The Philadelphia Eagles face the Kansas City Chiefs on Monday in a blockbuster rematch of last season’s Super Bowl classic that may well turn out to be a preview of next February’s NFL championship game.
Patrick Mahomes celebrates Kansas City’s Super Bowl win over the Philadelphia Eagles last season; the two teams meet again in the regular season on Monday
Patrick Mahomes celebrates Kansas City’s Super Bowl win over the Philadelphia Eagles last season; the two teams meet again in the regular season on Monday ©
Nine months after Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes engineered a last-gasp drive to defeat the Eagles 38-35 to clinch victory in Arizona, arguably the two best teams in the NFL will meet again at Arrowhead Stadium.
The fixture is the undisputed highlight of week 11 in the NFL, and is a rare regular-season collision of the two teams who are currently on track to be the top seeds in their respective conferences.
The Chiefs (7-2) have the best winning percentage in the AFC, while the dominant Eagles are leading the NFC standings with an 8-1 record.
Mahomes, who is neck-and-neck with Eagles counterpart Jalen Hurts in the NFL Most Valuable Player stakes, is anticipating another heavyweight showdown.
“They’re really good,” Mahomes said of the Eagles. “At the end of the day that’s the main thing. They have a lot of the same players; they’ve added some more talent.
“The defensive line is special, one of the best defensive lines I’ve ever seen. Waves of guys that can come in and play, a mix of veterans and young guys.”
The Eagles, meanwhile, head into the game with several players still smarting from last February’s agonizing Super Bowl loss, when they let a 10-point half-time lead slip before losing to Harrison Butker’s winning field goal with eight seconds remaining.
“For me, it’s a little bit more personal,” said Eagles tackle Jordan Mailata.
“I’ll never forget the feeling of that red and gold confetti falling on my head, and I’ll never forget the emotions from that day.
“I haven’t even rewatched the film from that game. It’s hard for me.”
No ‘revenge’ for Kelce
Eagles coach Nick Sirianni meanwhile said he is letting his players decide for themselves whether they want to treat Monday’s clash as an opportunity for revenge.
“My feeling is that if you can use that for extra motivation, then go ahead,” Sirianni said. “But if it’s a distraction, then leave it to one side.”
For Eagles center Jason Kelce, revenge is not on the agenda.
The 36-year-old six-time Pro-Bowler says he is more focused on finally scoring the first win of his career against Chiefs coach Andy Reid and younger brother Travis Kelce, the Chiefs’ star tight end, who used last week’s bye week to watch girlfriend Taylor Swift in concert in Buenos Aires.
Jason Kelce said last season’s Super Bowl thriller has no bearing on Monday’s game.
“It’s not the same game,” Kelce said. “I’m motivated to win the game. I don’t need the Super Bowl to make me want to beat my brother or Andy Reid. I’ve never beaten them in my career.
I’m maybe more motivated by that. I don’t buy into Super Bowl ‘revenge’ games. Each season is different.
“Nothing that goes on out there and happens Monday night is gonna change or make anything different about what happened last year.”
In other games this weekend, the in-form Dallas Cowboys will attempt to stay hard on the heels of the Eagles in the NFC East with victory over the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
Meanwhile in the AFC North, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Cleveland Browns (both 6-3) meet in a game that will the winner move into second place in the division behind the Baltimore Ravens (8-3).
In Houston, the Texans will look to keep their momentum rolling when they host the Arizona Cardinals.
The Texans head into the game on the back of wins over Tampa Bay and Cincinnati in which rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud was outstanding. Stroud has passed for more than 800 yards in his past two games, and is on course to post one of the best rookie seasons in NFL history.