The700Level

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