By: Alex Yu
The Super Bowl is finally here! I think most can agree that both teams have earned their chance at a championship. In this article, I’ll give my top ten players in the Super Bowl, position group comparisons, as well as the predictions from me and other WSUM sports team members! Super Bowl LVII will kick off at 6:30 pm EST on February 12th at the State Farm Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. I’ll start by going over my top ten players in the game.
10. Creed Humphrey (C, Chiefs) – When Creed Humphrey was drafted with the 63rd overall pick by the Chiefs, he made an immediate impact. Humphrey allowed only one sack in 2021, after the Kansas City needed quick offensive line help following their Super Bowl loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He has now been graded in the 90s each year he’s played according to PFF. Although still under the radar to some, I see Creed Humphrey quickly making a name for himself in the next few seasons.
9. Orlando Brown (LT, Chiefs) – With all the talent in this matchup, it feels almost criminal to put Orlando Brown at 9. He has proved to be another huge asset for the Chiefs’ offensive line overhaul. Brown has earned a Pro Bowl nod for the fourth straight season and has shown no signs of slowing down. The 6-foot-8, 340-pound lineman has been a monster in run blocking and has also posted a pass block win rate of 89.6% in his time with the Chiefs.
8. AJ Brown (WR, Eagles) – The Eagles needed a true #1 wide receiver entering the 2022-2023 season. Devonta Smith was a nice piece to add two seasons ago but has now been overshadowed by AJ Brown’s dominance this season. Brown racked up 1,496 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns, which were both career highs. The former Tennessee Titan quickly became Jalen Hurts’ new favorite target. Brown has also been almost automatic catching deep balls this season and ranks 4th in the league averaging 17 yards per reception.
7. Haason Reddick (LB, Eagles) – Now on his third NFL team in three seasons, Haason Reddick is playing better than ever. Reddick recorded a career high 16 sacks this season, the second most in the NFL. He has also forced 5 fumbles, which is the most in the league. The former Temple walk-on didn’t finish as a DPOY candidate, but hasn’t let that slow him down in the postseason. With 3.5 sacks in only two playoff games, Reddick will prove to be a difference maker in the biggest game of his career and is my dark horse to win Super Bowl MVP.
6. Chris Jones (DT, Chiefs) – It may be controversial to have Chris Jones so far down on the list. The DPOY candidate recorded 15.5 sacks in 2022, along with 2 in the AFC divisional round against the Bengals. Jones is a game wrecker even when being double teamed. The 2022 First-team All-Pro will look to continue playoff success this season, after underperforming in previous postseasons. His playoff inconsistencies are why he is below other players on this list for me.
5. Lane Johnson (RT, Eagles) – Lane Johnson has quickly become one of the best linemen in the entire game. On December 11, 2022, Johnson set an NFL record with 26 consecutive games without allowing a single sack. He did suffer a groin injury on Christmas Eve, but it didn’t seem to affect his play in either playoff game so far. Regardless, Johnson is looking more and more likely to be a future Hall of Famer. He looks to continue his excellent 2022 season against a feisty Chiefs defensive line.
4. Jalen Hurts (QB, Eagles) – This was Jalen Hurts’ season to prove that he was an elite quarterback, and he did just that. Set up with a top-3 offensive line and the acquisition of AJ Brown, Jalen Hurts faced big pressure coming into the season. What he’s been able to do it nothing short of amazing. Hurts has only thrown 6 interceptions, compared to his 35 total touchdowns. His passer rating has jumped from 87.2 in 2021 to 101.6 in 2022, and his completion percentage has increased by 5%. His dynamic playstyle has separated him from all but a few quarterbacks in the league.
3. Jason Kelce (C, Eagles) – Jason Kelce was drafted in the 6th round of the 2011 draft and has since cemented himself as the best center in the league over that period. Kelce is a six-time Pro Bowler, five-time First-team All-Pro, and Super Bowl champion. The 35-year-old hasn’t allowed a sack this season and has an overall grade of 88.5 via PFF. Kelce is most likely headed for Canton after retiring, but hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down yet. For me, either Kelce brother could be above the other.
2. Travis Kelce (TE, Chiefs) – The only reason I have Travis Kelce above his brother on this list is the sheer gap between him and every other tight end in the league. Kelce somehow always finds the hole in the defense, and his yards-after-catch ability is like no other. He led all tight ends this season with 1338 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He already has 21 receptions in this year’s playoffs as well. His consistency and reliability are what make him the second-best player in this upcoming Super Bowl.
