The Kansas City Chiefs defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 38-35 in last season's Super Bowl. Okay, so that's old news. Well, the "new" news is that the Eagles have the best record in the National Football League. Well, maybe it's not all that new either. And the Chiefs may be ready to do what they usually do, which is to gather some momentum on the way to clinching the AFC West and moving through to the AFC title game.
They are 21-3 over the last six games over the last four seasons. Well, we are not quite there yet. But the win they scored over the Miami Dolphins in Frankfurt might be an indication that they're not fooling around after a couple of lackluster performances against the Denver Broncos.
These teams will meet each other on ESPN's Monday Night Football, which takes place at Arrowhead Stadium at 8:15 PM ET.
The Eagles have lost only when they suffered a lapse against the New York Jets. The Chiefs have lost at Arrowhead, and that was in the opening game against the Detroit Lions. Interestingly enough, Detroit might be the best opponent they've played this season.
In the Monday Night Football betting odds that have been posted on this game by the folks at BetOnline, the Chiefs are favored;
Kansas City Chiefs -2.5 (-117)
Philadelphia Eagles +2.5 (-103)
Over 45.5 points -110
Under 45.5 points -110
On Monday, Martin Frank of the USA Today explored whether it was possible that Jalen Hurts had overtaken Patrick Mahomes as a quarterback. Well, he was straining himself a bit trying to make a case for Hurts, who is certainly as good as it gets when it comes to doing designed running plays in an offense that is based on that kind of run-pass option. But Mahomes is terrific when it comes to improvising when the pass rush is coming. He averages ten yards per scramble, which is excellent. And teams around the NFL know that he's not the quarterback you want to blitz, because he will burn you.
And he has also done a tremendous job of doing that thing called "taking what the defense gives you." Look, there is no question that Hurts has the more threatening wide receivers at his disposal, in Devonta Smith and AJ Brown, who's got 1005 yards already. But the Chiefs gave up Tyreek Hill and still Mahomes won the MVP last season. How? Well, he adjusted his game. Not as much heaving it down the field. More of the medium-range throws. Hurts actually attacks more downfield now, averaging 8.8 Intended Air Yards per passing attempt. Mahomes used to be in that territory, but now he's at 6.7. His arm isn't weaker; he's just accomplishing things a different way now.
For one thing, he's got the premier tight end is Travis Kelce (57 catches for 597 yards). And he brings a bonus with him in Taylor Swift, whose cup runneth over so much that she has a big box office hit in theaters these days. Meanwhile, Hurts won't have starting tight end Dallas Goedert (410 yards) available. He's sitting with an injury.
What we have to look for these days is for the Chiefs to establish the running game, not necessarily to control what's going on, but to keep Philadelphia honest so Mahomes can pick away. They've got the guy in Isaiah Pacheco (4.2 ypc), who can be a workhorse.
The story, as it has been all this season, is Kansas City's defense, which has kind of quietly become one of the best units in football. They have a pretty strong DVOA efficiency ranking on that side of the ball (4th in the NFL) and they have allowed less than 16 points a game. They held Miami below 300 yards of total offense. In fact, they've held five opponents below that.
And perhaps we should mention that Andy Reid is 21-3 in the regular season when coming out of the bye week. We're going to make a measure recommendation on the Chiefs.
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