John McClain: Super Bowl LVII prediction, who hoists the Lombardi trophy?

Jan 29, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws a pass against the San Francisco 49ers during the third quarter in the NFC Championship game at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

John McClain: Super Bowl LVII prediction, who hoists the Lombardi trophy?

The NFL will crown a champion on Sunday when Philadelphia and Kansas City, the best teams in the NFL this season, play in Super Bowl LVII at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz.

This is the sixth time since 2000 the top-seeded teams in the AFC and NFC have reached the Super Bowl. The Eagles are 1½-point favorites over the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was voted the NFL Most Valuable Player Award on Thursday night at the NFL Honors Show.

Mahomes and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts are the first Black quarterbacks to meet in a Super Bowl, and both are native Texans. Hurts grew up in Channelview in suburban Houston and Mahomes in the East Texas town of Whitehouse.

To reach Super Bowl LVII, the Eagles blasted the Giants and 49ers by a combined score of 69-14. The Chiefs defeated the Jaguars and Bengals by a combined score of 50-40.

Besides outstanding quarterbacks, this game features the two-best pass rushes in the NFL. The Eagles led the league with 70 sacks in the regular season and added eight more in the playoffs. The Chiefs finished second with 55 in the regular season and recorded another seven in the playoffs. The pass blockers who provide their quarterback with the best protection have the better chance to win.

Mahomes insists he’s recovered from the high ankle sprain that limited him somewhat in the AFC Championship Game but didn’t keep him from igniting the victory over the Bengals. The Chiefs led the NFL with 413.6 yards and 29.2 points a game this season. They beat the Jaguars by seven and the Bengals by three, so another close game is expected against the Eagles.

Mahomes and coach Andy Reid are trying to win their second Super Bowl together. This is their third Super Bowl appearance in four years.

Mahomes has an exceptional offensive line, but his receivers are injured, and his running game is limited, certainly not as strong as Philadelphia’s. If the Eagles are going to beat the Chiefs, defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon must find a way to contain tight end Travis Kelce.

Not only did the Eagles have the most dominant pass rush this season, but they led the league in fewest passing yards allowed with 179.8. But Kelce is the most prolific tight end in playoff history with 127 catches, 1,467 yards, and 15 touchdowns – trailing only wide receiver Jerry Rice.

On 74% of their sacks, the Eagles employed a four-man rush. If they’re able to get that kind of pressure on Mahomes, perhaps he’ll have trouble finding an open receiver with seven defenders involved in coverage.

Mahomes led the NFL with 5,250 yards passing. He’s trying to become the first quarterback to throw for at least 5,000 yards and win a Super Bowl.

The Chiefs are the third team in history to have at least 12 victories in five consecutive regular seasons. If they’re going to win a second Super Bowl with Reid and Mahomes, they have to find ways to keep the Eagles’ pass rushers – linebacker Haason Reddick (16 sacks in the regular season), end Josh Sweat (11),  end Brandon Graham (11) and tackle Javon Hargrave (11) away from the quarterback to give him time to find open receivers. Philadelphia is trying to become the sixth team to lead the NFL in sacks and win a Super Bowl.

Nick Siriani’s Eagles have an outstanding running game to take pressure off Hurts. Counting the playoffs, they’ve rushed for a league-record 39 touchdowns.

They’re trying to become the fourth team since 1990 to lead the NFL in rushing touchdowns and win a Super Bowl.

The Chiefs have a terrific defensive front led by tackle Chris Jones, and the defense attacks the ball. A problem will be contending with the Eagles’ run-pass options knowing there’s a good chance Hurts is going to keep the ball, especially when he sniffs the end zone. He ran for 13 touchdowns this season. In two playoff games, he has two touchdowns passing and two more rushing.

The Eagles’ running game has so much balance with Miles Sanders, Kenneth Gainwell, and Boston Scott as their backs. Hurts is like an additional running back. In their 38-7 divisional round victory over the Giants, Philadelphia ran for 268 yards.

If the Chiefs put too many defenders in the box, the secondary has to deal with wide receivers A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith. They’re the only twosome in the NFL this season that averaged at least 85 catches and 1,100 yards. If the defensive backs focus too much on Brown and Smith, tight end Dallas Goedert can burn them. He has 10 catches, including a touchdown, in two playoff games.

The Eagles have so much balance on both sides of the ball – a great offensive line that clears pathways for a tremendous running game and the most devastating pass rush in the game. That’s why the Eagles should win this game.

Check out my Super Bowl LVII prediction:

Kansas City (16-3) plus-1½ vs. Philadelphia (16-3): Eagles 27-24

Championship Games: Straight up 1-1, against the spread 1-1

Playoffs: Straight up 8-4, against the spread 7-5

(John McClain writes four columns a week for He can be heard Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday on Sports Radio 610 and Thursday on Texans Radio. He does three weekly Houtopia podcasts for 610. He also can be read three times a week on

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