 35. The Eagles’ defense is good enough to win this game.
3. EAGLES WIN
I like the Eagles’ chances. It’s not going to be easy but too many things have broken the right way for them this season. They are healthy. They are confident. It just feels like the Eagles’ season.
The most important part of the game will be the first quarter. If the Eagles can put together a sustained early drive and score a touchdown — field goals are for the regular season — several things happen.
Confidence grows. More pressure is dumped on the Chiefs and maybe the defense can take charge of the game.
You don’t want to play behind Mahomes. Get the lead, hold the lead, build the lead. The Eagles can do that in first quarter and first half. Eagles, 34-24.
3 PREDICTIONS YOU WON’T LIKE
1. PATRICK LAVON MAHOMES II
- “Patrick Mahomes, I don’t know if you can shut him down,” Eagles linebacker Haason Reddick said.
- “He’s going to make some plays. He’s just that good. But we think we’re good, too, and it’s going to be a great game.”
Reddick has 3.5 sacks in the postseason. He knocked Niners rookie quarterback Brock Purdy out of the NFC title game and recovered a fumble.
Mahomes will have to account for Reddick all game.
He will. He’s Patrick Mahomes.
Football Outsiders said the Eagles faced the second-easiest schedule of opposing offenses in the NFL.
Well, those days are over. The NFL’s second-ranked defense is facing its greatest challenge of the season in the top-ranked Chiefs offense. Sometimes, the best player in the game wins the game.
2. CHIEFS’ ROOKIES
The Chiefs were thought to be rebuilding this season, especially after they traded dynamic receiver Tyreek Hill.
But they have played their rookies 4,087 snaps — many in the defensive backfield. Eagles rookies have played 989 snaps.
Chiefs rookies have played at a championship level. Kansas City could have three rookies in the secondary against Hurts.
The rookies played well all season. They should be fine.
3. CHIEFS WIN
They have Mahomes. They have the Other Kelce.
Tight end Travis Kelce has caught 21 passes for 178 yards and three touchdowns in two playoff games. In his playoff career, Kelce has 127 receptions for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Kelce will put pressure on Eagles safeties and linebackers. Like Mahomes, the Eagles might not be able to stop him, only contain him.
We can see Travis having a huge game with big brother Jason watching from the other sideline. Chiefs, 31-30.