I admit it. I've done an about face. And I'd like to take this opportunity to present the reasons why.
Even as of a couple days ago, I predicted an Eagles blowout for this weekend. I also predicted a Ravens blowout, a Giants blowout, a Steelers blowout, a Chargers... you get the point. But something's nagging at me to rethink at least this one game. It's just the perfect storm.
Don't get me wrong: the Eagles have much more talent, even if McNabb is injured. The systems they have in place have been established for years, both on the field and in the front office, hence the reason they've played at a high level for so long. But there's chinks in the armor, so to speak, and I think this weekend will provide our first early signs of life of what's to come for Kansas City.
Last week's loss to the Saints provided an ideal game plan on how to attack the Eagles defense. Drew Brees had a typical Brees-y game and yet it's not something out of reach for the Chiefs to also put up points on the same secondary. The loss of Brian Dawkins and, to a lesser extent, Lito Sheppard have shaken up a once-steady unit. Then again, the greater and more tragic loss of longtime defensive coordinator Jim Johnson left the Eagles without their legendary mastermind. This, it seems, is opening up the Eagles to creative offensive attacks.
More after the jump...
As receivers become more comfortable in the offense Toddy Haley is installing, this game provides the optimum time for a settling Matt Cassel to go more to his receivers. Bobby Wade displayed an instant ability to get open underneath and revealed why many pundits wondered why Minnesota let him leave. Each week only brings more comfort in a new system and city.
On the opposite side, a burgeoning young defensive line should find some holes to work with in a patchwork Eagles offensive front which is currently hurting due to injuries. Tyson Jackson and Glenn Dorsey might find their work made easier by the Eagles uncertainty there and perhaps the pass rush can find a couple opportunities to change the game.
In the end, it also might come down to injuries among some of the Eagles best playmakers. Brian Westbrook, Donovan McNabb and DeSean Jackson are all hurting to some extent and that only enhances our ability to eke out a win in such a scenario. The Chiefs will have to play mistake-free football against a front defensive seven that prides itself on controlling the game, but it can be done and a win here isn't that out of the question.
Thus, I'm changing my mind. I think the Chiefs walk away with their heads held high this Sunday - not because of a "good loss" but because Todd Haley finally gets his first mark in the win column.