Okay, we are down to the final two teams for Super Bowl LVII: The Kansas City Chiefs representing the AFC and the Philadelphia Eagles repping the NFC.
The last time No. 1 seeds met in the Super Bowl came after the 2017 season, when the Eagles defeated the New England Patriots.
Super Bowl LVII will be played Feb. 12 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona — the fourth time the Grand Canyon State has hosted America’s big game.
How did we get here? Let’s look back at last Sunday’s conference championship games, starting with the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Stadium in Pennsylvania.
As the NFC’s top seed, the Eagles had home field advantage sewn up throughout the playoffs. Both the Eagles and 49ers featured prolific offenses all season. But the Niners never had a chance Sunday.
Just six plays into the game, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, who had taken the reins after Jimmy Garoppolo suffered a broken foot in Week 13, injured his elbow and didn’t return to the game until the third quarter — a situation that proved disastrous for San Francisco’s offense.
Purdy was replaced by veteran quarterback Josh Johnson (University of San Diego) who later suffered a concussion, forcing 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan to put an injured Purdy back in the game. Due to Purdy’s injury, the Niners had no passing game to defend.
The Eagles’ running game, led by running back Miles Sanders, was relentless and solid from jump street. Philly scored four rushing touchdowns against the 49ers, giving them 39 total this season, an NFL record. And Eagles QB Jalen Hurts now has 15 rushing touchdowns this year, the most in NFL history for a quarterback in a single season (Cam Newton held the previous record at 14).
When Purdy went down, the Eagles’ defense focused entirely on stopping a 49ers rushing attack that quite frankly never existed, grabbing three sacks against the Niners for 78 total sacks on the season (third-most in NFL history).
The officiating in this game was horrendous. If these are the top officials in the league, then I’d hate to see the worst ones. Regardless, the Eagles played error-free football with no turnovers compared to the 49ers’ three devastating turnovers.
Philadelphia controlled the ball the entire afternoon, possessing the ball for more than two-thirds of the 60-minute game. Sure, the Niners (15-5) had been unlucky all year with injuries at the quarterback position. But the Eagles (16-3) were the better team, cruising to a 31-7 win and Super Bowl appearance.
The rematch between the Cincinnati Bengals and Kansas City Chiefs from last year’s AFC Championship game was a struggle for both teams. So much for the highest scoring offenses…
The Chiefs struck first and Cincinnati (14-5) could only muster a pair of field goals to trail 13-6 at halftime.
AFC top seed Kansas City (16-3) lost three of its top receivers but Patrick Mahomes continued to find new ones, such as Marquez Valdes-Scantling, to keep scoring touchdowns.
In the second half, the Bengals tied the game 20-20, making for an exciting fourth quarter. Facing a third down with 17 seconds left, Mahomes took off running for the right sideline from the Chiefs’ own 47-yard line.
As he was heading out of bonds, Bengals linebacker Joseph Ossai pushed Mahomes, drawing a 15-yard penalty that set up Kansas City’s field goal to win, 23-20. Mahomes went 29-43 for 315 yards and two touchdowns. Bengals QB Joe Burrow was 26-41 for 309 yards.
Coach Andy Reid and the Chiefs find themselves in their third Super Bowl appearance in four years. Brothers Jason Kelce, and offensive lineman for the Eagles, and star tight end of the Chiefs, Travis Kelce, will make Super Bowl history as the first pair of brothers to play each other in a Super Bowl.
On Sunday, Mahomes, Burrow, Purdy and Hurts were only the second group of quarterbacks to play in conference title games at age 27 or younger, according to ESPN.
ODDS TO WIN SUPER BOWL LVII (at FOX Bet)*
Philadelphia Eagles: -125 (bet $10 to win $18 total)
Kansas City Chiefs: +100 (bet $10 to win $20 total)
* odds as of 1/30/2023
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