It will be hard to miss many of the defensive linemen once the ball is snapped on Sunday night.
Chris Jones and Frank Clark lead the charge for the Chiefs while Fletcher Cox is one of a host of 300-pound interior linemen who has the ability to make life difficult for Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his tender ankle.
With four players having more than 10 sacks, Philadelphia led the NFL with 70 sacks during the regular season and added eight more during the postseason. The Chiefs have 55 sacks during the regular season to go with seven others in two playoff games.
According to the Super Bowl predictions, the number has been set at 2½ sacks for both the Eagles and Chiefs. That figures to draw plenty of action with the way both teams can rush the passer.
Let’s take a look at the defensive lines as we get closer to kickoff in Super Bowl 57. The Super Bowl odds total has moved slightly from 50 to 51 with the Eagles remaining a slight favorite.
Kansas City Chiefs
Any talk of the Kansas City defensive line has to start with Chris Jones. The 6-foot-6, 310-pound Jones matched his career-high with 15½ sacks during the regular season. That number doesn’t take into consideration the pass-rushing opportunities for his teammates because of the attention he draws from the opposing team.
Jones had two sacks against Cincinnati in the AFC Championship Game and despite facing double teams on a regular season, he was consistently applying pressure.
The Chiefs will move Jones around to create matchup issues and his presence is a key reason why the Chiefs ranked in the top 10 in the NFL in rushing defense. When looking at the Super Bowl bets, Jones is priced at +500 to record at least two sacks.
On the edge, there is an interesting blend of veterans (Frank Clark and Carlos Dunlap) and youth (rookie George Karlaftis and third-year pro-Mike Danna). Clark and Jones have combined for 4½ sacks in the postseason.
Don’t forget about tackle Khalen Saunders as he enjoyed a breakout season. Saunders had 33 tackles and one sack in 22 games over his first three seasons. He finished the regular season with 48 tackles and 3½ sacks. Derrick Nnadi is another part of the defensive line rotation.
It can be hard to differentiate between outside linebackers and defensive ends in this age of professional football. Since the Eagles’ sack leader Haason Reddick is listed as a linebacker, he will be included in that breakdown.
When it comes to interior defensive linemen, no team can match the depth of the Eagles and that could be crucial when it comes time to make Super Bowl picks.
It starts with veteran Cox, who is in his 11th season with the Eagles. His seven sacks during the regular season are his most since the 2018 season. Javon Hargrave has thrived in his three seasons since coming over from Pittsburgh as he has 23 sacks in 48 games during the regular season. Ndamukong Suh and Linval Joseph get some work as well.
Philadelphia used a first-round pick on former Georgia All-American Jordan Davis and a third-round selection on Milton Williams in the last two years.
None of the linemen have played more snaps during the postseason than end Josh Sweat‘s 63. Robert Quinn was limited to seven games during the regular season after coming over from Chicago in a trade. He has returned in time for the playoffs. Brandon Graham combines with Quinn to play about half of the snaps.
The Eagles are able to keep rotating people in and out with nine different linemen playing at least 20 defensive snaps in the first two playoff games and that pays off late in games.
This will be fun to watch. The Chiefs have rebuilt their offensive line after seeing what happened the last time they made the Super Bowl. Down a couple of key starters, Kansas City couldn’t protect Mahomes from an aggressive set of Tampa Bay pass rushers.
The Eagles will come from all angles, much like that Buccaneers team so there will be some challenging assignments.
Most sacks this season (including playoffs)
Haason Reddick 19.5
Nick Bosa 18.5
Chris Jones 17.5 pic.twitter.com/pB1JbSrjon
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) February 7, 2023
Philadelphia might have the best offensive line in the league. However, four starters showed up on injury reports and that is not ideal when trying to deal with Jones and Clark.
There are unblockable players on the interior for both teams and that could make it difficult for both the Chiefs and Eagles to run between the tackles.
It is hard to go against the Eagles with either line as long as offensive guard Landon Dickerson and offensive tackle Lane Johnson are able to play close to full strength.
The Chiefs don’t have the depth on the defensive line that the Eagles do and it will be worth watching to see how that shakes out during the game.
Mahomes has been sacked three times and Jalen Hurts of the Eagles twice in the postseason so both quarterbacks know how to escape the pressure and throw the ball away at the appropriate times.
Hurts brings the added dimension of being an elite runner and that is especially true near the goal line as he leads the Eagles with 15 touchdown runs. Mahomes doesn’t scramble quite as often and probably won’t be doing much of that with a sore ankle. However, no quarterback is more dangerous throwing when outside the pocket than Mahomes.
Getting to the passer is always important. However, setting the edge and keeping the two quarterbacks in the pocket is a huge part of this matchup.
The Eagles have been the more effective team at generating pressure and the Super Bowl lines list Philadelphia at -130 to have more sacks in the game. The matchup between the offensive and defensive lines could be one of the most compelling aspects of this Super Bowl.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.