Super Bowl 2023: Jason Kelce vs. Chris Jones is the underrated duel as Chiefs and Eagles battle it out for the title

PHOENIX, AZ — Quarterbacks get all the attention and headlines. That’s especially true when Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, two MVP finalists, go head-to-head on the Super Bowl LVII stage on Sunday. However, when it comes to which of these quarterbacks will actually hoist the Lombardi Trophy when that super first leg is over, it could come down to what happens in the trenches.

Retire this Super Bowl match and you’ll find a looming clash between two of the NFL’s best at what they do — Eagles center Jason Kelce versus Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones. But don’t take my word for it.

“Chris Jones is at least one of, I would say, the best defensive tackle in the NFL,” Kelce said from his podium during Super Bowl Opening Night.

“[Kelce’s] a stud, man,” Jones said of his upcoming opponent. “Probably the best center in the league in my opinion.”

Kelce is making headlines for a high-level offensive line in Philadelphia that was the best in the NFL in passing blocking and third in run blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. With Kelce in particular, he only allowed pressure 1.2% of the time this season, which ranked second in the league among all offensive linemen who registered at least 500 pass-blocking snaps.

“They have a remarkable offensive line,” Jones said. “Tough guys. The best offensive line in the whole league. It’s going to be a challenge.”

That unit and Kelce will be put to the test against Jones, who finds himself in the midst of a dominant season. He comes into Super Bowl LVII with 17.5 sacks a year, 35 quarterback hits and 93 pressures (including playoffs). Each of them are #1 defensive tackles.

“H has everything,” Kelce said of Jones. “Whenever you play a defender, try to figure out what their strengths and weaknesses are. Is he a fast guy? Is he a strong guy? Is he a tall guy? Chris has all of that. That’s not a combination you like to see [as an offensive lineman]. You can’t count on him trying to edge or do something quick off the ball, or he’ll run right through you. You can’t crouch and prepare for the Force or he’ll gain an advantage. Anything you can do to take his moves away from him, he has a counter to it. So he’s a guy who can ruin games. He’s ruined games and he’s a guy that we need to pay a lot of attention to this week.”

For Kelce, Jones ruined his AFC Championship matchup against Cincinnati to help Kansas City make its sixth Super Bowl appearance in six years. In that win, he recorded 10 pressure points, five quarterback hits and two sacks. This is only the fourth incident this season (including playoffs) and Jones accounts for two of them.

So while you sit back to watch these teams compete for immortality, take a look at what’s happening here with Kelce and Jones. Whoever comes out on top there will likely tell you which club is the last standing. Super Bowl 2023: Jason Kelce vs. Chris Jones is the underrated duel as Chiefs and Eagles battle it out for the title

Chris Estrada

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