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In Monday’s Chiefs-Eagles matchup, each team brings an effective pass rush

When Kansas City hosts Philadelphia on Monday, two very good defensive lines will be going after the quarterbacks.

Super Bowl LVII - Kansas City Chiefs v Philadelphia Eagles Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

The matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on the Week 11 edition of “Monday Night Football” will feature two of the NFL’s best pass-rushing units.

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 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.

The Chiefs do have the Eagles' number in one often-overlooked category: batted passes.

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.

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.

Interior nightmare

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Edge rushers

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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