The Chiefs host the Philadelphia Eagles in their home opener this Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium.
Both teams are coming off impressive Week 1 road victories. Kansas City stunned the New England Patriots,Authentic Cooper Kupp Jersey, scoring 21 fourth-quarter points en route to a 42-27 victory. Philadelphia forced four turnovers against the Washington Redskins and came away with a 30-17 win.
Andy Reid and Doug Pederson,Both teams’ coaches,Womens John Johnson Jersey, know each other extremely well. Pederson played for Reid and coached under him for seven seasons as a quarterbacks coach and offensive coordinator.
Sunday’s game should be an interesting chess match between the two. Let’s get to know the Eagles a bit and see what it will take for a Chiefs victory.
The Eagles lead the all-time series over the Chiefs with a 4-3 record. The latest matchup between the two teams was Week 3 of the 2013 season where the Chiefs defeated the Eagles 26-16 at Lincoln Financial Field.
Who could forget the Chiefs heartbreaking collapse vs. the Eagles at Arrowhead in 2005? The Chiefs got off to a 24-6 lead in the first half, only to lose 37-31. KC missed the playoffs by one game that season.
Pederson joined the Eagles in 2016 and hired offensive coordinator Frank Reich and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz.
He drafted quarterback Carson Wentz with the second overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. They started with a bang in 2016 jumping out to a 3-0 record,Womens Josh Reynolds Jersey, but would ultimately finish just 7-9.
Pederson brought over Reid’s West Coast/read option offense with him to Philly. Much like the Chiefs, sending guys in motion,Authentic Dan Marino Jersey, the Eagles offense is about timing routes, screens, read options,Naturally, zone running,Womens Cooper Kupp Jersey, frequent substitutions and timely deep shots downfield.
Last season the Eagles finished 22nd in total offense. They particularly struggled in the passing game where they finished 24th overall in passing offense. Wentz had a typical up-and-down rookie season but has some new weapons at his disposal this year with wideouts Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith.
WR Nelson Agholor is another weapon who does a nice job in the slot. Agholor is kind of the Eagles’ version of Chiefs receiver Tyreek Hill. He has tremendous speed and lines up all over the place. If the ball doesn’t go to him he is a valuable decoy and defenses must have a constant respect for him.
This opens things up for Jeffery and Smith. Both receivers are good route runners with sure hands and also possess the speed to take the top off of defenses. Then there’s tight end Zach Ertz, who led the team in catches last season with 78.
Ertz is a big target at 6-foot-5 who can block and line up out wide. He’s athletic enough to beat linebackers and his size is a mismatch for most defensive backs. The Eagles have really loaded up their passing offense and it will come down to Wentz taking the next step and fully utilizing his arsenal.
Philly is no slouch running the ball either. Last season they ranked 11th in the NFL in total rushing. 13-year veteran running back Darren Sproles continues to defy odds and make plays. RB Wendell Smallwood got his feet wet last year and made some plays and will be in the rotation again this year.
The big backfield addition for the Eagles was RB LeGarrette Blount. He led the NFL with 18 rushing touchdowns for the New England Patriots last season. For now he appears to be the team’s lead back as he led the Eagles in carries last week with 14. He is still one of the league’s best short-yardage and goal-line backs.
As a whole the Chiefs defense fared well against the Patriots’ run game last week,Authentic John Johnson Jersey, but they did give up three rushing touchdowns. The key will be for them to stay disciplined on all the motions and misdirections. They practice against basically the same offense every day so it shouldn’t be anything too new for them.
it starts with getting pressure on Wentz. He is still a young QB and can be forced into mistakes. Getting a good push inside the pocket will throw his timing off on the timing routes,Authentic Josh Reynolds Jersey,For the passing defense, forcing him to improvise. He will also test the Chiefs deep with his cannon of an arm. Getting him uncomfortable could lead to him forcing those deep shots.
Schwartz employs a base 4-3 defense and does a great job with the wide-nine attack. In the wide nine,Authentic Samson Ebukam Jersey, defensive ends line up a couple of feet outside the tackles or outside the tight end. They line up at a bit of a slant and rush the passer from the outside or set the edge against the run.
This makes it hard for teams to run outside the tackles to the perimeter of the field, turning them inside and allowing the linebackers to make the tackles. The Chiefs often run the jet sweep with Hill and De’Anthony Thomas so it will be interesting to see if they keep with it or try to avoid it.
The wide nine is susceptible to getting gashed up the middle. With each defensive end coming from so far out wide,Womens Samson Ebukam Jersey, if the interior offensive line can get a good push it can do some real damage through the middle. It also allows the offensive line to get to the second level more quickly. The wide nine is also susceptible to draws and counter plays.
Eagles defensive end Brandon Graham is one of the best ends in the game and had two sacks last week against Washington. Paying extra attention to him by jamming or getting a chip on him would be a good idea. QB Alex Smith will need to step up in the pocket and get the ball out quickly against this defensive line.
QB Carson Wentz
The Eagles tried everything they could to protect their investment in the former No. 2 overall pick by loading up the offense with weapons for him this offseason. He is an athletic guy who can move around in the pocket and throw on the run effectively. He will also hurt you down the field if he has time.
WR Alshon Jeffery
Jeffery had a quite debut for the Eagles last week catching just three balls for 38 yards. There will likely be an emphasis on getting him more involved in the offense this week. Beyond cornerback Marcus Peters there are shaky options for KC in the secondary.
WR Nelson Agholor
As mentioned above, Agholor lines up everywhere in the Eagles offense and may be its most dangerous weapon. This is where the loss of CB Steven Nelson is going to hurt for the Chiefs. Hopefully defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has some tricks up his sleeve to slow down the playmaker.
DE Brandon Graham
Last week Graham had the second highest Pro Football Focus overall grade among defensive players. Last season he had just 5.5 sacks but registered 83 total pressures which was third best in the NFL. We’ve seen what a different quarterback Smith is when he’s under pressure and when he’s not, so keeping Graham at bay will be key.
MLB Jordan Hicks
Hicks may be the most underrated linebacker in the NFL. Last season he led all linebackers with five interceptions and the most passes defended with 11. He also had the lowest QB rating allowed in coverage per Pro Football Focus. Look for him to be matched up with tight end Travis Kelce and the Chiefs’ running backs running routes out of the backfield.
Chiefs safeties vs. TE Zach Ertz
With safety Eric Berry lost for the season there is a bit of a mystery as to how he will be replaced. Will they just plug a player right into his role? Or will it be done by committee?
Time will tell but for now it seems like it will be by committee. Whoever has the task of covering Ertz will have his hands full. He can hurt you underneath as well as down the middle and in the red zone. If the Chiefs struggle here it could be a sign for a problem they could have all season.
OLB Dee Ford vs. LT Jason Peters
Ford didn’t make much of an impact against the Patriots last week other than a couple of QB hurries. He was called offside twice which has been a big problem for him. As good as fellow linebacker Justin Houston is,Womens Dan Marino Jersey, the Chiefs need Ford to step up and start contributing more to complement Houston.
He’ll face a tall task against nine-time Pro Bowler Jason Peters. Peters has been one of the best left tackles in the NFL for a long time and is still going strong. He did go down with a groin injury in the first half against the Redskins last week but should be ready to go vs. KC.
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