An early look at Super Bowl LVII

After a season of intrigue and often controversy, we are now just one game from knowing
who will lift the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the 2022 season. Big name contenders have
fallen away, some notable players may have played their last down, and within two weeks
we will know whether Patrick Mahomes will secure his second career title, or Jalen Hurts his
first. What we know right now is that the odds makers have given Philadelphia the favorites
tag for this title game, but that it’s a very narrow margin – the teams are deemed to be within
a field goal of one another, with the Chiefs two-point underdogs.

Is this status merited? Based on a few details, there is probably some justification both for
the Eagles being favored and for the margin being so tight. There is also considerable
likelihood that these odds will move in one direction or another, and quite possibly both,
before the ball is launched high into the Arizona evening and the fight begins in earnest. So
for those who are considering a look at to find the best odds on the
season finale, let’s look at some of the factors that could sway the outcome.

How will Mahomes’ ankle hold up?

Other teams have had greater QB woes (it really seems someone didn’t want the 49ers to
make it), but an injury to as important a player as Patrick Mahomes could be pivotal. The
Chiefs passer has a high ankle sprain that has bothered him since the divisional playoff
game against Jacksonville. It’s an injury that can take an NFL QB couple of months to really
heal. But the two-week break before the Super Bowl is good news for the 2020 winners. It
gives them a range of rehab options for Mahomes – who, in any case, played a full game
against the Bengals on Sunday and made a clutch running play on the final drive.

Can Hurts handle the occasion?

While Mahomes is dealing with an injury, Eagles passer Jalen Hurts will be dealing with a
different quandary on Feb. 12. This is his first trip to the big game; although the Eagles were
deserving winners in 2018, that was with Nick Foles as the passer. Hurts was a sophomore
at Alabama then, and had just lost the starting job to one Tua Tagovailoa. Now, after an
impressive second season as the Eagles main man, he faces the biggest game of his
career. His playoff performances have been more than decent, but one came against a
49ers team that effectively played without a quarterback as they tried to overcome a big
deficit. The other was against the Giants. The Chiefs will be a harder nut to crack.

An intergenerational coaching battle

This is not Andy Reid’s first Super Bowl. In fact, it’s his third in four years, and he already
has two rings, picking up the first as a coach with the Packers in 1996. Back then, Eagles
coach Nick Sirianni was still in high school, so there is certainly a large gap in experience
between the playcallers for this game. That doesn’t mean that Reid is about to school the
younger man, of course. Sirianni wouldn’t be the youngest head coach ever to win a Super
Bowl even if last year’s had been the first-ever contest. However, the Chiefs’ entire
organization has been through the hullabaloo of a Super Bowl appearance time and again,
and that could be pivotal if this is a close game.