We continue to inch closer to Sunday’s big game between the Eagles and Chiefs at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. Below is a look at the five players who will have the biggest impact on the outcome of the matchup.
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5. Eagles S C.J. Gardner-Johnson
Rather than put down Travis Kelce, I decided to put down the man who will largely be tasked with covering him. Philadelphia acquired the talented safety from the Saints prior to the start of the season, and the deal has paid huge dividends all season. Gardner-Johnson led the league with six interceptions as a key cog in the top pass defense in the NFL.
He’ll be challenged by Kelce all game long on Sunday. Not only is Kelce arguably the best tight end in football, but so much of his greatness is due to his freelance ability and chemistry with Patrick Mahomes. He’s regularly able to find soft spots in the defense and run choice routes to perfection. This should be a tremendous matchup to watch.
4. Eagles WR A.J. Brown
Brown has been quiet in Philadelphia’s pair of blowout wins so far this postseason with just a combined seven catches for 50 yards. It would be shocking if he didn’t break out in the Super Bowl against a Chiefs secondary that has been the weakness of Kansas City’s defense.
3. Chiefs DT Chris Jones
Jones was dominant against the Bengals with a pair of sacks and constant pressure on nearly every drop back from Joe Burrow. Causing similar disruption against the Eagles will be a challenge given Philadelphia’s offensive line is vastly superior to Cincinnati’s, but it will be required of him all the same. Jones is a superstar capable of neutralizing a loaded and diverse Eagles offense.
2. Eagles EDGE Haason Reddick
Like Jones, Reddick has been a menace through two playoff games. And like Gardner-Johnson, he has been an offseason acquisition that has aged to perfection. Reddick has 3.5 sacks through two playoff games after posting 16.0 during the regular season. The matchup of Philadelphia’s pass rush against Kansas City’s offensive line is the one that will likely define this game more than any other.
1. Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes
Mahomes’ ankle might be OK at kickoff, but there’s a chance it deteriorates throughout the game, just as it did against the Bengals. Regardless, my guess is he’ll have to be superhuman against the Eagles if the Chiefs are going to have a chance to win. I think the Eagles are superior in every facet outside of the quarterback position. The good news for the Chiefs is that Mahomes is the best quarterback in football and will likely go down as the greatest of all time. He's more than capable of putting up such a performance against a defense loaded with speed and pass rushing talent.