For all the marbles

Super Bowl preview and predictions


Photo by Zach Bollinger.

Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes contorts his body to avoid a sack in a 20-17 loss vs. the Colts on Sept. 25, 2022.

AFC #1 Chiefs vs NFC #1 Eagles 

Feb 12

6:30 p.m. EST


    The Super Bowl annually draws 100 million or more eyes and is one of the most celebrated days in the United States each year. According to Nielsen Media Research, the Super Bowl has accounted for 30 of the top 32 most-watched television broadcasts in the United States, with the anomalies being the famous 1983 finale of M*A*S*H and the 2016 presidential debates. With this much viewership, the game is often worth the hype, with just four games this century being decided by more than two possessions. This year should be no different as we are treated with the league’s best scoring offense, led by former league Most Valuable Player (MVP) Patrick Mahomes, going head-to-head with the third-best scoring offense, led by the rushing attack of Jalen Hurts and running back Miles Sanders. Both teams earned the top seed in their conference, each having a win-loss record of 14-3 during the regular season. Although, the AFC and NFC championship games on Jan. 29 could not have been more different from each other. The Kansas City Chiefs prevailed in the waning seconds of their game against the Cincinnati Bengals, winning 23-20 despite a lackluster rushing attack of merely 26 yards by running back Isiah Pacheco. The Philadelphia Eagles; however, had some smooth sailing against the San Francisco 49ers, resulting in a 31-7 win. The Eagles were not perfect in their victory, though, as Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts had a season-low 121 passing yards, aided by injuries to both 49ers quarterbacks Brock Purdy and Josh Johnson. For the Chiefs, outside the poor rushing attack, their offense was clicking behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes and wide receiver Marquez Valding-Scantling but was also assisted by some errant passes by Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow that became interceptions. However, these outcomes did put me at 0-2 for the week and 7-5 overall on my predictions throughout the playoffs. 

    According to ProFootballReference, each team overachieved this season, as the Chiefs were predicted to win 10.5 games while the Eagles were slated at 9.5. Although each team has the same record, the roads to get to this point could not have been more different. The Chiefs are right on their projected path. Since entering the league, Patrick Mahomes has made the conference championship each year and has been to two Super Bowls, beating the 49ers in 2020 and losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021. Even before Mahomes, head coach Andy Reid had an abundance of success in Kansas City. Since parting ways with the Eagles after 14 seasons in 2013, Reid has made the playoffs in eight straight seasons and has five straight seasons of at least 12 wins. Prior to the season, the Chiefs had the third-best odds to win the Super Bowl. They are supposed to be here and have proved it with an impressive offensive outburst of nearly 30 points per game and another impressive year by Mahomes as he threw for a career-best 5,250 yards, a league-high 41 touchdowns and tacked on an extra 358 rushing yards and another career-best four rushing touchdowns. Mahomes was aided by the efforts of tight end Travis Kelce and wide receiver Juju Smith-Schuster throughout the season. His favorite weapon, Kelce, had seven games this season with 10 or more targets, including 17 targets in their 27-20 win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in their divisional round victory. On the season, Kelce had 1,300 receiving yards to pair with career highs of 110 catches and 12 touchdowns. Smith-Schuster was in the midst of an epic career collapse in Pittsburgh before he had a resurgence this season behind the right arm of Patrick Mahomes. The high-powered Chiefs offense brought him back to life as he had 78 catches for 933 yards on the season, despite having just 12 targets in the last five games combined. The Chiefs have the history, talent and overall franchise track record to be where they are right now. 

