By Kevin McGuire
Fresh off a season-opening win against Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles are heading out west to play the Kansas City Chiefs. It will be a teacher vs. student matchup on the sidelines with Andy Reid of the Chiefs matching wits against his former assistant and current Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Both the Chiefs and Eagles scored double-digit victories on the road in Week 1, but which one was more legitimate in the long run? We’ll get a good understanding of that this Sunday in Arrowhead Stadium.
The Chiefs pulled a stunner of sorts in their season opener last Thursday night on the road against the New England Patriots. The 42-27 victory against the defending Super Bowl champs brought any talk about an undefeated Patriots season to a quick end, but the blowout was no fluke.
The last time the Eagles faced the Chiefs was in 2013 in Philadelphia. It was Andy Reid’s first game as a head coach against the Eagles, and it resulted in a 26-16 win for the Chiefs. The Eagles had won the previous three meetings and own an all-time lead in the series dating back to 1972, 4-3.
Chiefs on Offense
The Chiefs had a masterful performance in their season opener against the Patriots. Kansas City racked up 537 yards of offense against the Patriots last week, and that should raise plenty of alarms for an Eagles defense that played well against Washington. Veteran quarterback Alex Smith had a four-touchdown performance with 368 passing yards, and rookie running back Kareem Hunt out of Toledo had a brilliant debut after losing a fumble on his first career rushing attempt. Wide receiver Tyreek Hill will also be another serious threat for the Eagles secondary this week after losing Ronald Darby for 4-6 weeks with an ankle injury.
Chiefs on Defense
The blowout win against New England came at a cost for the defense. Eric Berry was placed on injured reserve over the weekend with a ruptured Achilles tendon. In his absence, the Chiefs added Steven Terrell to the roster to provide depth at safety for as long as needed. The Chiefs’ pass defense will be a problem for the Eagles. After holding Tom Brady to just 16-of-36, the Chiefs will look to fluster Carson Wentz from the start in Arrowhead Stadium, which can be an intimidating place to play. And if the Eagles cannot get a running game in order, the Chiefs should be capable of shutting that down, too, with a solid defensive line led by Allen Bailey, Bennie Logan and Chris Jones.
Chiefs Players to Watch
Kareem Hunt, Running Back – The rookie out of the MAC burst on the scene in a big way. After losing the football on his first career carry, all Hunt did the rest of the night was have a record-setting performance against the Super Bowl champs in their house with 148 rushing yards and a touchdown and 98 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
Ron Parker, Free Safety – Now that Eric Berry is out of the mix, the Kansas City secondary will be led by Ron Parker. Last week against the Patriots, Parker led the Chiefs with 11 tackles, including 10 solo tackles. Parker was listed as questionable going into last week’s game due to an ankle, but he sure looked good to go once cleared to play.
This is a tough game for the Eagles if they continue to struggle running the football. And if the Chiefs play offense the way they did against the Patriots, how the Eagles hold up remains a big question mark, even though they played well against Washington. This is also the first time Doug Pederson gets a chance to go head-to-head with Andy Reid, as the former Chiefs offensive coordinator had been groomed as a coach under Reid. As far as the coaching matchup is concerned, the Chiefs appear to have the edge at head coach. The Eagles coming home with a 2-0 record would be considered shocking.