The Kansas City Chiefs come to Lincoln Financial Field for a Thursday Night special that pits Kansas City coach Andy Reid against his former team.
Chiefs star running back Jamaal Charles already stated that he wants to “win this one for ‘Big Red.’”
Emotions will be running high as Reid returns to Philadelphia. Many Eagles players are indebted to Reid for either getting second chances (Michael Vick), second contracts (DeSean Jackson), or acting as a father figure.
The Chiefs enter the game 2-0 after narrowly defeating the Dallas Cowboys 17-16. The Eagles enter the game 1-1 after a miserable defensive effort versus the San Diego Chargers.
Quarterback: Alex Smith vs. Michael Vick
Advantage: Vick. Like Michael Vick, Alex Smith is a former number one overall pick. Also like Vick, Smith is a good but great quarterback on his second team. Smith has been teamed with “quarterback guru” Andy Reid and is making steps towards becoming a very good quarterback. Smith is still just 29.
Like Smith, Michael Vick is making the leap to becoming a better quarterback. As of right now, Vick is amongst the best quarterbacks in the league. He is playing in control and making smart decisions with the ball.
Running Back: Jamaal Charles, Knile Davis vs. LeSean McCoy, Bryce Brown
Advantage: Eagles. There is no running back in the league playing better than LeSean McCoy, but if there was one close, that would be Jamaal Charles. Charles is close a Shady clone. Both are very good runners, although Charles is a better receiver out of the backfield. Charles’ backup is rookie Knile Davis.
The Eagles ran McCoy only 11 times versus the Chargers but he caught five passes for 114 yards. Shady will continue to get the ball. Backup Bryce Brown had only four touches. Expect McCoy to be a big part of the offense again.
Wide Receiver: Dwayne Bowe, Donnie Avery, Dexter McCluster vs. DeSean Jackson, Riley Cooper, Jason Avant.
Advantage: Chargers. Mental lapses and penalties “limited” DeSean Jackson to nine catches for 193 yards. Riley Cooper caught his first touchdown of the season and Jason Avant had four receptions. Michael Vick has begun to spread the ball around, although he targeted Jackson a team-high 15 times.
For all the trouble the Eagles defense had with Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal of the Chargers, the Chiefs come in boasting a true number one receiver in Dwayne Bowe. Bowe is a monster and should tear up the Eagles secondary. In Donnie Avery, the Chiefs have a speed guy similar to DeSean Jackson. Meanwhile Dexter McCluster can and will present matchup problems as he will be moved all around the field.
Tight End: Anthony Fasano, Travis Kelce vs. Brent Celek, Zach Ertz
Advantage: Eagles. Fasano is a big tight end known for his consistency. Kelce, brother of Eagles center Jason Kelce, is a rookie with high upside.
Rookie Zach Ertz had two catches for 58 yards while Celek was targeted just once. Expect those numbers to improve for both tight ends as the Chiefs will be sure to pressure Michael Vick all day. Celek will be used as Vick’s safety valve.
Offensive Line: Brandon Albert, Jeff Allen, Rodney Hudson, Jon Aamoah, Eric Fisher vs. Jason Peters, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce, Todd Herremans, Lane Johnson
Advantage: Push. There are not many offensive lines that can challenge Philadelphia’s. The Chiefs boast one of them. Led by rookie left tackle and number pick Eric Fisher, the Chiefs have a large and imposing offensive line.
The Eagles continue to have a dominant line creating time for Vick and space for McCoy to run. Rookie Lane Johnson needs to limit his rookie mistakes that cost the Eagles dearly versus the Chargers.
Defensive Line: Tyson Jackson, Dontari Poe, Mike DeVito vs. Fletcher Cox, Isaac Sopoaga, Cedric Thronton.
Advantage: Chiefs. The Eagles lines had very little pressure versus Philip Rivers and were gashed in the running game by the Chargers trio of Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead, and Ronnie Brown. Could this be the first game that former second-round pick Vinny Curry is activated to provide a pass rush?
The Chiefs employ two former first round picks in Jackson and Poe. Poe has become a force as a nose tackle as the Chiefs are allowing nine points a game.
Linebacker: Justin Houston, Akeem Jordan, Derrick Johnson, Tamba Hali vs. Connor Barwin, DeMeco Ryans, Mychal Kendricks, Trent Cole
Advantage: Chiefs. For as good as Mychal Kendricks looked against Washington, he looked that bad versus San Diego. The Eagles linebacker unit needs to step and provide a pass rush versus the Chiefs or else the Eagles could be in for a blowout. Connor Barwin recorded the only sack for the Eagles and Trent Cole forced his second fumble of the season.
Be scared. Tamba Hali is one of the premier pass rushers in the league and Derrick Johnson is a pro bowl player. Former Eagle Akeem Jordan occupies the other inside linebacker position. The Chiefs linebackers are fast and good.
Secondary: Brandon Flowers, Eric Berry, Kendrick Lewis, Sean Smith vs. Cary Williams, Bradley Fletcher, Patrick Chung, Nate Allen
Advantage: Chiefs. There is not much to say about the Eagles secondary. Cary Williams had a trifecta of pass interference calls, Nate Allen looked as bad as I have ever seen and Patrick Chung missed three tackles. Rookie Earl Wolff saw his snaps increase from 8 to 48. The Eagles get starting cornerback Bradley Fletcher back from injury as Brandon Boykin will move back to the slot.
Free agent signee Sean Smith gives the Chiefs an imposing set of cornerbacks with Brandon Flowers on the other side. Eric Berry is two years removed from an ACL tear and playing at a high level. Although Cowboys wide out Dez Bryant thrashed the Chiefs for over 140 yards, 100 of those were in the first quarter. The Chiefs will be tough to throw against.
Special Teams: Ryan Succop (K), Dustin Colquitt (P), Dexter McCluster (KR), Quintin Demps (PR) vs. Alex Henery (K), Donnie Jones (P), Damaris Johnson (KR), DeSean Jackson (PR)
Advantage: Push. Alex Henery’s missed 46-yarder hurt the Eagles in the long run, but he is still a consistent kicker. Donnie Jones continues to be one of the best in the business.
For the Chiefs, McCluster is a game breaker and must be contained. Kicker Ryan Succop is clutch.
Coaching: Andy Reid vs. Chip Kelly
Advantage: Chiefs. Chip Kelly showed that he does not yet own the NFL with his poor clock management and his rule gaffe.
Andy Reid is a veteran coach who still has many tricks up his sleeve. Don’t be surprised if Reid brings the bag of tricks to Philadelphia, including an onside kick to start the game.
Match ups to Watch:
1. WR DeSean Jackson vs. CBs Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith
2. RT Lane Johnson vs. OLB Tamba Hali
3. WR Dwayne Bowe vs. CB Cary Williams
4. RB Jamaal Charles vs. Eagles front-seven
5. C Jason Kelce vs. NT Dontari Poe
6. RB LeSean McCoy vs. San Diego’s defense
7. QB Alex Smith vs. Eagles secondary
8. DE Vinny Curry vs. Anyone
PREDICTION: Chiefs 27, Eagles 20
(Image Courtesy of SportsPickle.com)
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