Kansas City won Super Bowl 57 by 3 points; tonight’s game is expected to be just as close
Welcome to the Kelce Bowl.
Oh, wait, that was the unofficial title of last year’s Super Bowl.
Hmmm . . . if only there was another ready-made marketing angle for tonight’s game.
Give me a minute . . .
. . .
Monday Night Football (Taylor’s version).
That’s is why I get paid the big bucks!
And, yes, that will be the only reference I make to Travis Kelce’s most popular fan.
No promises about it being a one-and-done with this though:
“I’ve been wondering what’s been taking so long.”
Jason Kelce on being a finalist for People’s ‘Sexiest Man Alive’
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 10, 2023
Sadly, despite it being “a win for plus-sized, bearded men”, Jason “I’m not even the sexiest man in my family” Kelce lost the 2023 Sexiest Man Alive honor (to Patrick Dempsey, aka McDreamy), but . . .
Maybe Kelce the Lesser and his Philadelphia Eagles teammates will be able to leverage the attention he got from People Magazine’s nomination to finally get a win against the Kansas City Chiefs and his
far more popular younger brother.
Fun Fact: Travis Kelce is winless against two NFL teams. He and his Eagles teammates play one of them tonight and travel to South Alaska to play the other one in what will inarguably be the most exciting game of Week 15.
Sexy Kelces aside, tonight’s game between two of the best teams in the league is one of the most anticipated games of the year and should live up to its billing.
The home team is 7-2 and currently holds the top seed in the AFC. One of Kansas City’s losses was by a single point (at home) in the NFL Kickoff Game when they were without the services of the league’s best tight end. The other loss for the defending Super Bowl Champions was on the road against Russell WIlson and his Mile High mates two weeks ago.
The visiting team arrived at Arrowhead Stadium with the league’s best record (8-1).
Philly’s sole loss came in Week 6.
Jalen Hurts & Co. scored on their first possession that day (19 plays, 91 yards) and added another touchdown on an 8-play, 64-yard drive in the second quarter. Turnovers were the story of the day though, with two INTs and a fumble letting the other team stay in the game. Philly was nursing a 2-point lead late when Jalen Hurts threw his third interception on the first play after the 2:00 warning. The ball was returned 45 yards to the Eagles’ 8. Philly’s defense allowed a touchdown, the offense couldn’t convert on 4th-and-8 from their own 27, and a pair of kneel downs ended it.
Why the recap?
Because, it’s sort of emblematic of Philly’s season – as good as their record is, the Eagles have allowed teams to stay in games all season long. Five of Philadelphia’s eight wins have been by one score. Two of the other three were one-score games midway through the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia’s penchant for playing down to (or up to) the level of their competition is something the 12s are used to. Eagles fans, maybe not so much.
Which has me wanting to root for them.
I can’t do it though.
Not when an Eagles loss could potentially benefit our favorite team.
More to the point though, the defending Champs are (probably) the better team and they’re playing at home.
So, yeah, I’m leaning toward Kansas City.
There are two things holding me back from wholeheartedly endorsing the Chiefs in tonight’s game though . . .
One. Philadelphia’s offense – The Eagles are No. 5 in yards, No. 3 in points.
Two. Kansas City’s defense – wait, what?
For those that follow the Chiefs, even if only from a distance, the defense has been the story of the season thus far.
Mahomes has, more or less, been his typical awesome self (despite not really having any “good” wideouts). The defense has been delivering the wins though.
Heading into Week 11, Kansas City’s defense was No. 4 in yards per game (288.2), and was tied for 2nd in points allowed (15.9 per game).
The No. 4 ranking in yards allowed is a bit deceiving though . . .
Through Week 10, Kansas City’s pass defense was No. 5, allowing 176.0 yards per game, but their run defense was No. 17 at 112.2 per game.
Those aren’t bad numbers.
But . . .
Per ESPN, “The Chiefs rank 30th (on defense) in opponent expected points added (EPA) per designed carry and 31st in run stop win rate.”
I’m not usually an advanced stats kind of guy, but that one gives me pause.
I’ll share one more thing before revealing the picks . . .
Despite tonight’s game being a rematch between the two teams that represented their conference in Super Bowl LVII, this ISN’T a “revenge game”.
At least not according to the NFL’s representative for People Magazine’s 2023 Sexiest Man Alive award:
“Each season is different . This team is not the same, that team is not the same. Nothing that happens on Monday night is going to at all change or make anything different about what happened last year.”
The Pick: The defending Champs win and cover, Over 45.
Here are the picks for my Field Gulls cohorts:
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Title: Monday Night Football picks and open thread: Eagles at Chiefs
Author: Frank T. Raines