1. Patrick Mahomes (QB, Chiefs) – Of course Mahomes is going to be number one. He will win his second MVP award after this season’s performance and will also look to win his second Super Bowl in only 5 seasons as a starter. Mahomes has the highest average passer rating in league history and has clearly shown why he’s the best quarterback in the NFL. Although suffering what seemed like a high ankle sprain in the divisional round against Jacksonville, Mahomes was able to play last week, despite clearly being hobbled. Regardless, no game ever seems lost until the clock hits zero when Patrick Mahomes is on the field.
Position Group Comparisons
Quarterback: Chiefs – I think we can all agree Mahomes is better than Jalen Hurts. Hurts has better mobility, but Patrick Mahomes beats him out in almost every other quality. His decision making, arm strength, and leadership is nearly unmatched in this league. They both still are invaluable to their respective teams.
Running back: Eagles – Miles Sanders single handedly sweeps the Chiefs backfield. He broke out with career highs in rush yards and touchdowns this season. Isaiah Pacheco has emerged as a legitimate starter for Kansas City but is yet to prove to be an above average running back.
Wide Receiver: Eagles – The one-two punch of AJ Brown and Devonta Smith is a top 3 duo in the NFL. Smith would honestly be Kansas City’s number one receiver. The likes of Juju Smith-Schuster and Marquez Valdes-Scantling are good at best but lack true consistency.
Tight End: Chiefs – Travis Kelce is the best tight end in the league, plain and simple. While Dallas Goedert is a very solid pass catcher and blocker, it’s pretty obvious which team has the advantage at this position.
Offensive line: Eagles – This one also should also be fairly easy. Philadelphia has two future HOFers on their line, and they’re in the top three for almost every pass and run block categories. Kansas City still has an excellent offensive line, however.
Defensive Line: Eagles – Somehow the Eagles have four players with over 10 sacks. They have 16 combined pro bowls as well as over 330 combined sacks. They led the league in sacks this season and have incredible depth. This is another case where the Chiefs are good at a certain position group, but the Eagle are just better.
Linebackers: Eagles – This one could go either way, but I’ll give it to the Eagles solely because of Haason Reddick. He has been so phenomenal this season, it’s made up for any subpar LB play for Philly. Kansas City also has an extremely young linebacker group which worries me.
Secondary: Eagles – This is another easy Philadelphia advantage. The Eagles’ secondary has only allowed 172 passing yards per game in the regular season and have studs at corner and safety. James Bradberry and CJ Gardner-Johnson are elite ball-hawks, and Darius Slay is one of the best overall cornerbacks in the league.
Special Teams: Eagles – Funnily enough, the Eagles were the 31st ranked special teams in the league. Kansas City is 32nd. Somehow the two best teams have the two worst special teams units. I should note that I would take the Eagles’ Jake Elliot over the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker for a game winning kick right now.
Coaching: Chiefs – Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid is one of, if not the best, coaches in the league. Nick Sirianni has done a great job this season, but the Chiefs have the easy advantage here.
As much confidence as I have in Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs, I think The Eagles will win. Their defense is miles better, and they have a good enough running game to dominate time of possession. I also see Mahomes’ ankle injury playing a small part in the game, and ultimately leading to him not being as mobile. I think it will be a back-and-forth game in the first half, with the Eagles eventually pulling away by the end.
Final Score Prediction: PHI 31, KC 25
Evan Schmid: PHI 27, KC 17 – Eagles jump out to an early lead and are able to control the clock through the second half.
Vince Hesprich: KC 28, PHI 24 – An impressive Philly ground game is not enough to overcome some 4th quarter heroics from a hobbled yet effective Mahomes and co.
Joey Bonadonna: PHI 27, KC 21 – Eagles defense will be able to keep the Chiefs offense in check and holds strong on a game winning drive opportunity from Mahomes.
Noah Maze: PHI 34, KC 24 – Eagles dominate the lines of scrimmage offensively and defensively all game long.
Annika Bereny: KC 49, PHI 0 – Eagles pay for what they did to Brock Purdy and everyone not in Missouri is as unhappy as I am.
Krissy Birdsall: KC 31, PHI 21 – Kansas City wins their second Super Bowl over Philadelphia. Travis Kelce wins MVP after a 3 TD, 100+ yard night receiving.
Anthony Winker: PHI 26, KC 16 – Philly’s pass rush is too much for the KC offensive line to protect a still hobbled Mahomes for the whole game.
Riley Jauch: PHI 31, KC 28 – Hurts finds Jason Kelce in the closing seconds as they run Philly Special 2 to complete an 18-point comeback and topple Kansas City. Momma Kelce is elated as Jason is her favorite son.
Nick Bruesewitz: PHI 24, KC 21 – The Eagles’ offense is too much for the Chiefs’ defense. Hurts uses his legs to give Philly the edge over Mahomes and Andy Reid.