Eagles-Chiefs Week 4 Preview: What to watch, predictions
After a miserable showing on Monday, the Philadelphia Eagles are hoping for a chance to rebound at home against the dominant Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City has struggled to start this season, losing their last two games to the Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers. While their offense looks as good as it always has, their defense has been a cause for concern, most notably in the running game.
If there were any game for Nick Sirianni to rebound and change up his game plan entirely from last week, it would be today. Sirianni somehow both admitted blame and doubled down on his rationale for giving Miles Sanders just two carries against Dallas, but there is hope he will finally switch things up. Outside of a run-game adjustment, here are a few things to watch this afternoon.
Old-school Eagles secondary:
Philadelphia’s secondary hasn’t been horrible to start this season, but they got beat badly against a pass-heavy Dallas Cowboys team, and the Chiefs could be worse. When CeeDee Lamb pulled in that huge reception early last week, the Eagles ran a cover two invert. This coverage means that there is one safety, and they play downfield more, leaving the corner one-on-one against the wideout.
If Patrick Mahomes sees this coverage, you can guarantee he will exploit it heavily as much as possible. Darius Slay and Steven Nelson aren’t bad cornerbacks by any means, but I don’t feel confident at all if either has to face Tyreek Hill or Mecole Hardman deep with no help. Kansas City is just too fast, and it’ll look like the days of Rasul Douglas and Byron Maxwell back there.
Jonathan Gannon should be smart enough to adjust, and the Eagles showed a lot of two-high safety coverages before, and their best bet against the deep threats is a cover two-man. So while the corners are manned up, they have that safety help over the top if necessary. The only issue with that coverage is Travis Kelce will dominate against the worst coverage linebackers in football, which he was going to do regardless.
Rolling with the punches:
Once again, the Philadelphia Eagles are dealing with several injuries on their offensive line to start the season. Isaac Seumalo is done for the season, Brandon Brooks is missing a considerable amount of time, and Jordan Mailata missed another week with his MCL sprain. Replacing these three are Andre Dillard, Nate Herbig, and Landon Dickerson.
Herbig didn’t see much time last week but had several starts last season that he should fit in easily. Andre Dillard was the team’s best pass blocker on Monday, while Landon Dickerson continued to struggle. Hopefully, against a Chiefs line facing injuries, these guys can build upon their excellent showings or gain their footing. But still, it’ll be a tougher matchup than the Cowboys were.
Does this team have heart?
After Jalen hurts threw that pick-six last week to start the second half, the Philadelphia Eagles looked deflated and never recovered, despite two full quarters remaining on the clock. Everyone in Philadelphia has counted this team out already, with some contemplating if the Eagles should move on from Jalen Hurts and or Nick Sirianni.
Everybody has something to prove this afternoon, and they need to act like it. The Eagles are going through the gauntlet for the next several weeks, facing the 3-0 Panthers, the Buccaneers, and the 3-0 Raiders their next three games following today. If the Eagles play as they have, it’s almost a guarantee they will be 1-6 and effectively out of the running for the NFC East and the playoffs.
It’s time for the “players coach” to get his players to rally around and play up to their opponents and steal some of these games. If this team plays up to their maximum potential and catches Kansas City off guard, there’s a slight chance it could happen, but many things would need to go their way.
Barring any significant changes, I don’t see how the Eagles come out of this game with a victory without looking drastically different than they did the previous two games. Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce will cause severe problems for the Eagles’ defense and could put this game out of reach before Philadelphia even has a chance.
Chiefs 38 – Eagles 14
Mandatory Credit: Kansas City Chiefs