View Full Version : Matchups and Keys to the Game - Week 4 - Eagles at Chiefs

09-30-2005, 02:36 PM
Matchups and Keys to the Game - Week 4- Eagles at Chiefs

Here we are with another big test for Dick Vermeil and this Kansas City football team. The Eagles come into arrowhead as the unanimous best team in the NFC with a very potent offense. They bring one of the top quarterbacks and wide receivers in the game today in Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens. The Chiefs welcome the Eagles into Arrowhead stadium, as intimidating a stadium as there is for the opposition. This is a place where the Chiefs win 75% of the time and a place where plenty of big time NFC teams have been blown out over the years. The Chiefs don't appear to win many of the individual and positional matchups against the Eagles, yet their stadium might just overshadow all of that and be <b>THE</b> most important overall matchup in the game for them.


KC offense Vs Philly Defense

Matchup 1 - The running Game

The Eagles are near the top in rushing defense and boast an outstanding passrushing attack but it is my belief that this eagles front 7 isn't as good against the run as their stats may indicate. I believe the Chiefs may have an opportunity to run right at them. One thing a lot of people don't realize is the Eagles are mediocre at the linebacker position. Jeremiah Trotter talks a lot and does do a decent job against the run but his mouth is responsible for most of his hype. The other 2 starting linebackers, Dhani Jones and Keith Adams, are below average for starting linebackers in the NFL. The Eagles front 4 will be missing DT Darwin Walker and they already lost last years Big Cajuna, Corey Simon, to the Colts. This leaves them with rookie Mike Patterson at one defense tackle and Hollis Thomas at the other.

At end, Jevon Kearse is one of the most effective pass rushers in the NFL, yet his performance against the run is entirely suspect. N.D. Kalu starts at the other end spot and at 6'3 265 isn't a huge run stopper either. Put all this together and on paper you have a defensive football team that shouldn't be as effective against the run as their stats may indicate which means one of 2 things:

A: Defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is a total defensive god.

B: The Eagles will eventually give up more yards on the ground which will even the stats out and give a more "realistic" view of this defense.

Things usually even out in the NFL so I'm banking on "B". Now, if the Eagles rush D is due for a big negative turnaround then what better place is there for them to give up a big game on the ground then Arrowhead stadium with Priest Holmes, Larry Johnson and the Chiefs offensive line? Oh wait. Chiefs offensive line? Uh oh.....The Chiefs no longer have a dominant offensive line. All world left tackle Willie Roaf is out and his replacement is Jordan Black. In 3 games the number of effective run blocks Black has can be counted on one hand. The number of negative plays he's given up couldn't be counted on both. Put those 2 things together and you eliminate at LEAST 60% of the Chiefs left hand dominant rushing offense. You can't pitch left, you can't stretch left and you can't screen left. This effectively means your options to the left are reduced to 2 things which are:

1. Jack
2. Shit

Well, why not run to the right? Good question. Between RTs Chris Bober and Kevin Sampson you have another 2 guys who's total effective run blocks this season can be counted on one hand.

What about inside?

So what are you gonna do? Well, with Wiegmann, Shields, and Waters up front you can try to run between the tackles and get as creative as you can in that regard. This means the key matchups of the game for the Kansas City Chiefs offense will be their front 3 against the defensive tackles of the Eagles. Watch the line of scrimmage early on to see what's going on here. If the Eagles can hold their own up front it will be difficult for the Chiefs. If the Chiefs can get the Eagles front 4 blocked look for Larry Johnson to have a huge game as he's a great between the tackle runner provided he gets some initial daylight.

