The Chiefs will bring defensive tackle Chris Jones — the league’s best interior rusher — along with rising EDGE stars like George Karlaftis and Mike Danna. The Eagles tout the fearsome EDGE tandem of Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat — and on the interior, ageless wonder Fletcher Cox and future star Jalen Carter.
A look at the numbers
Both teams rank near the top in all major pass-rushing categories, including pressures and sacks.
The Chiefs and Eagles have been among the best in the league at generating pressures and finishing plays with sacks.— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 14, 2023
Both can wreck games from the inside and outside causing major challenges for opposing offensive lines. The battle of the trenches will be intense this week. pic.twitter.com/1TOfExLOlZ
The Chiefs are tied for third in the league with 31 sacks on the season. 28 of those have come from the front seven. The Eagles are right behind, tied for sixth with 30 sacks — all of them from defensive linemen or linebackers. Philadelphia has registered 192 pressures, while Kansas City accumulated 155.
The Eagles have also been better at getting results with four (or fewer) pass rushers.
Looking at true four-man or less pass-rushing statistics without the use of extra rushers or blitzers. KC is middle of the pack on pressures but still in the upper half of sacks.— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 15, 2023
Philly, Buffalo, and Baltimore dominate both categories. pic.twitter.com/nGuxvDqmqw
The Chiefs do have the Eagles' number in one often-overlooked category: batted passes.
Take a look at batted passes on not blitzing plays by defensive linemen and linebackers.— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 16, 2023
I love that the Chiefs are putting an emphasis on this. As QBs start to get the ball out faster, it is important to get those hands up in the passing lanes. pic.twitter.com/Qkmm2BNxWH
While batted passes are not sacks, it is still a loss of down for the offense — which is especially important on third downs. In those situations, the Chiefs (and Baltimore Ravens) lead the league.
Batted passes don't always get as much love as other pass-rush stats, but on third downs, they are as effective as any other way to get off the field.— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 14, 2023
The Chiefs and Ravens are tied for the league lead. pic.twitter.com/yo4pK7jRqu
Overall, the numbers for both teams are pretty close — but games aren’t played on scatter plots or spreadsheets. Behind the numbers are some players with serious talent.
Both teams have depended on a good interior pass rush. For the Chiefs, this mostly comes from Jones, who is on his way to another All-Pro season with 5.5 sacks.
Chris Jones doesn't get many 1v1 rush reps inside these days, but when he does he has made the most of them. Lined up in a wide 3tech he returns A gap on the snap. A great get-off, and hand swipe to blow past the left guard doesn't give Cousins any time. pic.twitter.com/XmWErNLF6S— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) October 10, 2023
This season, Jones has played on the outside more often than he did in 2022. But on obvious passing downs, Kansas City has still utilized his abilities from the interior to its advantage.
Jones is often joined by Danna, who has the versatility to move inside on pass-rushing downs.
Mike Danna aligned at the 3tech. He forklifts the LG's outside hand and then presses with his inside hand to create separation. As Goff looks to work up in the pocket he sticks with it and finishes the play with a sack. I also like GK fighting off Sewell's hands to close out. pic.twitter.com/RJnmTxxMsw— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) September 9, 2023
Early in the season, Jones and Danna were already playing very well. But after he finished his league suspension, defensive end Charles Omenihu was back on the field. This gave the unit another injection of talent.
KC needs to continue to get snaps like this from Omenihu on third down. On the same side as Chris Jones, the RG gives a hand but has all attention on Jones. Omenihu works back over and hits the C with a swim move. Jones wins the edge, and both surround the QB to force incomplete. pic.twitter.com/gH5sIzmlQO— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 14, 2023
Through just three games, Omenihu is up to 1.5 sacks — and is a natural fit not only for Kansas City’s base 4-3 front, but also for other looks on passing downs.
Along the interior, the Eagles’ talent mirrors that of the Chiefs. The rookie Carter has blasted his way onto the scene. He’s already a player for whom offenses must account on every play. When combined with Cox and Davis, Philadelphia boasts one of the league’s best interior pass rushes.
