Coming in with a 1-1 record, this is a very important game for the Eagles. They have an early bye week this year (which may be a good thing), so this game will determine whether the Eagles go into the bye above or below the .500 mark. Kevin Kolb will make his second start, and we will see the regular season debut of Michael Vick. The Chiefs come in with an 0-2 record but are not a team the Eagles should take lightly, especially after last weeks performance.
Here’s some quick team stats and league rankings:
Points per game: 17 (22nd)
Yards per game: 298.5 (25th)
Pass yards per game: 197.5 (21st)
Rush yards per game: 101 (21st)
Points per game: 25.5 (24th)
Yards per game: 333.5 (18th)
Pass yards per game: 201 (14th)
Rush yards per game: 132.5 (21st)
Matt Cassel – After missing Week One with an injury, Cassel returned to the lineup Week Two against the Raiders. The Chiefs are expecting big things out of him this year but failed to see those things last week. Although he completed over 60 percent of his passes, he did throw two interceptions and only managed to lead the offense to 10 total points. This is not the performance the Chiefs were hoping for, but after seeing what Drew Brees did to the Eagles last week I’m sure they’ll be looking for big numbers. Cassel is a pure passer and can really deliver the ball if given time. The Eagles will need to get after him and force him to make bad decisions unlike they were able to do with Brees. If he can get hot, Cassel is the type of guy who can make you pay.
Larry Johnson – It has all been downhill for Johnson after putting up monster seasons in 2005 and 2006. He was expected to be the next big thing but has been a let down ever since. The trend has carried over into this year and Johnson is putting up dismal numbers again. He was only allowed 20 yards rushing in Week One against the Ravens but that can be expected. Last week he bounced back a bit and put up 78 yards on the ground and 41 receiving. Johnson still can show flashes of his old days so he should not be taken lightly but the Eagles need to shut him down early and force Cassel to try to beat them.
Dwayne Bowe – Bowe has a knack for finding the end zone and has been able to do so in both his games this year. Playing with two different quarterbacks in two games has not helped him, but he has big play potential. In his first two seasons in the NFL, he has almost two 1,000 yard seasons ending up just shy his rookie year with 995 yards. I think he is the best player on their offense and will need to be covered well. He must be licking his chops after seeing how the Saints receivers were able to do whatever they wanted against the Eagles last week.
Bobby Wade – Wade is a new addition to the Chiefs but I am seeing a lot of talk about him recently. In his first game with the team last week, he caught six balls for 72 yards. I believe the Chiefs are going to expect this trend to continue and grow as he gets more comfortable with the offense.
3-4 Defense – The Eagles don’t typically see a whole lot of the 3-4 defense but they will see it this Sunday against the Chiefs. Our offensive line will have to watch the different blitz packages the Chiefs send because they won’t just be rushing their three down linemen each play. I’m sure Sean McDermott spent a lot of time in the film room with the boys this week going over this formation. It’s going to be extremely important to keep Kolb protected so he can make plays with his arm. It’ll also be interesting to see how the wildcat offense performs against this type of defense.
Glenn Dorsey – If you don’t remember who Dorsey is, he’s the monster linemen the Chiefs drafted out of LSU in the first round last year. He didn’t have stellar numbers his first year but few rookies do. With a year under his belt, Dorsey returns to be a force on a line that he will be for years. The guy has a lot of talent and will be lining up against Jason Peters on Sunday. Peters hasn’t been overly impressive so far and needs to really be able to shut down Dorsey. If not, Kolb is in for a long day.
Tyson Jackson – Jackson lines up on the other side of the line and is another beast out of LSU who was taken with the Chiefs first round pick this year. He has only recorded two tackles so far this season but he is the kind of athlete that can really cause chaos if not held in check. Winston Justice has done a great job filling in at the right tackle spot so far and will need to continue to do so this week.
Linebackers – The four starting linebackers for the Chiefs can really do some damage if the Eagles get confused with their blocking assignments on this 3-4 defense. They have some real talented players like Mike Vrabel and Tamba Hali who will need to be shutdown. It is very important for Leonard Weaver to put some good blocks on these guys and really break open some holes for his running back to get through. This team has shown that they can be run on so the Eagles will have to do so early.
Secondary – The Chiefs secondary has held their opponents to just over 200 yards per game so far this year. However, they have not played teams who are real threats through the air. I think the Eagles will be their first true test. Kolb was able to throw for a lot of yardage last week but also made some careless mistakes. His receivers need to get open for him so he can make easy throws. If not, the Chiefs secondary who is trying to make a name for themselves will do so on Sunday.
Kicker – The Chiefs have a rookie kicker, Ryan Succop, who has only had the opportunity for two field goal attempts so far in his career. He was able to make them both, a 23 and 53 yarder. This could work to the Eagles advantage if the game would come down to a last minute field goal (which I’m REALLY hoping it doesn’t). I don’t think the Linc is an easy place to kick and I know the stadium will be rockin!