Plenty of intrigue for TNF in week 3: Are the Chiefs for real? Can the Eagles get by with no defense? And of course, it is the return of Andy Reid to Philadelphia. Reid was the longest tenured coach for one team at the time of his departure, when management felt it was time to make a change. I think the decision to let him go may actually end up benefiting both teams. Most certainly, the acquisition of Andy Reid has helped the Chiefs out significantly thus far this season, starting 2-0 and looking good while doing it. Thanks to a pretty good defense, and newly acquire quarterback Alex Smith from the 49ers, the Chiefs are out to prove tonight that the last two weeks weren’t flukes.
Because of head coach Chip Kelly, there will be plenty of attention of the Eagles when they play. Most notably due to the start they got off to in week 1, but with how the Redskins played last week, was it really all that of an impressive win after all? They got into a shootout last week against the Chargers and ended up on the losing end of that one. They’ll have the chance to bounce back against their former head coach tonight in primetime.
Chiefs vs. Eagles Betting Odds:
Kansas City Chiefs +3.5 (-115)
@Philadelphia Eagles -3.5 (-105)
Over 51 (-110)
Under 51 (-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Chiefs vs. Eagles Pick:
When the Chiefs announced they were signing quarterback Alex Smith and Andy Reid as their head coach, there was plenty of fanfare for the team in 2013. The Chiefs were always a team that were right there, but couldn’t make the jump to the next level. Smith perhaps provides something they haven’t in had quite a long time, and that’s a legitimate starting quarterback. Is Smith really going to light the world on fire and pass for 400 yards every week? No, of course not, but what he does well is minimize the mistakes and let the running game and defense dictate the game. However, when he’s being counted on to make a big throw he can do that too. Look no further than the playoffs two seasons ago, when it was in fact Alex Smith leading the 49ers, not Colin Kaepernick. It was a controversial decision to bench Smith in favor of Kaepernick, but it may have paid off for all parties involved. His numbers are ordinary after the first two weeks, passing for 173 yards with 2 touchdowns in week 1, and another 2 touchdowns in week 2 with 223 yards passing. He did also, however, chip in with 57 yards rushing last week. Like I alluded to earlier, Smith doesn’t make many mistakes, and he has failed to make one so far this season. It helps that you have a running back like Jamaal Charles carrying the rock.
I expect the Chiefs to plug the ball to Charles often in this game, so that Michael Vick and company will be sitting on the sidelines and not on the field. If the first two weeks are any indication, the Eagles are going to have trouble keeping the Chiefs off the field. They are 30th in the NFL, allowing an average of 461 yards in the first two weeks against the Redskins and Chargers. Good offenses, but with the way that RGIII is, I wouldn’t really consider either elite. They’ve also given up a whopping 30 points per game in the first two games, only trailing behind the Minnesota Vikings and Washington Redskins. I realize Chip Kelly was all offense and no defense at Oregon, but if he wants to be successful at this level then the defense will need to do a lot better. The Eagles are undergoing a transition period on defense, with several no faces, most notably in the secondary. They also are trying a new scheme, so this slow start on defense isn’t exactly a surprise to me.
Conversely, the Chiefs defense has been good, very good. Holding the Jacksonville Jaguars to only 2 points in week 1, you could argue, is not all that impressive. But, the Chiefs followed it up with a pretty solid outing against a good offense in the Cowboys. The run defense was particularly spectacular, holding starter DeMarco Murray to an average of only 2.1 yards per carry. If you take the preseason as any kind of barometer, and I think with new coaches it’s more important, there were flashes of greatness with this defense then. The Chiefs’ defense will need to play amazingly again if they want to pull it out tonight in Philadelphia.
The Eagles’ defense is a mess, but there is no denying that the Eagles’ offense is going to continue to success this year. With this being the best defense they have faced yet, it will be interesting to see how they operate. The Eagles are going to go fast as possible to keep the Chiefs playing the guessing game. Vick is susceptible to making mistakes, so that is what the game may come down to in the end. Through the first two weeks, the Eagles are 3rd in the NFL in point scored at 31.5 per game and 2nd in total yards with 447. Staggering numbers to say the least, but with the state of the defense as it is now, it isn’t going to matter how many points a game the Eagles can score.
The Chiefs have been playing fundamentally sound football this season. With no glaring holes anywhere on the roster, I think they will be in the mix for a playoff spot come later in the season. I don’t know if Andy Reid is excited or dreading coming back to Philadelphia, but I can tell you that he is going to have a good game plan for a team he knows so well personnel wise. Considering how bad the Eagles’ defense it is, I don’t think there will be any problems for the Chiefs sustaining long drives while picking up points. I expect Charles to pound the ball early, with many play fakes that will be successful later on. This will be one Thursday night game you’ll want to watch, which have notoriously been duds. I think the Chiefs and Eagles will provide an entertaining contest with it being close throughout. The Eagles are 0-10 ATS following a road loss. I’ll take the better all-around team and take the points with the Chiefs.
PICK : Chiefs +3.5 (-115)