The 1-2 Eagles will face the 1-2 Chiefs this Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field. While both teams sport the same record, not all 1-2’s are made the same, and that reigns true in this matchup.
The defending AFC champs are coming off two straight losses, both of which happened in dramatic fashion. The Eagles, on the other hand, are coming off two straight losses that were much more revealing. They were essentially shut out in the second half of their Week 2 matchup, and Philly got embarrassed in front of the country by the Cowboys this past Monday night.
Precedent would tell us that both teams will come out firing in this game. Hopefully that’s how it unfolds, otherwise, it could get pretty ugly for this young Eagles squad.
Here’s everything you need to know heading into this Week 4 contest between the Eagles and Chiefs.
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OUT: LT Jordan Mailata (knee)
ACTIVE: S Rodney McLeod
IR: OG Brandon Brooks, TE Jason Croom, T/G Jack Driscoll, DE Brandon Graham, TE Tyree Jackson, CB Josiah Scott, OG Isaac Seumalo, WR Michael Walker, S K’Von Wallace
Jordan Mailata will miss his second straight start after suffering a knee injury in practice last week. Andre Dillard will again start in his place. Safety Rodney McLeod will make his 2021 debut this week after nursing and rehabbing the ACL tear he suffered last year. He’ll be a welcomed addition to the Eagles secondary.
The IR list for the Eagles continues to grow, with Isaac Seumalo and K’Von Wallace being the latest additions.
OUT: CB Rashad Fenton (concussion), DE Frank Clark (hamstring)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Charvarius Ward (quad)
IR: LB Willie Gay, RB Elijah McGuire, WR Chad Williams
Chiefs cornerback Rashad Fenton has been ruled out with a concussion.
Defensive end Frank Clark was originally listed as questionable, but has since been downgraded to out. Corner Charvarius Ward is listed as questionable after being a limited participant in practice this week. Kansas City’s defense has been pretty terrible this year, allowing the most points in the NFL, so not having these guys will certainly hurt.
Biggest offensive threat to Philly: TE Travis Kelce
Tight ends have roasted the Eagles for years, and it seems like that trend could continue this year. While Jonathan Gannon’s group was able to limit tight end production in the first two weeks, Cowboys tight end Dan Schultz burned the Eagles secondary last week to the tune of six receptions for over 100 yards and two touchdowns.
Travis Kelce is arguably the best tight end of this generation and he’s on a record pace to start his 2021 campaign. Through three games, he’s racked up 20 receptions for 289 yards and three touchdowns. Patrick Mahomes has a passer rating of 118.9 when targeting Kelce.
Gannon’s group will have their hands full with the entire Chiefs offense, but Kelce presents the biggest mismatch by far. Even with McLeod back in the fold, the Eagles are not well equipped to slow down a tight end of Kelce’s caliber. At least schematically, Gannon’s defense is built to limit the big play threats of Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman. When it comes to Kelce, defenses can only hope to contain him.
Biggest area of weakness for Kansas City’s offense: Turnovers
While the Chiefs don’t have any glaring weaknesses at any of their offensive positions, they’ve had trouble holding onto the ball this year. They have the highest turnover percentage of any team in football with a 21.4% mark. Their -3 turnover differential is in the bottom half of the league as well.
They’ve turned it over on fumbles (3) just as often as Mahomes has tossed interceptions (3). They’ve still managed to put up great offensive production, but the costly turnovers have hurt their potential.
The Eagles recorded their first turnover of the year last week against Dallas. Only getting one takeaway through three games is pretty terrible — it’s hard to consistently stop potent offenses without creating any turnovers and they found that out last week against Dallas.
The Eagles only real hope at slowing down the Chiefs high powered offense is to create turnovers and give their offense some short fields to work with.
Biggest defensive threat to Philly: EDGE Chris Jones
Kansas City’s defense has been putrid through three games this year. The lone bright spot has been defensive end Chris Jones, who’s tallied two sacks, five quarterback hurries, one quarterback hit, and eight total pressures thus far.
He’ll primarily lineup against Andre Dillard. I broke this matchup down more in-depth earlier this week, so you can click here to see that.
In short, Dillard was stellar in his Week 3 start against Dallas. Facing Micah Parsons and Randy Gregory is no easy feat, and Dillard passed with flying colors. Jones brings a lot more nuance to his pass rushes, though, so Dillard will likely have his hands full.
Biggest area of weakness for Kansas City’s defense: Rush defense
Nick Sirianni opted to hand the ball of just three times during the loss to Dallas Monday night. His reasoning — to keep up with Dallas’ high powered offense. While he’ll be facing another electric offense this week, hopefully he’s learned that slowing the game down and keeping the ball out of Mahomes’ hands is also an efficient way of keeping pace.
Kansas City’s run defense has been pretty awful through three games. They’ve allowed a total of 481 rushing yards thus far, second-most in the NFL. And they’ve given up seven rushing touchdowns, most in the league.
There’s no reason the Eagles shouldn’t attempt to exploit this glaring weakness. Miles Sanders should get the ball early and often, along with Kenny Gainwell. Jalen Hurts should also be able to dice up Kansas City with rushes of his own.
Every stat in the book would indicate that running the ball is the way to go in this one. If Sirianni neglects the running game again, I’ll be at a loss for words.
It goes without saying, this is not going to be an easy game for the Eagles to bounce back in. Not only are they facing Patrick Mahomes and Co., but the Chiefs are a desperate football team trying to keep pace in a vastly improved AFC West.
If the Eagles run the ball and are able to control the clock, along with creating some timely turnovers, they’ll be able to keep this game close. But in the end, Kansas City is too good to lose this type of game to a team that’s still trying to find their way.
I’m going with the Chiefs in this one, 35-24. It’s still Go Birds — it’s just impossible to confidently pick them in this game.
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