Date & Time: October 3rd – 1:00pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA – Lincoln Financial Field
- Eagles Injury Report
- LT Jordan Mailata (knee)
- Chiefs Injury Report
- CB Charvarius Ward (quad)
- DE Frank Clark (hamstring)
- CB Rashad Fenton (concussion)
The Eagles head into this matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs fresh off a 41-21 dismantling at the hands of the Dallas Cowboys. Former Eagles head coach, Andy Reid returns to Philadelphia with his team coming off a 30-24 loss against division rival, Los Angeles Chargers. Both teams come into this game with 1-2 records.
In their last game, from the beginning it seemed like the Eagles were behind the eight ball. Their defense struggled to contain both the run and the pass and the offense was never able to sustain a drive. They were down early on and became one dimensional on offense, running the ball just 3 times the entire game.
In this game, Nick Sirianni cannot allow this to happen. An offense that lacks balance won’t yield positive outcomes.
Elsewhere, Jalen Hurts had what was likely his worst game in an Eagles uniform. The 2nd-year QB was skittish in the pocket and left several throws on the field. Hurts struggled mightily with reading the field and going through his progressions. In this game Hurts will have to be better. He has to do a much better job of taking what the defense gives him.
The Eagles defense could be in for a long day. Their objective on defense is to not give up big plays, but against a Patrick Mahomes-Tyreke Hill-Travis Kelce offense, there will likely be a lot of big plays for the opposing offense.
5 Things to Watch for the Eagles
1) The re-emergence of the ground game in Philadelphia
As stated, the Eagles ran the ball at a historically low rate a week ago. According to Pro Football Reference, the 3 rushing attempts by the Eagles were the fewest by a team in any game in their database.
This week, an area where the Eagles could have Kansas City’s number is on the ground. According to Pro Football Reference, the Kansas City defense is giving up the 3rd most rushing yards per attempt and has allowed the 2nd most rushing yards in the NFL.
Conversely, Miles Sanders leads the NFL through 3 weeks in yards per carry on 1st down with 8.9. Sanders is also 5th amongst running backs in yards per attempt with 5.2.
Along with the matchup though, running the ball on offense for the Eagles will reinforce an age old sentiment in football: the run alleviates pressure from young quarterbacks.
For this current offense, the use of the run can help in more ways than one. It will help to set up the play action passing game and help take pressure off Jalen Hurts.
2) The usage of the tight end on offense
The Kansas City defense has given up the 5th most receiving yards to tight ends in the NFL across their 3 games.
Dallas Goedert and Zach Ertz will be matched up with linebackers Anthony Hitchens and rookie, Nick Bolton. While Hitchens is adequate against the pass, Bolton can be had in coverage, as he’s allowed a completion percentage 88.9% and 10.1 yards per completion in coverage.
Among tight ends, Dallas Goedert is averaging the most yards per catch in the NFL, but has only been targeted 11 times. This game should feature a ton of looks for the 3rd year tight end.
3) Adjustments on defense
Last week Jonathan Gannon mostly stayed in two high coverage shells and seldom brought safety Anthony Harris down into the box. With veteran Rodney McLeod back this week, we can expect the coverage shells to possibly get a bit more complex.
Dallas had the Philadelphia defense at it’s mercy for most of the game. They were able to move the ball at will and in this game it will likely be much of the same story. It will be very interesting to see how and if, with the added presence of Rodney McLeod if Jonathon Gannon allows his defense to dive a bit more into the playbook and how quickly adjustments will be made.
4) The play of Jalen Hurts
Make no mistake about it, Jalen Hurts’ play has regressed the past two weeks. The things he did well in week one against the Falcons (taking what the defense gave him and playing smart/efficient football) have been noticeably absent from his game the last two matchups.
Hurts’ has left clean pockets way too early, left a ton of throws on the field, made very questionable decisions with the football, and hasn’t played with the same calm and poised demeanor fans have come to know from the Alabama-Oklahoma product.
Against a defense that is 29th is pressures and without it’s number 2 corner, Hurts is a candidate to get back on track and his head coach has to help him too.
5) Will Nick Sirianni have his unit ready?
All offseason Nick Sirianni preached that he would place his players in positions to be successful.
In fact just a few weeks ago he was quoted saying, “Players, players, players, players, players, players. So, what do they do well? Put them in positions of what they do well and then try to match that up to the scheme.”
The last two weeks he hasn’t done this. Instead of sticking what was working (the screen game, RPO game, short passing game which allowed receivers to get the ball in space), Sirianni has opted to force a vertical offense when the skill players are suited for a more horizontal style approach.
Perhaps one of the more questionable declarations from Sirianni came when he stated that his offensive gameplan was to “keep pace” with the Dallas offense. This cannot be the same approach in this game.
Elsewhere, the component of accountability will be interesting to watch. The Eagles lead the NFL in penalties with 35. Penalties are a sign of unpreparedness and bad fundamentals. These fall back on coaching. Sirianni has to have his unit ready to go.
Pick: Chiefs 31, Eagles 24
Offensively, I think the Eagles can score points in this game if Jalen Hurts can get a handle on his play. The Eagles have to run the ball more than they did last week (they literally can’t run it any less). But, I don’t think they have the capabilities to keep the Kansas City offense in check.
Bold Prediction: The Eagles pick off Patrick Mahomes twice