The Eagles left Washington last Sunday with a win on the ledger but a few big losses on the depth chart. In Week 2, the Eagles and Chiefs will do battle in the midwest with the eyes of the NFL watching two teams — each expected to be moderately good — that have shown they could potentially perform well above expectations this season.
Will Kansas City keep the momentum going after shocking and pummeling the Patriots last Thursday to kick off the 2017 season? Can Carson Wentz and the Eagles pass rush show they are elite and belong among the NFL’s top contenders?
Here’s a look at three things to think about as game approaches, at 1 p.m. on FOX:
Reid vs. Reid Jr.
It’s been highlighted again and again around these parts — Eagles’ head coach Doug Pederson is strikingly similar to Chiefs’ head coach Andy Reid. And for obvious reasons. The two coached together in Philadelphia and in Kansas City after Pederson played for Reid as a back up quarterback. The two offenses are very similar on paper. How will things play out as they try and outsmart eachother?
“We understand we’re going into a hostile environment. It’s very loud,” Pederson said. “We want to make sure that we’re doing right and not reinventing the wheel. We want to stick to our game plans, stick to the plays that have got us to where we are and the success we’ve had and just try and maximize our personnel on the field and making sure that we’re doing that right.”
Need for speed
If you watched the Chiefs last week you saw a team that was able to leave the Patriots in a cloud of dust. The speed on the field from players like Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt poses problems and the Eagles will need to be nimble and quick on their feet defensively.
“They are both talented guys and I think what stands out about it is if you pay too much attention to any one guy, that another guy can make you pay,” Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “[Travis Kelce] has a lot of attention, also. They have a lot of talent across the board and the quarterback can get the ball to all of them. If you want to spend too much attention on Tyreek than Kelce, then running backs, all those guys can make plays, and you have to play good, sound defense.”
Next man up
The Eagles lost cornerback Ronald Darby and kicker Caleb Sturgis in the trenches last week (albeit to non-contact injuries). The Birds will now rely on a rookie kicker — Jake Elliott set to make his NFL debut — and a makeshift unit in the secondary that did impress after Darby’s second quarter exit in Washington. The performance of Elliott in the clutch and of Jalen Mills, Patrick Robinson and others against Kansas Citys wide receivers could be the determining factor Sunday.
On Elliott, Pederson said: “He’s very accurate. He’s got a strong leg, obviously. Young, but at the same time, we’re moving forward and we’ll get him ready to play.”
On the cornerback situation: “Yeah, it’s going to be one of those situations where it’s going to take all hands on deck these next few weeks to really get the job done.”