Super Bowl LVII will be headlined by some of the NFL's biggest names, including MVP finalists Patrick Mahomes and Jalen Hurts. The matchup between the Chiefs and Eagles is chock-full of elite talent. But championships aren't always won by the expected heroes. Year after year, the Super Bowl stage proves capable of spotlighting players who previously flew under the radar.
With that in mind, here are five Eagles who could emerge as surprise keys to victory on Super Bowl Sunday:
RB Kenneth Gainwell
Miles Sanders is the top ball-carrier next to Hurts in the Eagles' steady run game, but Gainwell has recently flashed shades of Corey Clement, the team's change-of-pace weapon during the 2017 title run. After totaling 53 carries in the regular season, he's already up to 26 in the playoffs, combining for almost 200 scrimmage yards in two games. More than that, he's drawn crucial late-game reps as a go-to third-down option, showing extra fight after contact down the stretch.
WR Quez Watkins
All eyes are on A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, the Eagles' elite one-two duo out wide, and Dallas Goedert's presence means Watkins will be Hurts' No. 4 target at best. He's been very quiet lately, shuffled out of the lineup in favor of Zach Pascal for run-heavier game plans, securing no more than one target in three of his last four games. But the speedy Watkins has also had some big plays in big spots, including a pair of prime-time scores. And the Chiefs' pass defense has proven vulnerable.
DE Josh Sweat
Haason Reddick has been an absolute force headlining the Eagles' NFL-best pass rush, manning the stand-up role in Jonathan Gannon's flexible front. But Sweat is still nationally underrecognized as a traditional 4-3 edge, especially considering he's coming off a career season (11 sacks, 15 tackles for loss, 23 QB hits). He's the guy most likely to go blow for blow with star Chiefs left tackle Orlando Brown Jr. in the trenches, and his persistence could end up swinging the matchup.
CB Avonte Maddox
The Eagles' secondary is buoyed by the appropriately handsy coverage of Darius Slay Jr. and James Bradberry, arguably one of the top cornerback duos in the game. Maddox also missed extended time late this year due to injury, helping keep him off the radar. But the veteran slot corner has a chance to remind everyone why Howie Roseman paid him relatively big bucks before. He could be the first man up against both Travis Kelce and the many shifty backs and receivers K.C. likes to move around.
CB Zech McPhearson
When Maddox is situated in the slot, McPhearson is the next man up on the outside. Beyond that, the second-year Texas Tech product has emerged as the Eagles' special teams ace, often serving as a top gunner on coverage units. Chiefs punter Tommy Townsend has been one of the NFL's best at pinning opposing teams inside their own 20, and the Eagles are potentially returning Arryn Sippos, who's been solid at doing the same, making McPhearson all the more valuable.
"Games like this, big stages, you've gotta have a momentum swing somehow," McPhearson told CBS Sports in Phoenix this week. "So special teams is definitely gonna have -- whatever it may be, whether it's a big tackle, a big return. Something's going to happen that's gonna change the game on special teams, for sure."