By ROB MAADDI
AP Pro Football Writer
PHOENIX (AP) — The Philadelphia Eagles left their dog masks at home.
Back in the Super Bowl five years after winning the first Lombardi Trophy in franchise history, the Eagles took a different path to reach this one. They’re 1 1/2-point favorites against the Kansas City Chiefs, per FanDuel Sportsbook, after outscoring the Giants and 49ers 69-14 in the playoffs.
In their previous appearance, the Eagles became the first No. 1 seed to enter the playoffs as a home underdog. After sneaking past Atlanta in the divisional round, they were underdogs against Minnesota in the NFC championship game. They routed the Vikings and went on to beat Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and the favored New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.
During that run, players embraced their underdog status, brought dog masks to the games and wore them around Minnesota for Super Bowl week. No need for any extra motivation this time around.
The Eagles (16-3) are getting much of the hype, even against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs (16-3).
With Jalen Hurts leading a high-powered offense and Haason Reddick headlining a stingy defense, the Eagles have been dominant throughout much of the season.
Meanwhile, the Chiefs had a tougher path to this point. They beat the Jaguars 27-20 in the divisional round and edged the Bengals 23-20 on a field goal in the final seconds. Mahomes played with a badly sprained ankle against Cincinnati. An extra week off has helped but he’ll face a ferocious, relentless pass rush.
“They’re one of the top defenses in the league for a reason,” Mahomes said. “They get after the quarterback, so it’ll be a great challenge for us to go out there and try to have some success.”
The Eagles realize playing against Mahomes is a tougher challenge than Daniel Jones and the Giants, and Brock Purdy/Josh Johnson and the 49ers.
“Mahomes is a tremendous talent,” Reddick said. “I don’t know if you can contain him. He’s that good.”
Both teams have scored 546 points this season. It’s the first time two No. 1 seeds are playing in the Super Bowl since the Eagles-Patriots met after the 2017 season.
The Chiefs have a significant edge in experience as they make their third appearance in this game in four years. Coach Andy Reid is 1-2 in Super Bowls, including a loss with the Eagles 18 years ago. Philadelphia’s Nick Sirianni has never coached in a Super Bowl.
Pro Picks likes talent over experience. The Eagles are stacked, they’re healthy and they’ve been the more impressive team since Week 1.
Last Week: Straight up: 2-0. Against spread: 1-1.
Playoffs: Straight up: 10-2. Against spread: 5-7
Overall season: Straight up: 181-101. Against spread: 141-136-5.
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