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Pace and Playcalling Notes for Super Bowl LVII: Chiefs vs. Eagles

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As we gear up for next week’s Super Bowl LVII, I’m taking a deep dive into the pace and playcalling for the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles as everyone prepares their top bets.

 

Check out the FTN Pace and Playcalling Tool. For more Super Bowl coverage, check out these articles:

Pace & Play-Calling for Super Bowl LVII

  • PHI has a 50% overall pass rate after 19 games. It goes up to 52.6% (23rd) in neutral situations (+/- 8 points). 
  • PHI has run the most plays this season with a lead (742, 44% pass rate). 
  • KC has run the second-most plays this season with a lead (659, 58.7% pass rate). 
  • KC has a 61.4% overall pass rate after 19 games. It goes up to 64.8% (third) in neutral. 
  • PHI was fourth in no-huddle rate (18.8%), which helped them finish with the eighth-fastest neutral pace. 
  • KC was last in no-huddle snaps using it just 10 times this season (1,227 total plays). 
  • KC was 14th in neutral pace, about league average (27.6 seconds per play). Since Patrick Mahomes hurt his ankle, they slowed down to 31.05. 
  • With PHI always playing with a lead, they saw their pass rate decline each quarter:
    • 1st Quarter: 59.4% pass rate, 5.8 points per quarter 
    • 2nd Quarter: 56.5% pass rate, 12.4 points per quarter (1st)
    • 3rd Quarter: 53.45% pass rate, 4.7 points per quarter
    • 4th Quarter: 31.4% pass rate (32nd), 5.9 points per quarter
  • Against SF, PHI did not attempt a pass in the 4th quarter after starting the game passing at 66.7% (1st quarter).
  • KC pass rate & points by quarter 
    • 1st Quarter: 66.4% pass rate (5.4 points per quarter)
    • 2nd Quarter: 68% pass rate (10.1 points per quarter) 
    • 3rd Quarter: 63.5% pass rate (6.3 points per quarter) 
    • 4th Quarter: 49% pass rate (6.4 points per quarter) 
  • If either team gets behind by a TD or more, they turn up their pass rates to 65.6% (KC) and 58.1%. Of course, Jalen Hurts runs/scrambles more than any QB this season (11 per game), which skews those numbers. 
  • Opponents pick up the pace against KC, playing at the third-fastest pace this season. They also passed at the second-highest rate overall (62.5%) and 57.3% (11th) in neutral situations. 
 
  • Teams did not feel the same urgency against PHI, playing at the No. 21 pace and throwing it on just 53% in neutral (23rd). With them controlling so many games, that shoots up to fifth overall (pace) and 12th in pass rate. 
  • On defense, PHI had the magical combination of a low blitz rate (14%, 31st) and a high pressure rate (32.6%, 1st). 
  • Mahomes has always handled the blitz well (105.0 passer rating, 75% completion rate against the blitz this season). The way to neutralize is two-deep safeties, solid CB play and get pressure with the defensive line. All things PHI does very well. If his ankle is not 100% and he can’t scramble to make throws (even more important than scrambling for rush yards), PHI should be victorious. 
  • Mahomes had a 67% completion rate overall, but it dropped to 47% when he was under pressure (8.8 ANY/A vs 6.6 under pressure). 
  • Pressure will also be the key for the KC defense. As highlighted last week, their pass defense has been strong to end the season, not allowing a 300-yard passer since Week 7. Over their last seven games, they ranked seventh in pass DVOA (PHI was third). 
  • Jalen Hurts had a 74.5% completion rate (overall), but it plummets to 51% when under duress, one of the biggest gaps in efficiency of any QB this season. The big difference between Hurts and many QBs that struggle under pressure is his ability to get out of trouble with his legs. Hurts led all QBs in carries, yards while finishing with 760 rush yards (50.7 p/g, third). 
  • KC allowed at least 20 rush yards to 11 QBs and the fifth-most rush yards without facing Lamar Jackson, Justin Fields, Daniel Jones or Jalen Hurts. All the other teams in the top five gave up big games to those four running specialists. Burrow had his best-rushing game of the season vs. KC, 11-46-1 in the regular season (4-30-0 in the playoff matchup). 

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