Super Bowl LVII was a back-and-forth battle in Arizona: The Eagles started hot, taking a 10-point lead into halftime, but the Chiefs finished stronger, with Patrick Mahomes guiding a fourth-quarter breakout to claim a 38-35 victory. Kansas City can now celebrate its place as an emergent dynasty, having won or appeared in three of the last four championships. But what about this year's runners-up? What are we to make of the No. 1-seeded Eagles who actually entered Sunday's title showdown as the favorite?

Here are some immediate reasons for optimism -- and concern -- in the wake of Philly's Super Bowl LVII defeat:

Reasons for concern

The defense

More specifically, Jonathan Gannon's system. Despite ranking as one of the NFL's best passing and scoring defenses, and easily leading the league in sacks (70), the Eagles had no real answers for Patrick Mahomes, even as the QB almost exclusively -- and predictably -- fed Travis Kelce over the middle. Folding against Mahomes down the stretch is one thing, but Gannon's unit has done this before against legit QBs. So reliant on straight-up front-four pressure, his lack of creative blitzes or red-zone matchups flares up whenever the Eagles face a signal-caller willing and able to take what's given, over and over again.

Internal free agents

General manager Howie Roseman is a practical genius when it comes to quickly rebuilding a contender, but the last time he was charged with maintaining a Super Bowl-caliber roster, he struggled to accurately value past and future production. This time around, he's got a load of big names set to hit free agency and little financial wiggle room at present. Among the vets who could hit the open market: running back Miles Sanders, center Jason Kelce, guard Isaac Seumalo, defensive end Brandon Graham, defensive tackles Javon Hargrave and Fletcher Cox, cornerback James Bradberry and safety C.J. Gardner-Johnson. It's possible Kelce could also retire. Either way, several starting jobs figure to come open.

The road to the Super Bowl

It's just the numbers game: As talented as you may be, it's hard to reach, let alone win, the Super Bowl. Back when the Eagles won it all in 2017, plenty of Philly faithful figured it'd be a relative cakewalk competing for additional rings once then-MVP candidate Carson Wentz returned from injury to reclaim QB duties from Nick Foles, etc. Turns out it took another five seasons and a total overhaul of the roster for the Eagles to sniff another Lombardi. Unless you employ a generational phenom like Tom Brady or, say, Patrick Mahomes, you simply cannot count on chances at Super Bowl redemption.

Reasons for optimism

Jalen Hurts

Speaking of generational phenoms who can single-handedly create championship windows, Hurts may not be that guy yet, but he's certainly on the right track. The 24-year-old QB took a seismic leap as a passer in 2022, going neck and neck for NFL MVP with Mahomes, and he looked every bit his composed self with everything on the line Sunday. Aside from a first-half fumble from which he quickly rebounded, Hurts was nearly flawless in the Super Bowl, showcasing both his trademark running toughness and his markedly improved confidence and touch as a thrower. In such a short time -- two seasons as a full-time starter -- he's grown into one of the Eagles' most trustworthy situational players in recent memory. And he's forever unshaken as a leader.

General youth

Again, you can't count on pristine health or favorable scheduling and what have you, but the offensive core of the Eagles has promising long-term prospects: Besides Hurts, who's 24, the Eagles are guided by Nick Sirianni, who's just 41 and two seasons into the job, and lean heavily on the elite receiving duo of DeVonta Smith (24) and A.J. Brown (25), the latter of whom is already under contract for the foreseeable future. Left tackle Jordan Mailata (25) and Pro Bowl guard Landon Dickerson (24) are also still fresh on the scene. There will be moving parts, for sure, but you can do a whole lot worse when it comes to big-picture forecasts.

The Chiefs factor

A loss is a loss, no matter who dished it out. But certainly there is some solace to be taken, even if not until weeks or months or even years from now, in the fact that Hurts and Sirianni and so many other Eagles fresh on the scene went wire to wire with the NFL's emerging dynasty. Patrick Mahomes, Andy Reid and Travis Kelce are already on track to go down as some of the best at their respective positions, and three Super Bowl appearances in four years confirms they set the current league standard. In Super Bowl LVII, meanwhile, Hurts matched Mahomes almost bar for bar, Sirianni wisely leaned more aggressive than Reid, and a potential comeback was thwarted in part by an iffy defensive holding call that sealed K.C.'s go-ahead field goal.