Key match-ups in Super Bowl LVII

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Super Bowl LVII is just around the corner, and this year’s match up is shaping up to be a blockbuster as the two teams with the best regular season records from the AFC and NFC will go head-to-head at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

After going 14-3 respectively, the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs have experienced vastly different playoff campaigns to date – with the Chiefs taking part in a pair of hard-fought games with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Cincinnati Bengals, while the Eagles progressed to the big dance with ease as they won both their fixtures by a combined margin of 55 points.

And while the Eagles are the favourites in the Super Bowl Winner Odds as a result of their strong form – they will be coming up against an experienced Kansas City squad who have reached the Super Bowl three of the last four years. Can the Eagles’ elite defence stop the high-powered Chiefs offence? Or will Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Isiah Pacheco provide their opposition too many headaches with ball in hand?

That will be determined on game day, and with that in mind, read on as we take a look at the key match-ups in Super Bowl LVII.

Travis Kelce vs Haason Reddick

This will be one of the more interesting match-ups to take place on February 12 – with Eagles linebacker and Pro Bowler Haason Reddick likely to have his hands full with the best tight end in the game – Travis Kelce. While Reddick will have a number of assignments come game day, of which includes putting considerable pressure on Chiefs quarterback Mahomes – there will be an expectation that he also remains deep when required to cut off Kelce’s routes across the middle.

That’s easier said than done however, with Kelce proving yet again this season to be arguably the most difficult player to match-up with in the NFL. The 6’4 tight end was nearly unstoppable this season, registering 110 receptions, 1,338 yards and 12 touchdowns throughout the regular season.

That form hasn’t wavered in the playoffs, with the 33-year-old recording a record-breaking 14 receptions and two touchdowns (TD) in their win over the Jacksonville Jaguars, before putting forth another solid performance in the AFC Championship Game in which he secured seven receptions for 78 yards and a TD.

Those yards may not be as easy to come by with Reddick manning the middle, who boasts premier anticipation and a picture-perfect tackling technique. Nonetheless, whoever wins that battle could be taking home the Lombardi Trophy.

Orlando Brown Jr. vs Josh Sweat

Considered by some as the second most important position on the field, the left tackle’s job of protecting the quarterback can oftentimes be the difference between winning and losing – particularly in the Super Bowl. Orlando Brown Jr. has done a fantastic job shielding Mahomes this season, so much so he earned his fourth consecutive Pro Bowl selection.

The man across from him will be defensive end Josh Sweat, whose three tackles, three tackle assists and 1.5 sacks this playoff campaign has seen the 25-year-old return to the form that saw him named as a Pro Bowler in 2021. If Sweat can put pressure on Mahomes between the tackles and cut down on his time in the pocket – the Eagles will be prove hard to beat.

Conversely, if Brown Jr. can keep Sweat and the Eagles linebackers at bay, it will give the Chiefs every chance of securing their second Super Bowl title in four years.

Patrick Mahomes vs Jalen Hurts

Although they won’t be matching up against each other directly, there’s a good chance that the contest between each team’s quarterbacks will go a long way towards determining the victor. Mahomes enters as the more seasoned quarterback, with Super Bowl LVII marking his third appearance, while 2023 marks Jalen Hurts’ Super Bowl debut.

That bodes well for the Missouri outfit, however, given their QB is entering under somewhat of an injury cloud, the strong Eagles defence could fancy their chances against a compromised Mahomes. With that being said, the high ankle sprain hasn’t seemed to perturb the favourite for the regular season MVP in the playoffs to date, with the 27-year-old having thrown for 521 yards and four touchdowns across two games.

Hurts has also been impressive, employing more a game manager role while his side’s running game runs riot. If he can take care of the ball as he has done all season, pick his moments of when to throw and when to run, this should be a tight contest.

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