Philadelphia Eagles: 5 Keys To Beating Kansas City Chiefs
Chip Kelly Looks to Bounce Back From His First NFL Loss
It will be something new vs. something old tonight, as first-year head coach Chip Kelly leads his Philadelphia Eagles against former Eagles head coach Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs. Kelly will be tested as his team looks to bounce back from his first NFL loss, while Reid’s Chiefs look to continue their undefeated season.
After 14 seasons in Philadelphia, Reid was fired last December and replaced with Kelly. Both men are known as offense-oriented coaches, but they have demonstrated very different philosophies.
Kelly utilizes a fast-paced, no-huddle offense that generally stresses a large dose of running plays, taking advantage of a spread formation and a tired defense. Reid’s offense is more methodical, especially with quarterback Alex Smith at the helm, with an emphasis on short passes in the traditional west coast scheme. However, the Chiefs have added a couple new wrinkles this season, utilizing the read-option approach as well as the pistol.
The key to Reid’s early-season success, however, has been the Chiefs’ defense. Through two games, they have only allowed one touchdown, while limiting their opponents to 108 total yards rushing, an average of only 54 yards a game. Their defense has also recorded nine sacks so far this season.
How Kelly’s offense, which prefers to be centered on LeSean McCoy’s running, fares against the stifling Chiefs’ defense should decide the game’s outcome. As Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers demonstrated last week, playing with a lead, committing to shutting down the running game and controlling time of possession could be the three keys to beating the Eagles.
5. Michael Vick Needs To Avoid Mistakes
Despite the Eagles’ explosive offensive numbers from the first two weeks of the season, there remains huge opportunities for Michael Vick to execute even better. In their Week 2 matchup against the Chargers, Vick had three errant throws to DeSean Jackson that could have easily been touchdowns, as well as a poor throw to James Casey in the end zone that resulted in a drop. Kelly’s offensive scheme creates mismatches and thus many scoring opportunities; Vick can’t afford to be inaccurate.
4. Eagles' Secondary Needs To Shut Down Dwayne Bowe
After last week’s poor showing by the Eagles’ secondary, they have to be concerned about the Chiefs’ star wide receiver Dwayne Bowe. He has yet to have a breakout game, only amassing 86 yards and one touchdown on eight catches this season. The Birds can’t afford to let Bowe run wild in their defensive backfield like the Chargers’ receiving corps did in last Sunday’s game.
3. Containing Jamaal Charles Is Key To Stopping Chiefs' Offense
No one knows better than Philadelphia how Reid likes to utilize his running backs. Reid has another multi-talented back in Jamaal Charles, who many consider one of the top five halfbacks in the NFL. Charles has 203 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns in the Chiefs’ first two games, and the Eagles can’t afford to let Charles bust loose tonight. If Charles clicks on all cylinders, it will open up the entire Chiefs’ offense, which could mean that the Birds are in for a long night.
2. Fletcher Cox Needs To Be An Impact Player
Credited with only five tackles and one sack through two weeks, Cox needs to improve on those numbers to live up to his potential. With a weak secondary, the Eagles got burned last week with a large number of blitzes that left Charger receivers single covered and thus wide open.
For the Eagles to rely less on the blitz, they need much more pressure from their defensive linemen. It’s time for Cox to shine tonight in the national spotlight. The Eagles need for his name to be called early and often against the Chiefs’ offense.
1. Take Advantage Of Andy Reid's Short Week Of Preparation
Throughout his years in Philadelphia, Reid was known as a terrific game-planner when given proper time. With having only three days to prepare for tonight’s matchup, the whacky NFL schedule could play into the Eagles' hands.
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