Chiefs or Eagles in Super Bowl 57? Favorite exists among USA TODAY Sports experts

The conclusion of the 2022 NFL regular season is hours away with Super Bowl 57 crowning a champion between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles. With the Chiefs’ Andy Reid facing the team he used to coach, Travis and Jason Kelce competing against each other and quarterbacks Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts also making history, there is no shortage of story lines to monitor. (And don’t forget Rihanna performing at the halftime show … and all the commercials.)

USA TODAY Sports writers and columnists predict the winner of Super Bowl 57 between the Chiefs and Eagles at State Farm Stadium on Sunday:

Jarrett Bell: Chiefs, 27-23

There’s no way that Andy Reid loses to his former team. OK, sure, there’s a way, which would be reminiscent of Super Bowl 55, when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers punished Patrick Mahomes with a relentless defense. The Eagles defense has the pieces – starting up front and including Haason Reddick – to dominate against a quarterback nursing a sore ankle.

Yet Mahomes is back in the Super Bowl with a better O-line than the last time as he triggers the NFL’s No. 1 offense. And he still has that magic … and a certain tight end target (Travis Kelce) who probably owes his big brother (Chiefs Eagles center Jason Kelce). No, we can’t sleep on emerging Eagles star Jalen Hurts. But Super Bowl 57 will bring a different type of challenge in trying to outduel Mahomes.

Chris Bumbaca: Chiefs, 27-24

The health of Mahomes will be a determining factor. Even on one leg, he is the best player in football. Facing the Eagles pass rush will be a different type of challenge for the Kansas City front, which had the best pass block win rate during the regular season. The Eagles have been the top team in the NFL from start to finish, but the Chiefs are battle-tested. The Eagles have played in two straight postseason blowouts. By the time the big game arrives, it will be more than five weeks since they played in a close game. With two weeks to scheme against his old team, Reid will have plenty of time to figure out how to neutralize the Philadelphia pass rush with Mahomes’ ankle still hurting.

Rookie running back Isiah Pacheco is peaking at the right time and could find some room to run against the Eagles’ rush defense. Travis Kelce will be zeroed-in upon, but the game’s top tight end usually finds a way to produce. Hurts is dealing with a shoulder injury of his own. The Chiefs will have to step up against the run and make Hurts beat them with his arm.

Admittedly, I’m feeling a touch like the proverbial hater. In truth, I admire how consistently good Philadelphia has been nearly all season. Yet the Eagles have not been tested in the playoffs. Give them credit for their dominance, while rolling through an overmatched team and over another that was handcuffed at quarterback for essentially the entirety of the NFC championship game. What happens when Philly gets in a dogfight with a squad that can go toe-to-toe, one that has an elite quarterback in Patrick Mahomes – the type, save Aaron Rodgers in a subpar year, the Eagles really haven’t faced this season?

Mahomes may have a rusty wheel but even injured, he’s more of a known commodity than Philly counterpart Jalen Hurts, whose health remains a bit of a mystery given how circumstances have largely shielded him in postseason. Give me the known commodity.

Safid Deen: Chiefs, 30-24

The Eagles have been the most consistent team all season, making the most of their relatively easy road to the Super Bowl, but they have not faced a team like the Chiefs all season. Mahomes, Reid and the Chiefs will have two weeks to get healthy and will win their second Super Bowl title to solidify their position in NFL history as the mighty Chiefs dynasty.

Tyler Dragon: Chiefs, 28-26

The Eagles were the most complete and consistent team throughout the year. Philadelphia controls the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The Eagles running game and pass rush are going to cause the Chiefs problems. But the Chiefs had the best offensive line in the AFC all season, and Chris Jones and the defensive line are disruptive as well. The biggest difference between the two teams is Patrick Mahomes. The Chiefs have the best player on the field at the most impactful position.

If Mahomes’ ankle continues to improve and the Chiefs wide receivers can get healthier, I think Kansas City will walk away with its second Super Bowl title in four seasons. It’s a big if, although, Mahomes’ performance on a gimpy ankle in the AFC championship game was reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s flu game in the NBA Finals. It’s hard to count out Mahomes and the Chiefs with a Lombardi Trophy on the line.

Lorenzo Reyes: Eagles, 23-21

Philadelphia is built to grind out games in the playoffs and can beat opponents in multiple ways. It all starts up front with the offensive line. The Eagles have the most complete unit in the NFL and — with the emergence of Kenneth Gainwell — feature four players who can get in open space in the ground game. And though star receivers A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith have been relatively quiet in the playoffs, they are both capable of explosive plays down the field against the Kansas City secondary that sometimes yields big plays in the passing game.

On defense, the Eagles are weakest in the middle of the field at linebacker, where Travis Kelce can exploit gaps in coverage. But on the whole, the Philadelphia secondary should be well equipped to cover Kansas City’s receivers long enough for the Eagles pass rush, led by Reddick, to make Mahomes uncomfortable. The health of those Kansas City wide receivers will be a concern, though the time off should help mitigate the lack of depth the Chiefs had late in the AFC championship game because of injuries.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Super Bowl 2023 picks: Clear favorite emerges for Chiefs, Eagles game

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