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Birds have quick turnaround for Chiefs
LeSean McCoy has rushed for 237 yards and one touchdown in two games for the Eagles this season. (AP)
Sizing up the Eagles' offense vs. the Chiefs' defense ahead of their Thursday night showdown ... (and here's Eagles' defense vs. Chiefs' offense)
The running lanes that LeSean McCoy enjoyed against the Redskins weren’t as inviting against the Chargers, who crowded the box and dared the Eagles to move the ball through the air. Challenge accepted. Mike Vick passed for more than 400 yards and DeSean Jackson nearly went for 200 receiving. If not for some penalties and small timing issues, Jackson easily could have had 300 yards.
The Chiefs have the best front six the Eagles will have seen, so don’t be surprised if Vick comes out throwing again. Kansas City probably won’t have their best cornerback, Brandon Flowers, who’s nursing a knee injury, and the Chiefs won’t be able to guard the speedy Jackson with Sean Smith or Dunta Robinson.
Kansas City can rush the passer, though. The Chiefs constantly had Tony Romo on the run last Sunday in a 17-16 win over the Cowboys. Even though Dez Bryant abused their secondary to the tune of 143 yards, the Chiefs held Romo to one TD pass and limited Dallas to 318 total yards.
After a disappointing rookie year, Dontari Poe is playing very well at nose tackle. He’s stuffing the run and has 3.5 sacks, tying him for third in the NFL. Defensive end Tyson Jackson is finally showing his first-round potential after several lackluster seasons and linebacker Justin Houston has three sacks, tied for fourth. The Chiefs are big and physical up front, but they’ve never faced an offense that runs at the Eagles’ tempo.
Andy Reid wisely hired former Nevada coach Chris Ault as a consultant this offseason. Ault, the architect of the pistol offense that he ran with Colin Kaepernick, hasn’t just helped Reid incorporate the read option into Kansas City’s offense, he’s also advised Reid’s defense how to defend it, so don’t be surprised if the Chiefs become the first team this year to hold Kelly’s offense under 30 points.
After hiring Bob Sutton away from the Jets to coordinate his defense, Reid kept the 3-4 scheme in place and has Sutton dialing up creative blitzes to rattle offenses. Reid knows better than anyone that Vick is vulnerable to certain types of pressure schemes and disguises blitzes. So far, Kansas City has the NFL’s third-ranked overall defense (playing Jacksonville in the opener sure helped), is tied for second in third-down defense (27 percent) and tied for first with four other teams for sacks (nine).
The Eagles’ offensive line hasn't really been challenged yet because the no-huddle limits substitutions and doesn’t allow teams to get their subs on the field, but rookie right tackle Lane Johnson struggled at times against San Diego’s Dwight Freeney and faces another tough matchup in Tamba Hali.