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Chiefs, Eagles made these key moves to get to Super Bowl

The last time the Super Bowl 57-bound Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles faced each other was during the second month of the 2021 season.

Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes threw five touchdown passes in a 42-30 win, while Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 387 yards with two touchdowns as three other touchdowns were taken off the board due to penalties.

The Chiefs finished last year in the AFC title game, while the Eagles had a first-round loss to Tom Brady and the Buccaneers.

Look at them now.

The Chiefs are back in the Super Bowl, hoping to win their second title under Mahomes and coach Andy Reid in four years. The Eagles hope to lead the franchise to another Super Bowl after they beat Brady and the Patriots in 2017.

Super Bowl Central: Super Bowl 57 odds, Eagles-Chiefs matchups, stats and more

Hurts provided some wisdom after that Chiefs-Eagles game in his second season in the NFL.

“We played a good football team out there today – a team many say generationally is one of the best,” Hurts said of the Chiefs on Oct. 3, 2021.

“We have to put it together and we will. We’re not a finished product.”

Both teams made significant roster moves over to reach Super Bowl 57. Here are some of the key ones:

EAGLES MOVES

A.J. Brown

It’s amazing what a star receiver can do for a young quarterback.

The Tennessee Titans traded Brown to the Eagles at the 2022 draft after he did not reach a new deal. (He signed one with the Eagles.)

Brown has transformed the Eagles offense, leading the team with 11 touchdowns and 1,496 yards receiving, while allowing receiver Devonta Smith to also shine.

Haason Reddick

The Eagles signed Reddick in the offseason to a three-year, $45 million deal to bolster their defensive line.

Reddick led the Eagles with 16 sacks on a team that had three other players reach double-digits, and he also led the way with five forced fumbles and 26 hits on the quarterback.

Reddick was considered a first-round bust after four seasons with the Cardinals, but he proved himself worthy of a long-term deal after a stellar season in Carolina last year. Now, he’s the first player in league history with double-digit sacks for three different teams in three consecutive seasons.

James Bradberry

The Eagles signed Bradberry to a one-year, $10 million deal after he was released by the Giants, and he provided Philadelphia with another shutdown cornerback opposite Darius Slay.

Bradberry was first on the team with 17 pass deflections and tied with Slay for second with three interceptions.

But Bradberry’s most impressive statistic is his 51.6 passer rating allowed when targeted , which ranks second in the entire NFL.

Chauncey Gardner-Johnson

Like Brown, the Eagles’ acquisition of Gardner-Johnson, who is one of the best young nickel cornerbacks in the NFL, was a signal to the entire franchise.

The Eagles were in win-now mode, and landing Gardner-Johnson from the New Orleans Saints before the season was the final piece to a menacing defense.

Gardner-Johnson led the Eagles with six interceptions, and he has returned after suffering a lacerated kidney in late November for the Eagles’ playoff run.

Kyzir White

White, who signed a one-year, $3 million deal, has also been a bargain that has paid off for the Eagles.

White is a former college safety whose range at linebacker is ideal.

He has shored up the middle of Philadelphia’s defense, with 110 total tackles, second on the team.

CHIEFS MOVES

Isiah Pacheco

Two years after drafting Clyde Edwards-Helaire with a first-round pick, the Chiefs added another starter by discovering Pacheco in the seventh round of the 2022 draft.

Pacheco has been instrumental as a hard-running rookie, helping Kansas City realize it must commit to the run game in order to balance its offensive attack behind Mahomes.

Pacheco led the Chiefs with 830 rushing yards and five touchdowns in the regular season, and he had 101 total yards against the Jaguars that helped them advance in the first round of the playoffs.

Marquez Valdes-Scantling

While tight end Travis Kelce gets most of the attention and fellow offseason addition Juju Smith-Schuster has contributed as the team’s second-leading receiver, Valdes-Scantling proved his worth during the AFC title game.

Valdes-Scantling stretched the fieldto haul in six catches for 116 yards against the Bengals, including a 19-yard touchdown that gave Kansas City a lead in the second half. He also was the team’s third-leading receiver this season.

Signed to a three-year, $30 million contract during the offseason to help bolster the receiving core after the loss of Tyreek Hill, Valdes-Scantling will be key in helping Kansas City chase another championship.

Jerick McKinnon

Re-signing McKinnon, a seven-year veteran, may have been one of the Chiefs’ most important moves in hindsight.

McKinnon went on a tear in the final six games of the regular season, catching eight of his nine receiving touchdowns, while also adding a rushing touchdown in the mix, to help the Chiefs clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC.

McKinnon’s experience, ability to pass block, and pass-catching talent have been vital to Kansas City’s success on offense.

Justin Reid

While the Chiefs have used a rookie secondary of Trent McDuffie, Jaylen Watson, Bryan Cook and Joshua Williams, the offseason signing of Reid has provided a steady veteran presence in the back end.

Reid, who who was signed to replace Tyrann Mathieu, is tied for fourth with seven pass deflections and is fourth with 83 total tackles.

George Karlaftis III

Karlaftis, a first-round rookie out of Purdue, has turned it on during the second half of the season with 6 ½ sacks (of seven) coming in the Chiefs’ last nine games.

Karlaftis finished second behind the 15 ½  sacks provided by star defensive tackle Chris Jones. 

Karlaftis’ 48 pressures on the quarterback rank second among rookies behind Detroit Lions standout Aiden Hutchinson, who was the No. 2 pick in the 2022 NFL draft.

Karlaftis has started every game for the Chiefs, and he has been a key part of the team’s edge setting behind Jones and Frank Clark.

This post appeared first on USA TODAY

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