Matchup 2 - The Passing Game

The same things that could give the Chiefs problems in the running game will also give them problems in the passing department and that's the fact that they're playing with 2 new starting offensive tackles, neither who would be likely to even get a start on the Arizona Cardinals offensive line. This problem is compounded by the fact that the Chiefs are facing one of the best rush ends in football in Jevon Kearse and by the fact that they're facing a defensive coordinator in Jim Johnson who loves to blitz. This puts pressure on the Chiefs to get the running game early on. If they're going to have any sort've effectivess throwing the football consistently they're gonna need to be able to get some protection around quarterback Trent Green. The only way that's gonna happen is if they're able to keep the Eagles defense off balance through play action pass or they get good production out of the quick passing game. The only way play action pass is effective is if your running game poses a threat. For that to work the Chiefs MUST have some success on the ground and pick up yardage on first and 2nd down.

Look for the Chiefs to come out early and utilize the quick passing game along with their inside running and counter running attack. If the Chiefs can do both of those things effectively they should be able to get some pass protection and work towards some opportunities downfield off of play action. If they can't then it will be a long, long, LOOOONNNNNNGGGGG day for their offense.

Defensively, the Eagles must come out and stop the run early on and blow up the confidence of the offensive line in both their run blocking and pass protection. Jim Johnson should put 8 men in the box early to kill the run and force the Chiefs offensive line to pass block well enough to give Trent Green enough time to get the ball down the field.

Philly Offense vs KC defense

Matchup #1 - The running game

The Philadelphia Eagles throw the football at a 65% clip, more then any other team in professional football. They will be playing in a hostile and extremely loud environment with an injured quarterback going against a defensive coordinator in Gunther Cunningham who absolutely loves to blitz. They will have a running back in the backfield in Westbrook who had over 200 yards of total offense last week, and they will be going against a defensive football team that gave up over 200 yards on the ground last week. Put all those things together and don't be surprised if Andy Reid comes out and tries to get the running game going. This will effectively take some aggressiveness out of the KC pass rush, take some aggressiveness out of the crowd, and take some pressure off of Donovan McNabb.

The Chiefs front 4 was exposed last week at the defensive tackle position. Lional Dalton is big enough and strong enough to engage and get a push againt a double team but the starter on the opposite side, John Browning, is too small to ward off big lineman coming right at him. When he gets pushed back, the offensive lineman are then able to take out the linebackers and long runs are the result. His job won't get any easier this week as the Eagles run with a big physical offensive line. Right guard Shawn Andrews comes in at an easy 360. Look for the Eagles to come out early on running a variety of rushing plays to their right along with the utilization of their short passing game. How the Chiefs handle the rush will be key.

If the Chiefs aren't able to stop the run early the linebackers will begin overcommiting and this will allow the Eagles to go to more bootlegs, misdirection plays, and play action passes for big gains down the field.

Matchup 2 - The passing game

Quarterback Donovan McNabb comes into this game as one of the top rated dual running and passing threats at the quarterback position in the NFL and at his side he has one of, if not the best, big play receivers in the NFL in Terrell Owens. The Chiefs have traditionally been weak against the pass and succeptible to bootlegs, play action pass, and big plays down the field in the passing game, all the things McNabb really excels at.

On paper this looks like a dreadful matchup for the chiefs, however, Donovan McNabb is beat up with a "sports hernia." This is an injury that will effectively limit his mobility and realistically, at some point this season, he will most likely have to sit out and have surgery because of it. The best hope for the Chiefs is to get enough pressure on McNabb and hope he's in enough pain that his ability to throw the football down the field is compromised.

Short of that, McNabb should be able to consistently sit back and pick the Chiefs defense apart. The defensive secondary is nothing to write home about, the chiefs front 4 hasn't been able to get much of a pass rush thus far this year, and McNabb has too many weapons at receiver, including RB Westbrook, for defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham to feel totally comfortable sending an all out blitz every play.

However, look for Cunningham to test McNabb early with the blitz. This will leave Terrell Owens one on one down the field and will test McNabb's ability to play with this injury, avoid the blitz and get the ball down the field for long completions. If he can't, expect the KC defense to be like a pack of wild dogs. If he can, the Chiefs will need to take their chances sitting back and placing a premium on limiting YAC like they did against the Raiders. The Chiefs will need to place a premium on defending RB Westbrook in the passing game and will likely have to go to their nickel defense in order to do so effectively. If this is the case, they must be able to stop the run out of the nickel.


