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Position Breakdowns: How the Eagles stack up against the Chiefs

Position Breakdowns: How the Eagles stack up against the Chiefs

It would be easy to look at the records their past couple seasons, and even the results in Week 1, and determine the Chiefs are simply a better team than the Eagles. A closer look, on the other hand, reveals that it isn't necessarily so cut and dry.

The Chiefs won 24 games the past two seasons, including playoffs, compared to the Eagles' 14 wins. Kansas City also dispatched of the defending Super Bowl champion Patriots last week in New England, while the Eagles managed to knock off the Redskins in Washington. When put like that, it seems obvious. Once you break both teams down, though, the difference in talent becomes a lot more subtle.

 

QUARTERBACK

What Alex Smith lacks in pure physical ability, the Chiefs signal caller makes up with intelligence and efficiency. Smith is accurate, he rarely turns the football over, and his ability to take off and run is an underrated aspect of his game. Carson Wentz is clearly the more gifted athlete of the two, and obviously the Eagles hope he will surpass Smith soon. Wentz still has a lot to prove, but based on what we've seen so far, that could happen relatively soon.

Slight edge: Chiefs

 

RUNNING BACK

Is Kareem Hunt better than the balance of the Eagles backfield after one NFL game? Unfortunately, the answer might be a resounding "Yes." Hunt is clearly Kansas City's lead back. The Toledo rookie looks elusive and powerful, and is a threat in the passing game as well. Darren Sproles might match Hunt's receiving ability, but the Eagles don't appear to have anybody they trust as a feature back. LeGarrette Blount is one dimensional, and frankly looks old, and Wendell Smallwood hasn't had the opportunity. Hard to say definitively, but I would take Hunt over the committee.

Slight edge: Chiefs

 

WIDE RECEIVERS AND TIGHT ENDS

Based on their bodies of work, one would have to conclude Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce is a better than counterpart Zach Ertz by a narrow margin, though it's close. Beyond that, the Eagles have the clear advantage at receiver on paper. Even acknowledging Tyreek Hill has the potential to be a special player -- and demonstrated just that in Week 1 -- he recorded just 593 yards receiving as a rookie. Kansas City is lacking in the weapons department beyond Hill, especially when held up to the trio of Alshon Jeffery, Torrey Smith and Nelson Agholor.

Slight edge: Eagles

 

OFFENSIVE LINE

While the Eagles offensive line has not played up to its reputation in 2017, the unit might be superior to Kansas City's across the board. Even if the interiors are a wash, which certainly is debatable, the Chiefs simply don't have the stability or mauling ability at the tackle positions that Jason Peters and Lane Johnson provide. Center Mitch Morse and right guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif are solid for KC, but so too are Jason Kelce and Brandon Brooks for the Eagles in those spots.

Slight edge: Eagles

 

DEFENSIVE FRONT SEVEN

There is so much ability up front on both teams, but the Eagles front seven might be just a tad deeper. Let's go man for man. The Chiefs have Justin Houston, owner of the NFL's all-time single-season sack record; the Eagles have Fletcher Cox. The Chiefs have Dee Ford; the Eagles have Brandon Graham. The Chiefs have Derrick Johnson; the Eagles have Jordan Hicks. The Chiefs have Bennie Logan; the Eagles have Tim Jernigan. We could continue, then argue the merits of every player on any number of measures. For our purposes, it's easy to simply agree the units are extremely close.

Even


DEFENSIVE BACKS

Both teams had the misfortune of losing a valuable member of the secondary in Week 1; All-Pro Eric Berry at safety for the Chiefs, cornerback Ronald Darby for the Eagles. At least Kansas City can still boast one of the best corners in the league in Marcus Peters. Jalen Mills has performed valiantly for the Birds, but it's clear which side as the advantage there. The Eagles are stronger back deep with their Malcolm Jenkins/Rodney McLeod pairing, but Ron Parker and Daniel Sorenson replacing Berry are not bad. I'll take the group with the shutdown corner.

Slight edge: Chiefs

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

Jake Elliott will be appearing in his first NFL game for the Eagles thanks to an injury at kicker, in front of a hostile Arrowhead Stadium crowd, no less. While the Chiefs' kicking game isn't great by any stretch of the imagination, Hill is possibly the most dangerous return man in the league right now. Even with Sproles' own stellar ability in the return game and the typically superb coverage units, this is not an ideal spot for the Eagles.

