At 3:57 p.m. on Sunday afternoon, Eagles’ defensive end Brandon Graham barreled down on Redskins’ QB Kirk Cousins, causing a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Fletcher Cox. The play would seal the deal on a big 30-17 road win at FedEx Field.
Here it is:
Fletchhhhhhhh (Pt. 2)
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) September 10, 2017
Alas, the celebration was short lived, as replays showed what appeared to be Cousins’ arm coming forward as he released the football, thus making it an incomplete pass. At 3:58 p.m., I braced myself for a reversal of the touchdown and the ensuing last-second, game-winning Washington score that would send me into a downward spiral of crippling depression for the next six days.
But…BUT, at 3:59 p.m., referee Brad Allen emerged onto the field to confirm the touchdown. Boner jams.
— Cristina Ledra (@cledra) September 10, 2017
Same, my man. Same.
If you’re like me, a win usually brings about 20 minutes of satisfaction, whereas a loss leaves me in a total fog, questioning my existence until at least the following Friday. So, I was able to enjoy the win until approximately 4:20 p.m., at which time I began to fixate on next week’s game at Kansas City. My guess is that some of you are also fixated, so let’s take an early look at what the Eagles are getting into against the Chiefs.
When is the game, what channel is it on, and who’s calling the game?
1 p.m. FOX. Dallas travels to Denver and FOX has the late national game again, so you can rule out Joe Buck and Troy Aikman. This will be considered the second best game of the week, which means we’ll get Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis. More importantly, Eagles fans will dodge Dick Stockton and Mark Schlereth for another week. And that’s good, because I’m pretty sure the Eagles are 2-47 since 2000 with Dick Stockton calling games. Plus, I can also do without this:
Dick Stockton isn't the only one to butcher Big V's name pic.twitter.com/gJo06R9saQ
— The Bitter Birds (@AdrianFedkiw) August 25, 2017
What’s the betting line and what does it mean?
Well, the Eagles are currently four-and-a-half point underdogs. That line seems a bit short to me, considering the Chiefs are 23-9 at Arrowhead Stadium under Andy Reid and were 6-2 at home a year ago. Also, the Chiefs will have extra rest coming off their huge 42-27 Week 1 win over New England this past Thursday night. The vast majority of the public and sports media will have the Eagles pegged for a loss.
Generally, the thought process will look something like this:
“The Chiefs beat the Patriots by 15 on the road, so they’ll definitely beat the Eagles by more than 4.5 at home.”
I get that logic. I don’t think is a terrific spot for the Eagles, but that line, along with Andy Reid’s propensity to take unstoppable momentum and bring it to a screeching halt, gives me hope.
Can the Eagles stop this suddenly scary Kansas City offense?
The Chiefs put on a show the other night in Foxboro. If you asked me about this game a week ago, I’d have said Alex Smith sucks and the Chiefs’ offense scares nobody. After watching Smith, Tyreek Hill, and Kareem Hunt shred New England this past Thursday, well, things have changed. I know it’s only one game, but Jim Schwartz’s unit has its work cut out for it this week.
Smith completed 80% of his passes while throwing for 368 yards and four touchdowns. He has some intriguing pass catching options. Hill is an electric player, and Ronald Darby, who will miss a large chunk of the season, would have most certainly drawn that assignment. The Eagles’ secondary doesn’t figure to match up well with Hill’s speed.
For the second straight week, the Eagles will have to deal with a premiere tight end in Travis Kelce. Meanwhile, Hunt was a major factor in the passing game, hauling in 5 catches for 98 yards. As if all of that were not enough of a concern, Hunt rushed for 148 yards on 17 carries against a team some felt may run the table. It’ll be a good test for an Eagles’ front-seven that allowed Washington running backs only 2.6 yards per carry on Sunday.
In short, I expect the Chiefs to move the ball and put up points, but not like they did in the opener.
What can I expect from the Eagles’ offense?
This week’s money question, for sure.
Carson Wentz made some huge plays Sunday, like this one:
— Tyeree A Moore (@ATyeree) September 10, 2017
He also had some poor throws that sailed on him. I’ll take 26 of 39 for 307 yards and two touchdowns in a tough road environment all day, but he needs to be more consistent. Neither Alshon Jeffery or Torrey Smith had huge debuts, but that was partly to be expected with Josh Norman in coverage. Nelson Agholor figures to be a factor this year, for no other reason than he might be their second best wide receiver.
The real concern is the offensive line, which was supposedly the team’s strength. Was Sunday’s up and down (mostly down) performance an outlier, or is there reason to be concerned about a unit that couldn’t get the run game going and forced Wentz to use his athleticism in order to make big plays? Say nothing of the fact that Jason Peters’ annual nagging injury is already creeping its way into the breakdown. This will be key against a formidable Kansas City defense that sacked Tom Brady three times last week. If Wentz has time, he’ll be fine, but overall, I’m not too amped up about this matchup for the offense.
Fun coaching matchup, huh?
This is important. A lot of time will be spent talking about Andy Reid vs. Doug Pederson. Teacher vs. Pupil. Reid’s ties to the Eagles. That’s all irrelevant. Let’s focus on what truly matters here.
Reid’s team’s usually start like shit and I’m acutely aware that he has a way of screwing things up when it seems utterly impossible to do so. For this reason alone, I expect the Chiefs to look bad this week. I also fully expect some insane plays and/or strategic decisions that have me saying, “I don’t miss this fucking guy,” …until I remember that his lesser version is our coach and I want to crawl up in a hole and embrace myself in a comforting fashion. But we all know that Reid’s a good coach and the Chiefs will win 10 or more games.
Meanwhile, we don’t know that Doug Pederson is a good coach, but we can all agree that he will have to be better than he was in Week 1. Credit to him for taking the Eagles on the road and getting a big win against a division opponent. But, among other issues, what was with continually sending Agholor across the formation on Sunday? The swing pass didn’t work off of motion, nor did the reverse to the opposite side. It fooled nobody.
No more of that shit, please.