The Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles enter their Monday Night Football matchup as the two best teams in the NFL. The outcome of their Super Bowl rematch will change that. This is a time for everyone to set their alarms and enjoy top-tier football being played in prime time, which is something we don’t get often.
In efficiency terms, there have been more dominant teams. The Chiefs’ offense isn’t the unstoppable force we’re used to seeing, although it’s remained effective. Meanwhile, the Eagles’ defense falls a bit flat.
Andy Reid coming out of the bye is almost unfair, but the week off for Philadelphia likely helped Jalen Hurts recover from some knicks and bruises. Who has the on-paper advantage?
Philadelphia Eagles vs. Kansas City Chiefs Predictions
What does the PFN selection committee think of Monday’s battle?
- Beasley: Chiefs
- Bearman: Eagles
- Miller: Chiefs
- Morrison: Eagles
- Robinson: Eagles
Andy Reid, the Bye Week Wizard
Including the regular and postseason, Reid has won nearly 64% of all the games he coached in between his time with the Eagles and Chiefs. But when he has an extra week to prepare, that record jumps to 27-4 (87%) when including both the regular and postseason.
Certainly, for an offensive architect like Reid, that is somewhat unsurprising. He gets two weeks to game plan for his upcoming opponent. But he’s won all five occasions since becoming Kansas City’s head coach in the regular season, with his only loss at all coming against Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
That success is also due to defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, who might be the NFL’s best single-game planner on the defensive side of the ball. If given time to prepare, Spags finds a way to exploit weaknesses with consistency.
According to Inside Edge, the Chiefs have converted first downs on 53 of 131 plays on third and long since the beginning of 2022. That mark is the best in the NFL. In fact, their 40.5% conversion rate is 9.9% higher than San Francisco, the next-closest team on the list.
Conversely, the Eagles currently allow first downs on 42.6% of third-down plays, which is the sixth-worst mark in the NFL this season.
Patrick Mahomes is an alien, and Philadelphia’s secondary hasn’t been as sharp in 2023 due to personnel losses and philosophical changes in scheme and deployment. However, Mahomes hasn’t been his usual alien self on third downs this season, even if his two-year sample is impressive. He’s a paltry fifth in the league in money-down EPA per play, and his success rate in those situations falls to 13th.
Extending or stopping drives on third down between these two units could have a massive impact on the game’s outcome.
Chris Jones and the Eagles’ Offensive Line
It’s well established that the Eagles have had the league’s best blocking unit in each of the past two seasons. They’ve also remained relatively healthy throughout that time.
Spags is ruthless in his pursuit of finding ways to get advantageous matchups for Chris Jones, but that task becomes rather difficult against Philadelphia.
The return of Cam Jurgens further complicates the issue. However, that is precisely where Jones should frequent on Monday night.
It would probably behoove Spagnuolo to load up the line of scrimmage and really force the Eagles’ OL to make a pre-snap decision on their deployment. Kansas City’s defensive coordinator might have an idea of how to dictate certain protections that could lead to Jones being isolated against Jurgens without help from Lane Johnson (Hall of Famer) or Jason Kelce (Hall of Famer and potential future brother-in-law of Taylor Swift).