American Football

Super Bowl preview: Eagles offense vs. Chiefs defense featuring All-22 and stats


Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles
Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

This game needs no fancy introduction. It’s the big one. This Super Bowl preview article will combine stats and film to look at the Eagles’ offense vs. the Chiefs’ defense. All numbers via Sports Info Solution as always, unless stated otherwise. Let’s go.

Chiefs Tendencies

The Chiefs’ defense does a bit of everything. It’s an unpredictable defense but expect to see a lot of DIME (4-1-6) on obvious passing downs which will likely match up Dallas Goedert on a cornerback.

These numbers for me are the most important ones of all. The Chiefs do not stack the box very often at all and want to stay in a two-high shell for the vast majority of the time. The Eagles have killed teams with the run game this season and I think they will have a chance to really run on the Chiefs’ defense if they want to.

I’ve read a lot recently about how the Chiefs have played a lot less man coverage this year than in previous years. This is true, but they still play a lot of man coverage. AJ Brown and DeVonta Smith will get chances to make big plays in this game.

I saw this fantastic website the other day via Twitter and it has some fantastic EPA formation data. The website can be found here! The Chiefs’ defense is at its best when they play 3-4-4 which implies that you don’t want to play a lot of 13 personnel this week (the Eagles shouldn’t anyway). Interestingly, despite playing a fair bit of DIME, the Chiefs’ defense is not very efficient in this personnel and gives up 0.27 EPA per play.

Statistical Matchup

The Chiefs’ defense is OK. It’s a pretty good pass defense, giving up only 6 yards per attempt. The pass rush is also good and they don’t rank 20th or below in any single category. This feels like an average to good defense. The Eagles’ offense has to score a lot of points this week. They cannot rely on their defense to carry them because the Chiefs’ offense is going to score points. The Eagles’ offense really needs to show it is elite and consistently beat this Chiefs’ defense. It won’t be easy, but it is the Super Bowl. It isn’t supposed to be easy! I expect the Eagles to have a run-heavy approach at times because the Chiefs can certainly be run on.

Key Matchups

Chiefs Pass Rush

The Chiefs’ pass rush is really, really good. This will be a hell of a matchup between the Eagles’ offensive line and the Chiefs’ pass rush. The Chiefs rank 3rd in pressures with 302 and 2nd in sacks with 55. In particular, watch out for the Chiefs’ pass rush on obvious passing downs. They will line up with 2 wide 9’s and 2 defensive tackles in a sort of 4i position. This makes it hard for the center to get across and double anyone which can create a lot of one-on-one matchups. I expect to see the wide 9 to stop Hurts from escaping outside the pocket too.

Chris Jones

In case you were not aware, for some reason, Chris Jones is fantastic. The Eagles need to have eyes on him at all times because he can totally take over a game if you are not careful. You need to be aware of him when running as he has an elite blend of quickness and power. The Eagles did a fantastic job with Dexter Lawrence a few weeks ago and I expect them to double-team Chris Jones a lot too

The Chiefs will move him around on obvious passing downs too. There are not a lot of defensive tackles who can do this.

Chiefs Press Coverage

You can see this in some of the clips above too, but the Chiefs 1st in the league in press snaps and it absolutely shows up on film. The cornerbacks are always aggressive and they don’t give up many easy compleitions on the outside. The Eagles need to have a way to beat press coverage, either through talent (just winning one-on-one) but also with stacks, bunches and motion to give receivers a free release. The Tampa Bay Buccanneers pressed the Eagles’ receivers a lot last year in the playoffs and it worked. But that offense didn’t have AJ Brown. He’s going to need to have a big game. I expect to see some RPO’s with some slant/flat but the Chiefs’ defensive backs will try to throw off the timing.

In/Out Bracket

Someting that really stood out from watching the Chiefs’ defense was their willingness to double top wide receivers. They would bracket Chase and Higgins quite a lot on obvious passing downs. I am sure the Eagles’ coaches have seen what I have seen, but I noticed an obvious flaw with the in/out bracket. If a receiver went vertical, he could get ontop of the bracket. This happened a few times last week against the Bengals but I also saw some examples from earlier on int he season.

I expect them to bracket AJ Brown quite a lot in this game. The Eagles might be smart to avoid throwing to him in these situations because they have enough talent elsewhere, but I would be tempted to send him deep and see if you can catch them out. As long as Hurts doesn’t throw it into double coverage, then he can just eliminate the throw early if he knows Brown will not get open.

Intermediate Throws

I just have a feeling the Eagles are going to look to attack the intermediate area of the field if the Chiefs play 2-high and try and take away the deep vertical shots. Hello, Dallas Goedert. Goedert is the master of the sail route and I expect the Eagles to run a lot of 3-level stretch plays where the outside wide receiver can clear out the cornerback and the deep safety.

In addition to this, I think the Chiefs can be attacked by seam balls in the middle of the field. I hope we see the Eagles run some classic 989 (the ultimate – my guys are better than your guys play) where DeVonta Smith and AJ Brown can take away the 2-deep safeties (with vertical routes, aka 9) and create room for Dallas Goedert up the seam.

I expect the Chiefs to use safety Justin Reid on Goedert a lot of the game and he is a really good cover safety. But I’ll take Goedert one-on-one against most defensive backs in this league.

Batted Passes

Put this in the completely random category. But the Chiefs have 19 batted passes this year and the next team has 12. I have no idea why and the film didn’t give me any insights, but I would assume this is something their defensive coaches preach and who knows, it may have an impact on this game. If it does, remember you heard it here first…

2nd 10+ Run

If the Chiefs’ defense stops you on 1st down, they will almost certainly play a 2-high look on second down and this gives the Eagles an opportunity. I know analytics guys hate running the ball on 2nd and 10, but analytics guys also say this Eagles’ run game is elite. Which it is. On 2nd and 10+, the Chiefs have allowed 253 rushing yards on 47 attempts. That’s 5.4 yards per attempt. I would have no problem with the Eagles running it on 2nd and 10 with the intention of going for it on 4th down if they fail on 3rd down. This Eagles’ offense is really good in short yardage situations so a 3rd and 5 or 3rd and 4 is a good place for them to be.

Run. The. Ball.

I’ve saved the most obvious until the last. All the above is true, but sometimes football is easy. The Eagles have an elite run game. The easiest way to score points in this game may be to continually run the ball. If the Chiefs continue to play a lot of 2-high shells, the Eagles should feel really, really good about running the ball in this game as long as they can stop Chris Jones from having an impact.

Overall, this is a matchup the Eagles must win. I am of the opinion that the Chiefs are going to score a fair few points because Mahomes is just that good. I think for the Eagles to win it all, they need to score 25+ points. It’s time for this offense to prove why they are elite. I’m excited.

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