Beyond serving as the sequel to that exciting 38-35 Chiefs victory, there are juicy subplots. The team with the best record in the AFC (the 7-2 Chiefs) hosts the team with the best record in the NFC (the 8-1 Eagles), the Kelce brothers face off and Andy Reid goes against his old team.
“It’s going to be a great game,” said Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, the MVP of Super Bowl LVII.
It’s such a great matchup that there’s a good chance it could become the highest-rated Monday Night Football game ever for ESPN. The network bought the rights to the broadcast in 2005 for about $1.1 billion.
Both of ESPN’s highest-rated Monday Night Football broadcasts have involved Aaron Rodgers.
Barnett’s absence won’t change much for the defensive end rotation. The veteran was a healthy scratch in the Dallas Cowboys game ahead of their bye week, and didn’t see a lot of snaps in the first eight games of the season.
There were reports that the DE was hoping to be traded ahead of the deadline due to his reduced workload, but Nick Sirianni at the time mentioned that they have a role for Barnett on this team. Still, in his eight games, he’s had just three total tackles and one tackle for loss, as he’s taken 20 percent of the defensive snaps, and 23 percent of the snaps on special teams.
“The main difference and what people don’t know is that Spags’ wife moved to Kansas City and that changed the whole game for us,” Jones said during an interview on The Rich Eisen Show. “She hadn’t been living in Kansas City and this is her first year living in Kansas City and that’s what’s changed.”
Jones went on to say that having his wife in Kansas City with him has made Spagnuolo a better person.
“He has his family here, he has his wife here, and when you have your significant other around you, it just makes you a better person, honestly,” Jones said. “I think that’s what she being here has done for him and done for us.”
The ‘Monday Night Football” game is also expected to be a massive moment in the world of Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce’s relationship.
The singer had to reschedule her Saturday show in Brazil to Monday, so she will not be attending. While Taylor herself will not be there, some Swifts will. The Era’s Tour singer’s parents, Andrea and Scott, are expected to attend the game and meet the Kelce parents, Donna and Ed, for the first time, according to Entertainment Tonight. Taylor and Travis have spent time with each other’s parents, but the parents themselves have not had an official meeting.
Swift grew up an Eagles fan, but she will likely be rooting for the Chiefs this time.
3. Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts has the second-longest average time to throw in the NFL.
Interestingly enough, the Chiefs will go from facing a quarterback with the quickest release in the NFL in Miami’s Tua Tagovailoa (a league-leading 2.31 seconds) to a passer with one of the longest time-to-throw marks in Eagles’ quarterback Jalen Hurts, whose 3.14-second release time is the second-longest of any passer with 300+ dropbacks. For example, 61 percent of Tagovailoa’s pass attempts this season have taken place in fewer than 2.5 seconds. Hurts, by contrast, has thrown the ball in fewer than 2.5 seconds on just 41 percent of his dropbacks.
It’s all to say that Hurts plays a much different style of quarterback than what the Chiefs last faced, and because of that longer time-to-throw, there is potential for Kansas City’s pass-rush to have a significant impact on the game. In fact, Hurts has been under pressure on 37 percent of his dropbacks this year, but to his credit, the veteran quarterback has completed six “big time throws” – a subjective measure calculated by Pro Football Focus – while under pressure. His ability as a runner, as evidenced by his 316 rushing yards this season, also comes into play in those situations.
Still, Hurts has been sacked 22 times this season – the 10th-most of any player – while recording eight interceptions and three lost fumbles.
Simply put, the Chiefs’ pass-rush will likely have opportunities during Monday’s game, and when presented, it’s imperative that they take advantage.
Around the NFL
“Man, Steph Curry don’t ever stop shooting,” Stroud said, via the team’s official website. “I’m going to keep letting it ride. And I’ve got no shame in my game. I’ve definitely got to be smarter. No confidence is taken away from me. I’m going to keep letting it fly.”
Stroud’s first INT came sandwiched around three touchdown drives as the Texans raced out to a 21-10 halftime lead. His second and third interceptions came on the final two possessions, allowing the Cardinals a chance to win the game, but DeMeco Ryans’ D came up with a stop each time. Arizona scored zero points off Stroud’s three INTs.
Pittsburgh gained 12 first downs for the game, netted 249 total yards and had just two drives with more than one first down while going three-and-out four times.
The frustration surrounding the Steelers’ inability to move the offense boiled over for a dejected Najee Harris.
“There’s just a lot of stuff that just goes around that you guys don’t see,” the running back said, via ESPN. “I guess I’m trying to say it’s just, I’m just at a point where I’m just tired of this s---.”
In an incensed response to a reporter asking if he would consider significant changes on defense, Chargers coach Brandon Staley said he wouldn’t — as he also did days after the Lions loss.
“I have full confidence,” Staley said Sunday. “Like I’ve told you from the beginning, I have full confidence in our way of playing. Full confidence in myself as the playcaller, in the way that we teach and the way that we scheme. Full confidence in that. We got to bring this group together and do it consistently. ... And that’s where it’s at.
“So you can stop asking that question, OK? I’m going to be calling the defenses ... so we’re clear. So you don’t have to ask that again.”
In case you missed it on Arrowhead Pride
“We’ll try to be as stout as we can. I don’t have any secrets on that — I wish I did,” said Steve Spagnuolo. “The best thing we can do is try not to be in those situations. That’s why I’m going back to first and second down.”
The play is also frustrating because it cannot be replicated in practice.
“There’s a little bit of trust involved,” Spagnuolo admitted. “We can’t simulate that in practice. You’d have to be full padded, and nobody really practices that way right now. It’s more of an assignment thing. We’re talking to guys about, ‘Maybe we can do this.’ We try to steal things that are on tape that we thought were pretty good. But it’s a mano y mano deal. They’re pushing us, [and] we try to push them back.”
Joe Cullen said that he and Spagnuolo have been discussing short-yardage situations since defeating Philadelphia in the Super Bowl, but he agreed with his coordinator that the best defense against it is prevention.
“If anyone has any new ideas, let me know,” Cullen joked. “That’s something we really talked about after that game [with] Coach Spags after the offseason and just being able to get a little lower [and] do a few things that maybe will help it... It’s about stopping it with leverage and people being able to get the quarterback because that extra push and the second push is really what gets you.
“We’re going to do everything we can to keep them out of those situations. Let’s get them to third-and-long.”
A tweet to make you think
Team offensive efficiency leaders (EPA/play) through Sunday Week 11— Kevin Cole (@KevinCole___) November 20, 2023
1) SF +0.16
2) MIA +0.12
3) BUF +0.12
4) DAL +0.10
5) PHI +0.10
6) KC +0.06
7) BAL +0.06
8) LAC +0.06
9) DET +0.05
10) HOU +0.03
11) MIN +0.01
12) SEA 0.00
13) GB 0.00
14) TB 0.00
15) CIN -0.01
16) TEN -0.02
Team defensive efficiency leaders (opponent EPA/play) through Sunday Week 11— Kevin Cole (@KevinCole___) November 20, 2023
1) CLE -0.24
2) BAL -0.18
3) JAX -0.11
4) DAL -0.10
5) KC -0.09
6) NO -0.09
7) DET -0.08
8) NYJ -0.07
9) SF -0.06
10) MIN -0.05
11) PIT -0.05
12) ATL -0.03
13) IND -0.03
14) SEA -0.03
15) GB -0.02