Philadelphia is an organization who's front office has a reputation of being hardnosed and hardassed. They are the tightest and cheapest football organization in the NFL often drawing admiration from other teams while simultaneously drawing a nasty reputation among players. To put it bluntly, they have a reputation of of screwing players over financially. Defensive tackle Corey Simon was franchised this year during a time when he could've been working on a contract with another team. The Eagles decided to let him go at the last minute after most teams had already spent their cap dollars, thus not allowing him much of an opportunity to negotiate for a contract commensurate with a player of his caliber. They've taken the hardline with other players such as John Welbourn, Hugh Douglas, and Westbrook. Everybody knows about the Terrell Owens situation but compared to the players just mentioned he's complaining for nothing.

The Eagles did manage to get to a superbowl last year and that in itself tends to keep players refreshed and enthused but, in the event that things should start to tank, don't be suprised to see the perceived mistreatment of players in this organization jump up and bite management in the butt. As soon as things start to go south on this team bombs are gonna go off. The Eagles would appear poised for the beginning of that downfall right now with the injury to McNabb. Terrell Owens is unhappy. Westbrook is underpaid. The linebackers are mediocre. If it's gonna happen anyway what a better place to start the fall then at Arrowhead stadium?

Overall Keys


- Execute on offense - Don't beat yourself and take care of the football

- Get the inside running game going

- Protect your quarterback

- Get good production from your defensive front 4

- Limit YAC - Eagles will catch passes but you gotta tackle them

- Get to McNabb

- Use your short passing game

- Get some kind've production from your offensive tackles

- Get production from your return units


- Attack their offense with intensity early on - Shut down the run and presure the QB

- Get the running game going against their front 4

- Look for opportunities (blitzes) to generate big plays down the field against their defense early on

- Force Trent Green to beat you for 4 quarters

- Be content to spread the field and move the ball in the short passing game.

- Don't get burned by Dante Hall and their special teams units

09-30-2005, 02:49 PM
The Eagles D gave up 252 yds rushing to the Steelers and 200 yds to the Falcons a couple of weeks ago.

The Chiefs have a good chance at doing the same. If the Chiefs run the ball well, and with authority- I'd have to favor the Chiefs in this one.

Gunther will have everyone blitzing on the D side of the ball- McNabb will get off some good throws now and then, but he will be rattled.

Once KC has established the running game, look for some short passes to Tony G. and K. Wilson over the middle. Wilson hasn't been a factor in the passing game yet, but I expect KC will expose his talents this week.

TO will get a TD, but I expect KC to pull out on top- particularly if they get ahead early- the fans will then be loud and rabid.

Have a good game, it ought to be a fun one to watch.

10-01-2005, 09:36 AM
Yep. I think there is a slight opportunity to attack them like the Steelers did last year. I don't put much stock in the amount of yards they gave up against Atlanta, since about half of those yards came from Vick scrambling and Trotter was out. The last 2 games they have looked awesome vs the run especially last week...something like 19 carries for 16 yards vs Randy Moss and the raiders. I didn't get an opportunity to watch that game but I was really surprised seeing that stat because no way should their rushing defense is not that good.

The opportunity is there but these young tackles are gonna need to come out with some fire.

10-01-2005, 10:05 AM
Ummm, Trotter did not play MLB during the steelers game, and was ejected from the game against the Falcons, so dont take those stats as facts. Trotter will be playing against the chiefs.

10-01-2005, 10:06 AM

10-01-2005, 11:41 AM
Link to what. I am an Eagles fan, I know he didnt play, Simonoue played MLB last year, util about the middle of the 3rd quarter, when Trotter was put in there. After that game was when Trotter became the MLB starter, before that he was playing special teams. We picked Trotter back up as a free agent from Washington, and he ate his humble pie to come back to the Eagles. Then the 1st week this season, a back up CB of the Falcons threw a punch at Trotter, and they both were ejected from the game.