Philadelphia’s Week 3 match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs has been marked on every Philly fans calendar ever since the Chiefs hired their former head coach on January 4, 2013.
Reid, 55, spent 14 seasons at the helm of the Eagles, leading them to six NFC East titles, three consecutive NFC Championship appearances and a trip to the 2004 Super Bowl (lost to the New England Patriots 24-21). The offensive mastermind led Philly to eight seasons of double-digit wins, and posted a career 130-93-1 regular season mark (10-9 in the postseason) prior to his December 31 firing.
Shortly following his hiring in Kansas City, he began to make his own mark on the franchise by bringing in his own quarterback––former No. 1 overall draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers Alex Smith. Smith has the Chiefs at 2-0 thus far in 2013, and has one of the AFC’s most electrifying running backs coming out of his backfield in speedster Jamaal Charles.
Though Smith is more of a game manager rather than a shoot-out type quarterback, if Charles is utilized to the best of his ability and can get 30+ touches tonight, they have a chance at keeping up with Philadelphia’s new, fast-paced offense under head coach Chip Kelly––who has done a decent job at replacing Reid so far. Philadelphia’s defense is fresh off their 33-30 loss to KC’s inter-division rival San Diego, and they have clearly struggled stopping offenses through two weeks.
Keys to the Game
*Protect the football. The biggest reason for KC’s early success, in my opinion, is because they have protected the football and have yet to have a single turnover. Let’s not forget that Smith has thrown just 10 interceptions over his 25 starts in 2011 and 2012. That being said, it won’t hurt to have plenty of protection for Smith up front, either.
*Run, run, run. What’s one way to avoid Alex Smith interceptions? A heavy dose of Jamaal Charles, of course. Charles is set to play despite suffering a mild quad injury last week, so there shouldn’t be anything stopping Reid from implementing a Jamaal-heavy game plan against Philly’s 19th-ranked run defense.
*Find a way to slow down McCoy. After an almost-career day against Washington in Week 1 (184 yards, 1 TD), RB LeSean McCoy was limited to just 53 yards on 11 carries and zero touchdowns against the Bolts defense last weekend. If Kansas City can find a way to keep him out of it, and force Michael Vick to throw nearly 40 passes, Andy Reid should be able to contain his former quarterback just enough to slip away with a victory.
*Force turnovers on defense. Obviously this will contradict what I said for Kansas City above, but it’s rather simple: if Kansas City protects the ball, they’ll win. If Philadelphia forces turnovers, they’ll win.
*Pressure Alex Smith. Just like any NFL starting quarterback, give him enough time in the pocket and they’ll be able to do pretty much anything they want with the football.
*Give McCoy the football. One of the most powerful runners in the game, besides Adrian Peterson of course, carried the ball just 11 times last week. And what was the outcome of the game? They lost. He ran the ball 31 times a week prior to that and the Eagles offense put up a quick 26 points in the first half. Sorry, Chip Kelly. But you aren’t going to win many games unless we see McCoy get his touches. Give him 35 tonight, and you should be in good shape.
You want our honest opinion? We think Kansas City will pull off the improbable upset of Kelly’s Eagles. Reid knows Vick very well, and if he anyone can figure out a way to slow down his roll, it’s him. You mix that with a heavy dose of Jamaal Charles and a mistake-free Alex Smith under center, and you have the recipe for a road win in the ever-so-hostile Lincoln Financial Field under the Thursday Night Lights on NFL Network.
It’s okay, you can call us crazy. We don’t mind it one bit.