Eagles-Chiefs Preview: Many Reasons to Boo
To Boo or Not to Boo
Should Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb be Booed?
Andy Reid returns to Philly on Thursday night as the head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs and I am going to Boo the heck out of him. Of course, I will have to pace myself since the Philadelphia Eagles are retiring Donovan McNabb's number during a halftime ceremony. So many reasons to Boo, so little time. Oh, and there will be a game that night too.
McNabb Booed at Draft
The game will be a matchup of opposites. The Eagles fast-paced offense against the Chiefs stingy defense. The Eagles are second in the NFL in yards per game (477) and third in points per game (31.5). Meanwhile, the Chiefs are second in the NFL in points allowed per game (9) and fourth in total yards allowed per game (194.0).
Eagles Offense versus Chiefs Defense
Michael Vick has been uncharacteristically careful with the football so far this season, as the only turnover he has committed was that strange backwards pass against the Redskins. The law of averages and common sense tell you that he is due for a multiple turnover game soon. Vick ranks third in passer rating (119) which trails only Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers. That won't last. The Chargers stacked the box to stop the Eagles running game, so Vick threw for a career-high 428 yards. He may have to repeat that output since the Chiefs are second in the NFL against the run, allowing only 54 rushing yards per game. The problem with throwing the ball constantly is that the Chiefs also have a good pass rush.
The Chiefs are tied for the NFL lead with 9 sacks. Nose tackle Dontari Poe has 3.5 sacks, so Eagles center Jason Kelce is sure to need help all game long. The Chiefs also get good pressure from OLBs Tamba Hali and Justin Houston, so LT Jason Peters and rookie RT Lane Johnson will have their hands full in this game.
The Eagles receivers have been a huge disappointment outside of DeSean Jackson. In spite of all the preseason talk about Chip Kelly using multiple tight ends, the Eagles TEs have all of five receptions so far. Jackson, on the other hand, leads the NFL in receiving yards, with 297. He'll be covered by cornerback Brandon Flowers, who just did a nice job on the Cowboys' Dez Bryant last week. If Flowers needs help over the top, safety Eric Berry will be there to stop the speedy Jackson.
Of course, Kelly would love to get back to running the ball with LeSean McCoy. And why wouldn't he? McCoy leads the NFL in rushing with 237 yards. The added dimension of the read-option with Vick has only added to how dangerous McCoy can be. And don't forget that McCoy is an excellent receiver out of the backfield with six receptions for 119 yards. McCoy needs to have a big game for the Eagles to win.
Chiefs Offense versus Eagles Defense
Similarly, Kansas City running back Jamaal Charles is the focal point of the Chiefs offense. Charles only has 132 yards this season, but don't forget that his career average of 5.7 yards per carry is tied for the best among running backs in the history of the NFL. Charles also leads the team in catches, with 11 and is second in receiving yardage. The Eagles defense is ranked 19th against the run, but they will need to be better than that on Thursday night.
The Chiefs offensive line is led by LT Brandon Albert and RT Eric Fisher, the first overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft. They have only given up five sacks and after the Eagles didn't get anywhere near Philip Rivers last week, the confidence level is not high that they will do any better this week. Conner Barwin had the only sack last week on the first offensive series, but Trent Cole couldn't even beat Eagles reject King Dunlap last week. Albert is going to knock him down and take his lunch this week. The Eagles linemen simply don't produce any pass rush.
If the Eagles can't get any pressure, Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith will pick them apart. Yes, I know, Smith is an average QB with a pop-gun arm, but what his is is smart. Smith hasn't turned the ball over yet this season and excels at finding the open receivers. After the trouble the Eagles had covering Danny Woodhead and Antonio Gates last week, I'm sure that Charles and TE Anthony Fasano are anticipating a lot of passes thrown their way. Mychal Kendrick was awful against the Chargers, so I'm sure Smith will test him again. Plus, Smith is also mobile, which will cause the Eagles defense problems.
While the Chiefs don't boast a fearsome receiving corps, Dwayne Bowe is a big target at 6-foot-2 and 221 lbs. Cary Williams will most likely cover Bowe, but after Williams got called for three penalties last week, I'm not sure how well he'll do on Thursday night. The Eagles defense will also welcome back Bradley Fletcher at CB, which will allow Brandon Boykin to move back inside to slot corner where he belongs. And I'll say it every week this season; the Eagles have the worst safeties in the entire NFL and they will get burned repeatedly.
The coaching matchup is intriguing because Chip Kelly replaced Andy Reid in Philly after Reid coached the Eagles for 14 years. I have always said that Andy Reid is the worst game day coach in the entire NFL and I'm not backing off of that statement. It was a bit alarming when Kelly had some serious time-management issues at the end of last week's loss to the Chargers though. The guess here is that Reid will get outcoached as usual.
The short week gives the Eagles an advantage because the Chiefs are the team that had to travel. It also hurts the Chiefs that they only had a few days to get ready for Kelly's frenetic offense. The Redskins and Chargers made halftime adjustments against the Eagles, but Reid might as well be a part of McNabb's halftime celebration/joke since he has never made a single halftime adjustment in his entire coaching career.
All the intangibles point towards an easy Eagles win in this game, but I simply can't get past the fact that the Eagles' defense can't stop anybody. Smith is an accurate QB and Charles is a talented back who will make the Eagles pay for their mistakes. Plus, Kansas City's defense looks very good and Vick can't dodge his turnover-prone ways much longer
Chiefs 34 - Eagles 27