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3 ways to beat the Eagles

The three important ways for the Chiefs to win in Monday Night’s Super Bowl rematch

Mahomes Toney
Kadarius Toney (19) celebrates with Patrick Mahomes (15) after scoring a TD against the Eagles during the 4Q in Super Bowl 57 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale on Febuary 12, 2023. (Photo by: Patrick Breen/The Republic)

The stage is set for “Monday Night Football” this week, as the defending world champion Chiefs play host to the Eagles in the rematch from Super Bowl 57. It was nine months ago when the Chiefs defeated the Eagles 38-35 to secure their 2nd world title in four seasons. Both teams are coming off a bye but with big wins in their most recent games. The Eagles knocked down divisional rival Dallas Cowboys, while the Chiefs went to Germany and shut down the Miami Dolphins. All eyes will also be on Travis and Jason, as the brothers have become the most popular siblings in the NFL and will face off again with mom, Donna Kelce, able to watch her boys on the gridiron. Oh yeah, Taylor Swift and her parents will be there too. With that being said, here are the 3 keys for the Chiefs to beat the Eagles on Monday.

Get more production from outside receivers:

Travis Kelce is the cornerstone of the Chiefs passing game. Unfortunately, there has not been much production from anyone else at the wide receiver position outside of emerging rookie Rashee Rice. That will need to change if the Chiefs want to have a better chance of beating the Eagles. With much of the Eagles’ of attention focused on Kelce, the other Chiefs’ wide receivers could see a lot of cornerback James Bradberry, who has been cold this season allowing 6 Touchdowns in coverage through 9 games. Also, the Eagles against the receivers have allowed 14 touchdowns which is the 2nd most allowed in the NFL this season, according to PFR. Whether it’s Rice, Justin Watson, Kadarius Toney or Mecole Hardman, the Chiefs are going to need someone to step up for them this weekend to be able to spread the ball around effectively.

Use Trent McDuffie with safety help as primary coverage against AJ Brown:

Trent McDuffie has turned into one of the Chiefs’ best defensive players. While McDuffie has settled into more of a nickel role for the Chiefs, he performed extremely well against Tyreek Hill in Germany and is still capable of working on the outside. With the help of either Bryan Cook or Mike Edwards in dime packages, McDuffie should fare very well against All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Brown. Brown has had success against nearly every cornerback in the league and can be dominant in all phases of the passing game. It is by no means an easy task, but McDuffie has proved capable, clearing the way for L’Jarius Sneed, Joshua Williams, and Jaylen Watson to have favorable match-ups against DeVonta Smith and Zach Pascal. To have any chance of slowing down one of Jalen Hurts’ best weapons, it’ll likely need to be a team effort rather than an individual one.

Win the special teams game, especially on kickoff return:

Jake Elliott has a good leg in the regular season, knocking 10th league-best 70.4% of his kicks for touchbacks. A valuable asset in the field position game, Elliott should be able to pound the ball deep consistently. Unfortunately, the rest of the Eagles’ kickoff coverage lacks those superlatives giving up the 5th most yards per return allowed in the NFL, and it showed on a 48-yard return they gave up in Week 9 against the Cowboys:

Elliott hits a good ball to the line of the end zone. As returner Kavonte Turpin brings it out, the entire Cowboys team converges on the left side of the field (top of the screen). Turpin bounces to the right side of the field with several Eagles defenders in pursuit. While they manage to slide with Turpin, their momentum renders them unlikely to make a tackle with the returner having his blockers in place to find the opening. Turpin cuts upfield and avoids several tackles before finally being brought down at the Cowboys’ 48-yard line. The silver lining is that the Eagles rank as the 5th-worst return team in the league, averaging just 30.2 yards per runback. The Eagles do not emphasize the kickoff return game, largely due to the rule of returns that have limited blocking formations and increase the probability of touchbacks especially with Jake Elliott’s leg. They instead choose to focus their resources on other facets of the game that may have a greater impact. Even though the Chiefs’ middling kickoff return squad averages 17.0 yards per runback, 2nd worst in the league. They have Mecole Hardman, the primary return man for the Chiefs (averaging 10 kickoff returns per season, accounting for 23.8 yards per attempt), who gets tasked with avoiding fumbles, settling for any available yardage, and getting the ball in the hands of Patrick Mahomes.

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