Jalen Carter is a monster. The LG tries to help but he slips through and drives the C into the pocket. Fletcher Cox takes advantage and works around the RG to the opposite A gap. Both combine for the sack. pic.twitter.com/GFAg2cq6mo— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 14, 2023
Much like Jones does, Carter uses his speed and quickness to blow past slower interior linemen — but his raw strength and leverage make him an absolute problem for any offensive lineman.
While Carter will make his fair share of All-Pro teams, the Chiefs still have the advantage along the interior. Jones is still one of the NFL’s most unstoppable forces; the emergence of Danna and Omenihu has only strengthened what the Chiefs can do.
In Sweat and Reddick, Philadelphia has a well-established edge-rushing duo that has already combined for 14 sacks through nine games. Speed, flexibility and change of direction is the name of their game.
The Chiefs OT's will need to be disciplined this week with their pass sets. Reddick eats up oversets, but the fear of his outside speed and bend make it hard for OTs to key in on when he will go inside.— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 14, 2023
Dallas keys in on the IDL, but Reddick makes the RT pay for setting wide. pic.twitter.com/KlBvjnEVwk
The attention that Carter has drawn in the middle has made Reddick and Sweat’s jobs even easier. Teams have started to prioritize stopping the interior pass rush. This often leaves one-on-one opportunities on the edge — and Reddicka and Sweat have made opposing teams pay.
Josh Sweat with the nasty jump chop to win around the edge and finish he play with a sack. Patience is going to be key for the OT's this week. The RT sees the open chest and goes to attack, but Sweat timed it perfectly and catches him reaching. pic.twitter.com/7ZGPQWSE04— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 14, 2023
Both players utilize their quickness and athletic ability to bend around offensive tackles and stop quarterbacks before they have a chance to scramble or extend the play.
Meanwhile, Kansas City’s edge rushers have slowly (but surely) built a solid record for themselves — starting with the development of second-year standout George Karlaftis.
Can't stop thinking about this rep from Karlaftis. Obvious pass rush down from Denver, but he does such a great job of fading the long arm and then working around Bolles. Even better job to bend the arc and get the strip sack. pic.twitter.com/IcVKyTXj5o— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 16, 2023
After a solid rookie season, Karlaftis has picked up right where he left off. With 5.5 sacks through nine games, he leads the team — and during his second NFL campaign, he has flashed a better arsenal of pass-rushing moves.
Jones has often joined Karlaftis on the outside.
Chris Jones gave Anton Harrison a few "Welcome to the NFL" moments today. Get the outside hand off of him and rips through the inside. He can't turn the corner to finish, but Karlaftis shakes the C and Danna tosses the LG to finish the play with a sack. pic.twitter.com/Dr4J5rWoqY— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) September 18, 2023
Jones’ ability to easily transition from the interior to the edge on any passing rush down has given the Kansas City defense an advantage. Teams were already shifting and sliding protection calls toward Jones on every play — but as Jones moves from place to place on the line, it’s become nearly impossible for offenses to guess from where the Chiefs’ pressure will originate.
Dolphins slide left toward Jones leaving the backside one on one. Omenihu and Karlaftis run a T/E stunt. The RG is late on the pass-off, and Karlaftis gets free into the A-gap. Sticky coverage by Cochrane and Williams. pic.twitter.com/dP3UaXRIII— Caleb James (@CJScoobs) November 7, 2023
In pure edge-rushing situations, the Eagles have an advantage over the Chiefs — but with Kansas City’s ability to blend Jones from the inside to the outside — and the emergence of Karlaftis — the gap has closed a great deal.
The bottom line
Both Philadelphia and Kansas City possess an excellent pass rush from the interior and the edge. The Eagles have All-Pro players all across the line. Meanwhile, the Chiefs have built their pass rush on positional versatility, a budding star and an interior player who might be the game’s best.
On Monday, all eyes will be on both units — and the game may very well come down to which team can put more pressure on the opposing quarterback.