    In nearly opposite fashion, the Eagles have a third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts pairing with second-year head coach Nick Sirianni. Despite winning the Super Bowl just five years ago in 2017, there is hardly anyone remaining from that underdog squad. Offensively the only remaining starters are offensive linemen Jason Kelce and Lane Johnson. While defensively, they still have defensive linemen Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham, while also retaining kicker Jake Elliot. So, how can a team win the Super Bowl, have a complete roster overhaul and be back in the same spot in the span of five years while having just one losing season in the meantime? The answer is general manager Howie Roseman who did not become complacent with mediocrity and fired his Super Bowl winning coach, Doug Pederson after he went 4-11-1 in 2020. Sirianni came in and immediately saw a five-win improvement in 2021, but no one could predict the jump that he and the Eagles managed to pull off this year. As they had just the 12th-best preseason odds to win the Super Bowl, which was worse than teams like the Buccaneers, Rams, Packers, Broncos, Ravens and Colts. One big reason for the influx of scoring, wins and passing yards for Hurts and the Eagles were the additions of wide receivers AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith. Brown was a pro bowl receiver with the Tennessee Titans before a falling out resulted in him being traded to the Eagles where he had the best season of his career by far with 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns. Drafted by the Eagles 2021, the former Heisman winner increased his yardage and scoring as he looks to join an elite club of players to win the Heisman Trophy, national championship and Super Bowl. However, I just do not think the cards are in the Eagles’ favor this year.

    The Eagles’ time will be coming very soon, but they just do not have the experience to defeat this veteran team who knows how to win. Although the Chiefs have been in more close contests on the way to the big game, they have been resilient against better competition, and I have them winning in an instant classic. With big games from Mahomes, Kelce, and the young secondary of L’Jarius Sneed, Juan Thornhill and Jaylen Watson, the Chiefs are used to being on the big stage and it will show come crunch time despite valiant efforts from Hurts and Brown. Chiefs 35 Eagles 31. 

    The final score is just one part of the puzzle. The big game comes with some fun prop bets that my family likes to have a friendly competition with. So, here are my quick picks for the props.


Most Valuable Player (MVP)

Quarterback Patrick Mahomes

    The odds of a quarterback winning Super Bowl MVP used to be much higher until recently. According to ESPN, there have been four non-quarterbacks who have won the award over the last ten years, including last year’s recipient, Cooper Kupp. However, if the Chiefs want to win this game, Mahomes will need to have a big game and even if Kelce has a brilliant game as well the tie-breaker will go to Mahomes. 


National Anthem Length

Over Two Minutes

    Country singer Chris Stapleton will be singing the National Anthem prior to kick-off this year. Stapleton once sang his four-minute song, “Tennessee Whiskey,” for nine minutes straight and will easily have a long rendition of the National Anthem as well.


Coin Toss

Eagles win with tails

    The winner of the coin toss has not won the Super Bowl since 2014, and tails never fails. 


First offensive play


    No matter the team starting with the ball, I think both coaches will try to set the tone up front with a run.


Team to score first 


    Whether they get the ball first or they rely on a defensive stop, I think the maturity of the Chiefs team will show early on in the game with a quick lead.


Quarterback to throw for 300+ yards?


    Like I said, Mahomes will need a big day to win and the 300-yard benchmark will get him the win he needs. 


Total Interceptions

Over 1.5

    Between the volume of attempts Mahomes will have and the inexperience of Hurts, I have them each throwing one interception for a total of two on the night. 


Kelce family mentioned on broadcast

Over 4.5

    The Kelce brothers, Travis and Jason, are playing against each other on Sunday, and their mother may have five mentions herself. 


Gatorade shower

Orange color

    Last time the Chiefs won the Super Bowl, they dumped orange Gatorade on Andy Reid and they will follow suit on Sunday despite red being the primary team color. 


Quarterback reception 


    Both teams have creative play-callers in Eric Bieniemy and Shane Steichen who can get tricky at times, so surely one of them has the guts to pull off a fun trick play, right?


First touchdown scorer 

Travis Kelce

    If the Chiefs are in a position to score first, there is no one else they have been going to in big situations other than Kelce and he has been the first scorer in each of their playoff games this season. 


Total points

Over 50 points 

    This will be a high-scoring affair and the defenses can still play well while giving up some scores. 


    This season has flown by, so make sure you remember to enjoy these last couple hours of NFL football while you can.