Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs Return to Bowl as Underdogs
If things go KC’s way, Isiah Pacheco could have a big game Sunday. (USA Today Sports Images)
It’s rare footage to see the Kansas City Chiefs as an underdog, and even the though handicap is slim — they’re currently 1.5-point ‘dogs against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII as per FanDuel — it still feels strange.
In the days leading up to Sunday’s big game, here are some Chief-related stories we’re following…
The Andy Reid Effect
KC Head Coach Andy Reid — who apparently is not missing wide receiver Tyreek Hill very much — has his fingerprints all over this game.
Appearing in his fourth Super Bowl (third with the Chiefs), Reid has earned the second most coaching wins in KC history (116), trailing only Frank Stram. Oh, did we mention that Reid is also the winningest coach in Eagle history with 130 victories (and one trip to the Super Bowl)?
Even if his tenure as Philadelphia’s head coach ended over a decade ago, his legacy is cemented with both franchises.
Will Isiah Pacheco Run Wild?
KC rookie running back Isiah Pacheco has been nothing if not inconsistent in recent weeks. He enjoyed a big game in the season finale against the Raiders (64 yards rushing, one touchdown), and then followed that up by steamrolling the Jaguars for 95 yards in the AFC Divisional Round.
However, Pacheco was held to just 26 yards on 10 carries by the Bengals in the AFC Championship game. Sure, he’s got a fan in former star KC RB Jamaal Charles, but which Pacheco will show up on Sunday?
Philadelphia doesn’t have many weaknesses, but it’s allowed opponents to rush for 4.6 yards per carry (24th in the NFL). That’s great news for Pacheco’s chances of having a very efficient showing. Expect KC to try to run the ball as much it can to take exploit this deficiency — especially given the Eagles’ strength against the pass. Despite the fact that, as per the video below, he’s still “soaking it all in,” we can see him topping 50 yards in the Super Bowl, but it’s unlikely he’ll find paydirt.
Stopping Travis Kelce
In recent weeks, KC tight end Travis Kelce has been held in check in terms of big gains, although things have gotten better each game since he managed just 43 yards receiving despite 10 catches on New Year’s Day. Philly’s game plan will likely mirror all KC opponents by focusing on preventing major damage by Kelce.
Even so, he’s drawing plenty of bettor interest for scoring the game’s first touchdown, scoring a touchdown any time, or winning Super Bowl MVP honours. It’s clear that many believe Kelce is going to score and potentially have a huge game regardless of how hard the Eagles will try to limit him.
How’s Patrick Mahomes’ Ankle?
Speaking of taking home the MVP award, KC QB Patrick Mahomes is among the most likely recipient despite the fact his ankle is still not 100 per cent. When we last checked in on him, he was getting ready to take on Joe Burrow in Week 13 in the battle of the top two young quarterbacks in the NFL.
And while you can argue that Mahomes had a slight edge in that game (even though Cincy won), he wound up suffering a high ankle sprain in the Chiefs’ playoff opener against Jacksonville. Not surprisingly, Mahomes wasn’t quite as effective in the AFC title game against Cincy (sacked three times with a completion rate of just 67.4 per cent). Even so, calling that a bad game is inaccurate. He was much better than expected and performed pretty much in line with what we’d come to expect from him this season.
The good news is that Mahomes says his right ankle is “definitely in a better spot” than it was against the Bengals a week and a half ago. He’s still getting treatment on the injury, but doesn’t anticipate it will limit him in the game. That bodes well for the Chiefs, but that doesn’t mean this issue is over and done with. This bears watching to see how well Mahomes is moving around on Sunday.
RotoRob Tune of the Day
The remnants of hardcore punk band the Young Aborgines ultimately became the Beastie Boys. Here’s another track from Beastie Boys’ 1999 compilation album Beastie Boys Anthology: The Sounds of Science, which included greatest hits, B-sides and previously unreleased tracks. This is “Railroad Blues,” originally released on Mike D‘s album Country Mike’s Greatest Hits.