Slight edge: Chiefs

 

COACHING

If Andy Reid won a Super Bowl, there would be no questioning his acumen. Even without, a 174-114-1 record in the regular season with 12 playoff appearances in 18 NFL seasons as the boss is a resume that commands respect. There's no comparison with Doug Pederson only in his second year as Eagles head coach. As for the rest of the two staffs, both are strong and seem relatively equal. Plus, Reid teams have always been incredibly tough to beat with extra time to prepare, as the Chiefs will benefit from after opening the season last Thursday in New England.

Edge: Chiefs

 

OVERALL

Once you throw homefield advantage into the mix, the Chiefs have a strong claim to being the superior team in this match-up. Offensively, the Eagles might be about even or slightly better, depending on Wentz's continued progress. Defensively and on special teams, it's also close, but the Eagles are banged up in both areas. The discrepancy in talent isn't what some people think, but it's real.

Slight Edge: Chiefs

A look at Sixers' championship odds after round 1 win over Heat

A look at Sixers' championship odds after round 1 win over Heat

The Philadelphia 76ers and their fans absolutely relished the round 1 series victory over the Miami Heat. But enjoy it for a day or so and then it's time to look ahead.

The Sixers' round 2 opponent has yet to be determined. If the Celtics defeat the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday night, the Sixers would play in Boston on Saturday night at 8:00 pm to kick off the second round. If the Bucks keep the series alive tomorrow, the Sixers' first game of round 2 is TBD.

As JJ Redick said last night, this team has kept achieving its goals and setting new ones. 

"This group won 10 games two years ago, 28 games last year, we were 25-25 with 5 games to go before the All-Star break, so this is new to us as a group," Redick said. "The interesting thing that has happened is we've changed our goals now like four times. It was make the playoffs, it was win 50 games, it was home-court [advantage], then it was third seed. We don't feel any sense of complacency. This group is still hungry. We want more."

So how about an NBA title... this season? Of remarkable note: the Sixers opened up the season at +15000 to win the NBA championship and are now +850. That's wild.

Oddsmakers have the Sixers as the third-favorite, as of this morning, to win the 2018 NBA championship behind the Golden State Warriors (+105) and Houston Rockets (+160), according to both Bovada. Cleveland (+1000) and Toronto (+1100) aren't super far behind.

As for the Sixers' odds to win the East? How about a slight favorite, according to VegasInsider. Philly (8/5) is just a tiny bit ahead of Toronto (17/10) with Cleveland (3/1) being the only other team with a shot better than 20/1.

"We've got more to do," Brett Brown said last night.

An Eagles draft with less despair than usual

ap-nfl-draft-dallas.jpg
AP

An Eagles draft with less despair than usual

The NFL Draft is an important time for every team, every year. There’s also no denying it’s less consequential for the Eagles in 2018 than any other point in franchise history – or at least feels that way.

That’s obviously not an attitude the front office was taking while preparing for this draft, nor is it the approach decision makers will use when they’re on the clock. There’s always room for improvement, and the Eagles perpetually have one eye on the future.

But outside the secret underground bunkers deep beneath the NovaCare Complex where the Eagles’ draft boards are set, not everybody views this year’s class with the same sense of urgency.

How can you? The Eagles currently own just one pick in the first three rounds, which means they will largely be bystanders during the first and second rounds of the draft. And the one selection they are schedule to make is the 32nd and final pick in the first round, greatly reducing the odds it will be an impact player.

Trades are inevitable as the Eagles try to add more choices – that perhaps more than the names of the players chosen might be the main source of intrigue. Still, there’s only so much the club can hope to accomplish with such limited firepower to start with.

There aren’t many areas a rookie would be expected to come in and produce immediately on this squad, anyway. I’m not sure if you heard, but the Eagles just won the Super Bowl and are set to return starters or regular contributors at every position.

Even from the simple standpoint the Eagles are finally world champions, the pressure is off compared to previous years.

None of which is intended to imply the draft isn’t of immense value to the Eagles since they lack picks, or holes, or because the fanbase is temporarily placated. Clearly, it would be a huge help if the front office hits on No. 32, or any of their five picks between rounds four through seven.

The Eagles can’t possibly depend on that happening, either. The prospects are already a lot more hit or miss by the end of the first round, after you’ve waited four hours. By the fourth, only the true draftniks or serious college football fans will recognize many of the names.

And that’s okay. In fact, it’s better than okay. For the first time since NFL draft coverage became a thing, there’s no need to obsess or despair over what the Eagles are going to do.

Partly because the Eagles can’t do much – partly because they’ve already done what they needed to do.