PHOENIX, AZ -- Quarterbacks get all the attention and the headlines. That's particularly true when you have the likes of Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts, two MVP finalists, set to duke it out on the Super Bowl LVII stage on Sunday. However, when it comes to which of those quarterbacks will actually be hoisting the Lombardi Trophy when this super shindig is all said and done, that can could come down to what happens in the trenches.
As you peel this Super Bowl matchup back, you'll find a looming clash of two of the NFL's best at what they do -- Eagles center Jason Kelce vs. Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones. But don't take my word for it.
"Chris Jones is at least one of the best, 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 eyes."
Kelce headlines a top-ranked Philadelphia offensive line that was the best in the NFL in passing blocking and third in run blocking, according to Pro Football Focus. Specifically, with Kelce, he allowed pressure on just 1.2% of the time this season, which ranked second in the league among all offensive linemen that registered at least 500 pass-blocking snaps.
"They have a remarkable offensive line," said Jones. "Tough guys. The best offensive line in the league collectively as a whole. It's going to be a challenge."
That unit and Kelce will be put to the test against Jones, who is in the midst of a dominating season himself. He enters Super Bowl LVII with 17.5 sacks on the year, 35 quarterback hits, and 93 pressures (including playoffs). Each of those ranks No. 1 among defensive tackles.
"H's got everything," Kelce said of Jones. "Whenever you play a defensive lineman you try to figure out what their strengths are, what their weaknesses are. Is he a quick guy? Is he a strong guy? Is he a long guy? Chris has all of those. That's not a combination you like to see [as an offensive lineman]. You can't bank on knowing that he's going to try and work an edge or do something quick off the ball or he'll run right through you. You can't hunker down and get ready for power otherwise he's gonna work an edge. All the things you can do to take away moves that he's got, he's got a counter to it. So, he's a guy that can ruin games. He has ruined games and he's a guy that we're going to have to apply a lot of attention to this week."
To Kelce's point, Jones ruined his matchup in the AFC Championship against Cincinnati to help propel Kansas City to its sixth Super Bowl appearance in six years. In that win, he registered 10 pressure, five quarterback hits, and two sacks. That's just the fourth instance that's occurred this season (including playoffs) and Jones accounts for two of them.
So, as you sit back to watch these teams dual for immortality, take a gander at what happens here with Kelce and Jones. Whoever comes out on top there will likely tell you which club will be the last one standing.