When: Thursday, Sept 19
Time: 7:25 p.m., CT
Where: Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, Pa.
TV Broadcast: NFLN (8:25 PM ET): Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, Alex Flanagan (Field reporter). Check your local listings for any local broadcasts.
Radio Broadcast: Westwood One: Ian Eagle, Boomer Esiason, Mark Malone (Field reporter). Over 60 radio stations on the Chiefs Radio Network; Mitch Holthus, Len Dawson, Kendall Gammon, commentators, Chiefs Spanish Radio: La Gran D (1340 AM); Play-by-Play: Enrique Morales - Color Commentator: Oscar Monterroso - Sideline Reporter: Ricardo Soto
SIRIUS: 88 (WW1), 92 (KC), 86 (Phi.). XM: 88 (WW1), 225 (KC), 86 (Phi.).
If you send your Chiefs Examiner a dollar, he promises not to mention that Kansas City Chiefs head coach, Andy Reid, is returning to Philadelphia tonight to take on the team he coached for 14 years. Oops! Oh well, keep the dollar.
“This is about our football team, it’s not about me, it’s not a one-man show,” Reid told reporters earlier this week. “It has nothing to do with that. That was demonstrated when we had the opportunity to play the Cowboys. That was a team effort. This will take a team effort when we play the Philadelphia Eagles. That’s what I believe in and I know.”
The Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles for a prime time game shown on The NFL Network, which means they’re the only game on and everyone will be watching. It also means the Eagles fans might be dressed more formally when they boo former QB, Donovan McNabb, at halftime when he gets inducted into the Eagles Hall of Fame. The Reid/Eagles side story has been done to death, but there is no doubt to fans in Kansas City that they are thrilled Reid’s time in Philly came to a rocky end last year.
After just two weeks of this season, this is already a vastly improved KC team that seemingly knows what they’re doing on the field. The offense has yet to hit on all cylinders, but they are a perfect 5-for-5 on scoring touchdowns in the red zone inside the 20-yard line. The defense has been magnificent so far, shutting out Jacksonville in Week One and keeping the Dallas Cowboys to a manageable 16 points in a win last week.
But while the Chiefs appear to be on track to become relevant in the league again, Reid’s replacement in Philly has brought his own excitement to the league. Under Chip Kelly, Philadelphia's fast-paced, no-huddle offense has totaled 954 yards and seven touchdowns in two games. LeSean McCoy has rushed for 237 yards on 42 carries and gained another 119 on six receptions.
Last year, a rib injury limited wide receiver DeSean Jackson to 45 receptions, 700 yards and two TDs in 11 games, but he's caught 16 balls for 297 and matched that touchdown total this year.
"We've studied them a lot in the offseason," Kansas City defensive coordinator Bob Sutton said earlier this week. "We've been grinding since (Sunday) night. I don't think the problem will be seeing it, the problem will be getting the plan in and executing it."
Offensively, look for the Chiefs to use the running game and the controlled passing game QB Alex Smith excels at to eat up the clock and try to keep the defense fresh. Last week, the San Diego Chargers used that formula to double Philly’s time of possession in their 33-30 win.
Defensively, the name of the game will be to hit Eagles QB Mike Vick hard – and hit him often – because the somewhat fragile Vick is already limping noticeably by the end of games and has a history of becoming a turnover machine when dinged up. Much like last week when Dez Bryant was killing the Chiefs secondary, the Eagles will hit some big plays, but the defense will have to be disciplined enough to forget about it and move on to the next play.
Here are three things Chiefs fans should be watching for tonight if the Chiefs are going to improve their record to 3-0 for the first time since the 2010 season:
- Tamba Hali … come on down!! Despite the gift pick-six he got against the Jags, Tamba Hali hasn’t been the defensive force he has been in the past (yes … it’s ONLY been two games!). This week, Hali will be lining up against rookie tackle Lane Johnson and must make his presence known to Mr. Vick. It’s time for Tamba to register a multiple-sack game.
- Keep Vick in the pocket. Throughout his career with just a handful of exceptions, Vick does his damage when moving around and buying time for his receivers to get open. Or, when that doesn’t work, he takes off downfield for a 50-yard scamper. When Vick stays in the pocket, he is actually a very average QB, so it will be up to Chiefs tackle Dontari Poe to keep his level of play high and collapse the pocket from the inside. Even the best QBs hate pressure from their front and while Vick is one of the more athletically-gifted quarterbacks to play in the last 20 years, he’s still just a mortal when he has to stand still and throw the ball.
- Hang onto the ball. The Eagles offense won’t need any help running up a ton of plays and this team has three playmakers that can score from anywhere on the field (Vick, Jackson, and McCoy), so the Chiefs MUST win the turnover battle if they want to be in a position to win in the fourth quarter. Philly doesn’t need any short fields to navigate for a score, and if the Chiefs turn it over when they are in the red zone, it will be a killer. If the Chiefs have more than one turnover in the game and Philadelphia doesn’t have three or more, this could be a long night for KC.
Prediction: If this was later in the season and the Chiefs had tons of game film to watch, I’d feel better about their chances to win. On the plus side, I give the Chiefs a huge advantage on the coaching side of the ball, but this offense might be so new that it will take the Chiefs time to adjust. The problem is that KC doesn’t have the offensive firepower to get into a track meet with Philly, so it looks like Reid will have to wait until next time to beat the Eagles.
Eagles – 27, Chiefs - 20
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