The NFL’s conference championship Sunday had one lousy game in 49ers-Eagles and one thriller that went down to the wire in Bengals-Chiefs with Philadelphia and Kansas City advancing to Super Bowl LVII.
What did we learn from the two league title games?
Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles
Sunday, February 12, 2023 – 06:30 PM EST at State Farm Stadium
History will be made in Super Bowl 57 as it will be the first time brothers will face off as players: Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, a future Hall of Famer, and Philadelphia Eagles center Jason Kelce, a potential Hall of Famer himself as a five-time All-Pro. Travis Kelce is the early +650 favorite to score the game’s first TD at the top-rated books.
Obviously, the Kelces won’t be on the field at the same time until pre-game and afterward. Which team do the Kelce parents root for? After the conference title games Sunday, mom Donna Kelce tweeted #HeightsHighandUCBearcatSuperBowl”—a reference to both sons attending Cleveland Heights High School and the University of Cincinnati.
“It’s your hopes and dreams coming true, but it’s your worst fears,” Donna said of both reaching the Super Bowl. “Somebody is going to go home a loser, and neither one of them lose very well.”
Meanwhile, Chiefs coach Andy Reid coached the Eagles from 1999-2012 and will become the fifth head coach to coach against his former team in the Super Bowl. The previous four went 2-2. It last happened in the 2014 season when Pete Carroll and the Seahawks lost to the Patriots (but should have won).
Reid is 3-0 straight up and against the Eagles as Chiefs head coach. KC won 42-30 in Philly in Week 4 of the 2021 season in the last meeting behind five Patrick Mahomes TD passes. Three of those went to Tyreek Hill, who is now in Miami.
Kansas City, in the Super Bowl for the third time in four years (1-1 previous two), opened at -1 but now Philadelphia—the designated home team—is -2 at the top online sportsbooks with a total of 50.
Early Action On Eagles
Thus far in these playoffs, favorites are 9-3 straight up and 6-6 against the spread—both winning and covering in the conference title games. Under are 7-5. Favorites are 37-19 straight up and 28-26-2 against the spread in Super Bowl history. Only seven times has the losing team covered the spread. It did happen last year with the Bengals 23-20 at +4 vs. the LA Rams.
Early action at BetMGM is heavy on the Eagles with 66% of bets and 69% of money. In Pennsylvania, 81% of money is on the Eagles. In Kansas, 80% on the Chiefs (even though they play in Missouri). As an underdog, KC quarterback Patrick Mahomes is 6-3 SU and 7-1-1 ATS in his career. On Sunday, Mahomes became the youngest QB in NFL history to reach 10 career playoff wins.
This will be the first Super Bowl in three years where a team isn’t playing the big game in its own stadium. The Bucs beat the Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 in Tampa, and the Rams beat the Bengals in SB 56 in Los Angeles. Both Kansas City and Philadelphia did win at State Farm Stadium in the regular season over the lousy Arizona Cardinals.
Big Total For Top Offenses
This could be one of the highest-scoring Super Bowls of all time with a total of 50. Kansas City (29.1 ppg) led the AFC in points per game and Philadelphia (28.1) led the NFC. Both teams scored exactly 546 points in the regular season and playoffs combined this season. It’s the seventh Super Bowl matchup between top-scoring offenses (PPG) in each conference.
The Chiefs led the NFL in passing TDs with 41 in the regular season, and the Eagles topped with 32 rush TDs. It’s only the second Super Bowl matchup between the passing TD team leader and the rushing TD team leader (1991 Buffalo vs Washington).
Still, this total will not approach the record of 57.5 in Super Bowl 51 between the Patriots and the Falcons, which New England won 34-28 in overtime. The past four Super Bowls have landed under the total.
Chiefs Are Banged Up
Philadelphia caught a major break in the NFC title game when it knocked out 49ers starting QB Brock Purdy in the first quarter with an elbow injury and then also KO’d backup Josh Johnson with a possible concussion later in the game. Frankly, the Niners had no chance once Purdy left. Philly got out of the game healthy.
The big story entering the AFC title game was Mahomes’ ankle injury, and he definitely was walking gingerly at times vs. Cincinnati but ran 4 yards for a first down in the final seconds and also drew a personal foul penalty that led to the game-winning field goal. Having the bye week will only help Mahomes, but his wide receiving corps could be a major question mark.
Kadarius Toney left the game with an ankle injury in the first half, Mecole Hardman left after aggravating a pelvis injury that had kept him out since Week 9, and JuJu Smith-Schuster left with a knee injury. Smith-Schuster would be the biggest loss as he had 78 catches for 933 yards and three scores in the regular season. Cornerback L’Jarius Sneed and linebacker Willie Gay also left against the Bengals.
It’s too early to know which of those might miss the Super Bowl, but that extra week off is clearly needed for Kansas City. Reid had no updates on Monday.