Super Bowl Preview: Kansas City Chiefs Defense
Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense get all the shine when talking about the Chiefs.
Rightfully so, Mahomes is on his way to another top-three MVP finish and Travis Kelce is unstoppable at tight end.
However, this Kansas City defense doesn’t get the respect they deserve and is a big reason why the Chiefs are playing for their second Super Bowl in four years.
The strength of this defense comes from their front seven. Chris Jones is one of the best interior defensemen to ever play the position.
Jones is a run-stopper and demands to be doubled anytime he rushes the quarterback, which sets up attacking lanes for players like Frank Clark.
After Dee Ford infamously was called offsides in the 2018 AFC championship game against Tom Brady and the Patriots, the Chiefs started looking for a new elite pass rusher. Ford was called offsides which ultimately kept the drive alive for New England and sent them to the Super Bowl where they would win their sixth championship.
Frank Clark came over from Seattle and in his first season in Kansas City took his game to another level becoming a first-time pro bowler. Clark especially plays well when the lights are the brightest.
The three-time pro bowler has 2.5 sacks this postseason.
The backend of this defense is where Kansas City might have some problems. Last offseason, the Chiefs did not only lose Tyreek Hill but Tryann Mathieu as well.
Mathieu was the leader of the Chiefs' secondary and rejuvenated his career in Kansas City.
Andy Reid decided on Justin Reid as the Mathieu replacement. Justin Reid has yet to record an interception this season but has been a serviceable safety.
However, Kansas City’s secondary might not be tested a ton on Sunday. Jalen Hurts injured his shoulder toward the end of the season and missed two of the final three games of the regular season.
Even when Philadelphia beat San Francisco in the NFC championship, Hurts wasn’t asked to throw the ball a ton.
The Eagles won that game because of their rushing attack and their defense. It will be interesting to see if Hurts will be able to exploit the weak Kansas City secondary.
The Super Bowl will be won and lost at the line of scrimmage. The Eagles have arguably the best offensive line in the NFL and the Chiefs' defense relies on getting to the quarterback.
Center Jason Kelce against Chris Jones will be must-watch television.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is known for getting his defense ready for big games. Spagnuolo was the defensive coordinator for the New York Giants when they won the Super Bowl against the undefeated Patriots.
Expect Spagnuolo to blitz Hurts constantly Sunday night. It will be important for the Chiefs to keep Hurts in the pocket.
This is a bend not break defense. However, come playoff time, this unit has gotten stronger as the weather outside has gotten colder. If Hurts isn’t fully healthy Sunday night, he could be in for a long night.
Aidan Torok is a third-year majoring in telecommunications and minoring in broadcast journalism and political science. To contact him, email email@example.com.
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