Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5)
A couple of things stood out when rewatching last season’s Super Bowl film:
Jalen Hurts was incredible in that game. The Eagles offensive coaches didn’t really win the game-plan battle against the Chiefs. Hurts (with help from guys like A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith) just kind of put the offense on his back and made high-degree-of-difficulty plays over and over and over again. His one fumble was returned for a touchdown. But that game wouldn’t have been close without Hurts being an A-plus star the rest of the night.
The Chiefs offensive coaches pantsed the Eagles defensive coaches. Patrick Mahomes made some big plays with his legs, but for the most part, he didn’t have to sweat in that game. He knew what was coming and how to attack it. The Chiefs have played 103 games with Mahomes as their starter. That Super Bowl performance ranked seventh among that sample in terms of offensive success rate.
Both teams are different now than they were in February. The Eagles lost defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon and replaced him with Sean Desai. Their secondary has been hit hard with injuries, and Dak Prescott lit them up a couple of weeks ago. The Chiefs, meanwhile, have their best defense and their worst offense of the Mahomes era. It’ll be interesting to see whether that remains true down the stretch or whether the offense shows more juice than it has so far.
I think we get a classic, much like the Super Bowl was, where Mahomes and Hurts exchange blow after blow. But Andy Reid has been so good after a bye, and I need to see more from this Eagles defense before I trust them in a spot like this.
The pick: Chiefs (-2.5)
Why Brooke is taking the Chiefs: We’ve had this game circled since the schedule was released back in May. Now that we’re here, it feels like the Super Bowl LVII rematch will really live up to the hype. These teams are similar roster-wise to the ones we saw in February, but there’s been a big shift in performance in Kansas City, with the offense averaging its fewest points (23.1) in the Patrick Mahomes era and struggling to find a consistent pass game, while the defense has morphed into the team’s best unit on that side of the ball in a decade. Andy Reid, Mahomes and Co. always seem to figure it out, no matter how grim the situation may look. This week’s challenge: the team with the league’s best record. I firmly believe this is the game in which Mahomes and the offense get right, and I see K.C.’s second-ranked scoring defense stymieing Philly, setting the tone for a ferocious stretch run. Home-field advantage also feels like a big factor in this Monday night gem.
The hosts of “Bex and Buster,” a show that airs on Philadelphia radio station Q102, are prepared to demonstrate their loyalty to the Eagles by eliminating a local artist from their rotation.
“This weekend we gotta focus, so we’ve been forced to punt Taylor Swift from the playlist,” said Buster, who broke the news on “Good Day Philadelphia.”
Spagnuolo’s Defensive Ties
Parallel to Reid’s offensive mastery, Steve Spagnuolo, the current defensive coordinator for the Chiefs, has carved out a reputation for defensive genius. Interestingly, Spagnuolo’s own narrative intersects with Philadelphia, where he embarked on his NFL journey with the Eagles in 1999, guided by Reid. His eight-year tenure with the Eagles included roles as an assistant coach, defensive backs coach from 2001 to 2003, and later as linebackers coach between 2004 and 2006. A critical chapter in Spagnuolo’s career was his collaboration with the late Jim Johnson in Philadelphia, shaping his approach to defense characterized by flexibility and innovation.
In 2019, when Spagnuolo rejoined forces with Reid in Kansas City, he brought a rich background of experience and a talent for crafting strong defenses. This pairing had an immediate and significant impact, as highlighted by the Chiefs’ impressive 59-16-0 record and their two Super Bowl wins since his arrival. Particularly noteworthy were Spagnuolo’s defensive strategies, especially in Super Bowl LIV, where they were instrumental in securing the Chiefs’ victory.
The rookie defensive backs have a huge task ahead of them.
The Chiefs receivers, as it stand, kinda stink. Even the absence of JuJu Smith Schuster has been felt by this passing game. Mahomes can elevate players as well as any quarterback in history, but this group of late round rookies and second year players is not cutting it yet. Of course Mahomes is still playing very good football this year and Travis Kelce has remained a dangerous centerpiece in this passing game, but the Chiefs passing game is not nearly as potent as it has been. That being said, Sydney Brown and Eli Ricks could see some playing time depending on how the team plans to handle Bradley Roby’s potential return in the slot.
Philadelphia Eagles at Kansas City Chiefs (-2.5) | 8:15 p.m. ET Monday, ABC/ESPN
Travis Kelce only had four targets against the Dolphins and needed to get away to Argentina for the bye week to shake it off. The Eagles have a good run defense but are not so great at covering tight ends, so the Chiefs offense has a chance to finally get going Monday night. The reason they win the game is because their defense ranks sixth in the NFL in completion percentage allowed over their past four games (60 percent), and that’s helped their front record 18 sacks over that span (second most in the NFL since Week 6). The Chiefs also blitz a good deal, and that’s something Jalen Hurts is not great at dealing with. Andy Reid improves to 5-0 against his old Eagles team.
The pick: Chiefs
Around the NFL
An apparent right wrist sprain ended Joe Burrow’s night on Thursday and has the Cincinnati Bengals collectively holding their breath for what’s next.
Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor told reporters following his team’s 34-20 loss to the Baltimore Ravens that Burrow suffered the sprain during the game, and he was not aware of any previous injury.
“It looks like he sprained his wrist,” Taylor said. “So, he fell on it early in the game and felt it on the touchdown pass.”
Video on the Prime Video broadcast of Burrow entering the stadium before the game on Thursday showed him wearing a brace on his right hand/wrist. However, Burrow did not appear on the Bengals’ injury report this week.
Taylor said he was not “aware” of Burrow injuring his wrist prior to Thursday night.
“Mark Andrews has a very serious ankle injury,” Harbaugh said after the game. “It looks like a season-ending injury, so our prayers will be with Mark. Nobody cares more about the team and being there for the guys than Mark Andrews.”
Andrews was hurt as he was tackled by Bengals linebacker Logan Wilson after catching a 9-yard pass 4 yards short of the end zone. He was seen walking with crutches around the locker room area, according to a report by Prime Video.
Perryman’s appeal was heard by James Thrash, who was jointly appointed by the league and the NFLPA. He will miss games against the Arizona Cardinals and Jacksonville Jaguars and be eligible to return to the Texans’ active roster on Nov. 27.
Perryman was suspended following a helmet-to-helmet hit on Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja’Marr Chase in the Texans’ 30-27 win on Sunday. He was flagged for unnecessary roughness on the play.
In a letter to Perryman, NFL vice president of football operations Jon Runyan wrote that Perryman had an “unobstructed path” to Chase and “the illegal contact could have been avoided.” He also noted that Perryman has six such violations in his career, including in Week 2 against the Colts, for which he received a fine for violating the same rule.
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
1. Running the ball against light boxes
The Chiefs are averaging 4.1 rushing yards per attempt. That’s the lowest rate for any Kansas City team since Patrick Mahomes became its starting quarterback. Since racking up 204 rushing yards against the New York Jets in Week 4, the Chiefs haven’t topped 100 yards in a single game.
Even so, the team now ranks fourth in yards per attempt before contact. This suggests how often the Chiefs face a favorable defensive look for their running plays — which happens because opposing defenses are prioritizing pass coverage. It also pairs with a negative statistic: the Chiefs are tied for the lowest rate of yards per attempt after contact.
We might think this means Kansas City running backs are being tackled too easily — but starter Isiah Pacheco is one of the league’s most violent running backs; at his position, he has the league’s third-most broken tackles. Or we could suppose that change-of-pace backs Jerick McKinnon and Clyde Edwards-Helaire are unable to maximize their opportunities.
But unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.