The Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) are set to take on the Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) in the prime time edition of Thursday night football. It will be a challenge for Andy Reid and his undefeated Chiefs to go into Philly and try to take a win from his former team. Surely, the fans and players of Philadelphia will be fired up to hand KC and Reid their first loss this season.
The Chiefs are coming off a big win for their franchise this past Sunday against Dallas, and need to keep the momentum going in their favor. Philadelphia is favored, but only by 3 points.
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has done a superb job so far in this young season as he is currently coaching the number one ranked defense in the NFL. The Kansas City defense has only allowed 16 points over two games (2 points from the Jags were a blocked punt) and have been flying to the football. Dontari Poe has dominated the line of scrimmage so far and has already racked up 3.5 sacks from his defensive tackle position.
The Chiefs only have three days to prepare for Chip Kelly’s new fast-paced offense. Philly’s offense is ranked third in scoring per game (31.5) second in yards (477.0) and second in rushing (176.0). For as good as Philly’s offense has been, their defense has been equally as bad.
The Eagles defense is ranked 30th in total defense, giving up an average of 460.5 yards per game. They’ve also given up 60 points over the last two games. The Chiefs have got to find ways to expose Philly’s weak defense if they want to win this game.
Alex Smith has been extremely efficient so far this young season with 4 touchdowns and zero interceptions. The problem is, the Chiefs have been forced into a ton of punting situations. So far in two games, the Chiefs have punted the ball 16 times and again, there is a silver lining to it. No turnovers, and dominating the field position.
Dominating field position is exactly what KC has done over the last two weeks. Dustin Colquitt continues to prove why he is the best punter in football. Last season, Colquitt had 45 punts inside the 20 yard line. Last week against Dallas, Colquitt had punts that landed on the 5, 10, 10, 16, 20 and 4 yard line. Dallas struggled to move the ball when pinned deep, ultimately helping the Chiefs defense to excel.
Michael Vick has been on an efficient attack as well, with 4 touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, Vick has fumbled the ball twice, once in each of the last two games. Vick has a very strong arm and can kill any defense with his speed, but at times throughout his career he has struggled with turnovers. Last season, Vick turned the ball over 22 times through just ten starts. Vick also has a record of injuries. The Chiefs defense needs to be in Vick’s face consistently, and force turnovers.
MATCH-UPS TO WATCH:
Brandon Flowers was abused by Dallas receiver Dez Bryant last Sunday. Bryant had 9 receptions for 141 yards and a touchdown. That was an average of 15.7 yards per catch. Bryant out matched Flowers in size and speed, resulting in his big day. Credit the Chiefs defense though, they stayed true to their game plan with man coverage, and only gave up 16 points to an offense that can hurt you in a lot of other ways.
Flowers will be matched up with the speedy deep threat, DeSean Jackson this week. Without question, Jackson is one of the most dangerous players in the NFL when he has space to work with. Already this season, Jackson has two 100 yard receiving games and 2 touchdowns. It will be crucial for the Chiefs to roll coverage to Jackson’s side on third and long situations, otherwise he will kill the Chiefs deep.
The Chiefs front seven has been stellar so far this season. The Chiefs defense has only allowed 108 yards rushing through two games which is an average of 2.8 yards per carry. Derrick Johnson has been all over the field and Akeem Jordan has been a play maker as well. Jordan’s strip last week was huge for the Chiefs in their win. This week, we’ll see what they’re made of when they face the very dynamic, LeSean McCoy.
McCoy already has 287 yards rushing with an average of 5.7 yards per carry. In his game Sunday against the Chargers, McCoy caught 5 passes for 114 yards, proving he can beat you in more ways than one. McCoy is great at making defenders look dumb with his ankle breaking juke and spin moves. The Chiefs have been excellent against the run so far, but they will have to make sure and break down to make the tackle. McCoy in space is very dangerous for any NFL defense. It will be interesting to see how Coach Sutton plans to slow McCoy down.
The Chiefs and Eagles are both facing disadvantages in this game. Both teams only have 3 days to prepare for one another but the Eagles will be playing their third game in 11 days. With the fast paced offense they run, it will be interesting to see if the offense can keep up the fast paced tempo with limited rest. The NFL only allows a 53 man roster, making it harder to have a deep rotation like Coach Chip Kelly had when running the same offense at Oregon. At some point, the amount of plays they run per game will eventually wear them out. The Chiefs hope it will be this Thursday.
The Chiefs have to travel to the east coast and play against a hostile crowd that wants to see Andy Reid lose in his homecoming. The Chiefs match-up well with Philly, but they will have to continue to play smart, mistake free football. The Chiefs identity is forming to be a scrappy team that wants to protect the football, dominate field position and play mean defense. So far, so good.
The game starts Thursday night at 7:30 pm CDT on NFL Network.