Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
Sep 8, 2013; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid during the game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Foldy-USA TODAY Sports

Super Bowl 57: Chiefs’ D-Line could be unsung heroes

If the Chiefs are going to beat the Eagles in Super Bowl 57, it starts with the defensive line.

Everybody is going to talk about Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs’ offense leading up to Super Bowl LVII. While Mahomes’ performance will go plenty towards who hoists the Lombardi Trophy next Sunday night, don’t overlook Kansas City’s defense, particularly its front.

 

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The Philadelphia Eagles led the league in sacks with 70 this year, including four different players with double-digit sacks. Perhaps to the surprise of some, Kansas City ranks second with 55, led by Chris Jones and his 15.5 traps.

In the playoffs, the Chiefs have been terrific up front. Jones had two of Kansas City’s five sacks against Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend in their 23-20 win at Arrowhead Stadium. The week prior, Jacksonville Jaguars’ quarterback Trevor Lawrence was also hurried and harassed. The Chiefs posted two sacks and seven quarterback hits.

This week, Frank Clark — who is third all-time in postseason sacks and already has 2.5 this postseason — talked to the media about his mindset as the calendar turns to the playoffs, per ESPN:

“It just all comes together at that point. I kind of get a little more freedom in the postseason. It’s win or go home. When you’ve got that mindset as a player and when you’ve got that mindset as a coach … that’s where it comes from. When I get to the postseason, I get that nod from Coach [Andy] Reid. It’s like, ‘Go ahead and do your thing.’ There’s a reason they [brought] me here. I told the guys [the day before the game] I was going to set the tone from the start of the game to the end of the game.”

 

Read: Derek Carr Relishing Choice, Wants To Win Super Bowl

 

Against the Eagles, they’ll see an offensive line with great players including guard Landon Dickerson, right tackle Lane Johnson and center Jason Kelce. Johnson (ab muscle) and Dickerson (elbow) are dealing with significant injuries. However both are expected to suit up and be in top form come the Super Bowl.

If Kansas City is going to tilt the game in its favor, one of the ways will be winning one-on-one battles along the front with Jones, Clark, rookie defensive end George Karlaftis and others.

If the Chiefs do that, it’ll be a tough task for third-year quarterback Jalen Hurts, making his Super Bowl debut.

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