Eagle Eye Analytics Week 2: Who has the statistical edge in Eagles showdown with Chiefs?

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Location: Arrowhead Stadium – Kansas City, Missouri

When: Sunday, September 17th, 2017

Time: 1:00 PM ET

Coach Reid is entering his 5th season as KC’s coach, winning 44 games over his first four seasons. The jump from two wins to eleven is apparent, and Reid managed this in his 1st year in KC by quickly trading for QB Alex Smith. Smith’s mobility, accuracy, and efficiency were all attractive traits for Reid’s timing-based West Coast offense.

During his Chiefs’ tenure, Smith has been so consistent. He’s completed 65% of his passes to go along with a 93.2 passer rating. While time may be dwindling for Smith in KC, especially now with rookie gunslinger Mahomes breathing down his neck, Smith couldn’t have started off 2017 any better. He simply dominated the defending Super Bowl champs, and, unlike normal Alex Smith dink-and-dunk fashion, he was going vertical with the ball (probably helps having Tyreke Hill?).

I think it’s safe to say, and easy to see that the Chiefs have been for real ever since the arrival of Reid and Smith. They have been trending upward since the duo’s arrival and there is no reason to think that this year they will be down. This will be a tough game for the Eagles.

PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS MENTIONS:

 

With six pressures and two sacks, Brandon Graham earned a 90.2 (after closer review, PFF upped his grade to 92.6) grade from PFF, and the game ball from the Eagles-Redskins week one matchup. It seems every week, dating back to the preseason and last year, Graham is either graded as the top Eagles’ player, or very close to the top. He is a monster that consistently generates pressure on opposing QBs. His two sacks in week one got him off to a quick start, but even without the sack numbers, the consistent pressure he creates is invaluable to the Eagles’ defense.

The Eagles will need this pressure from Graham and the entire defensive line against the Chiefs. Smith gets the ball out fast, and the Chiefs do have a good OLine, but I think the Eagles’ D-Line could cause some fits up front.

Graham, Ertz, and Agholor all played big roles in the Eagles’ week one win in Washington. These three were the highest graded amongst all Eagles’ players.

I think we will see big games from Graham and Ertz once again, but what about Agholor? As the team’s starting slot receiver, Agholor is going to get plenty of chances this season. With Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith on the outsides, Aggy should have a lot of room to operate in the middle of the field.

An in-depth view of Carson’s grades from week one, you’ll notice his two best grades were on intermediate and deep throws. While, yes, Wentz was sharp throwing to the middle of the field, his deep ball grade was ultimately a little skewed due to the big touchdown to Agholor. Had Wentz connected on one or two more deep balls, and he was close to doing so, I would have given his deep ball grade a little more merit.

What I’m more impressed with are Carson’s grades in the following categories:

-11th in Adjusted Completion %

-10th in Passer Rating vs. Pressure

-10th vs. Blitz

As a young QB, you can expect opposing teams to bring a lot of pressure to try and rattle Carson. Carson is already grading in the top half of the league against pressure, and if the rest of the season is anything like week one, especially if Carson keeps improving, we will continue to see a QB who is calm, cool, and collected in the face of oncoming defenders.

Against the Chiefs, I’m sure we will see them bring pressure, but the loss of Eric Berry is bigger than people are suggesting. I love the Eagles’ TE group matching up against KC.

Alex Smith in week one against the Patriots was phenomenal. It’s safe to say the Eagles will have their hands full against this KC offense. The key to the Eagles’ defensive game plan, like it is every week, is going to be getting pressure on Alex Smith. We know Smith has always taken good care of the football, and while many have been quick to label him as a game manager, Smith showed in week one that he can be dangerous throwing deep (it might help having Tyreke Hill?).

A scary thought, however, is that even if the Eagles do get pressure on Smith, he may very likely still do damage:

-1st in Adjusted Completion %

2nd in Passer Rating vs. Pressure

-1st vs. Blitz

The Eagles will have to do a terrific job in stopping the run to be successful. Outside of Tyreke Hill, KC’s WRs don’t really pose that big of a threat. However, when they have their run game going, they can really fool defenses with their creative use of formations and motions, and cause communication errors in the secondary leading to huge plays.

Again, Nelson’s stats are a little inflated from his big touchdown catch early in the game. Even then, it’s nice to see the kid get off to a fast start in 2017. Looking at the above mentions in week one, Nelson finished 4th in Yards Per Route Run; 3rd in Yards Gained From the Slot; and 2nd in WR Rating. Encouraging start for Agholor.

With an 84.3 grade, Ertz was the 2nd best TE in week one. For the first time in his career, he is playing a consecutive season with the same QB. The chemistry between Ertz and Wentz was apparent last year, and continues to be early in 2017. Ertz made some huge third down conversions in week one, and I expect him to do much more of the same throughout the season.

It’s doubtful that Marcus Peters lines up on Ertz much, but with the amount of reps Ertz sees as a WR, you never know. Peters is a top corner in the league, but should he line up on Ertz, my money is on the 6’5” TE.

It’s true – Norman played exceptionally well on Alshon. Even then, Alshon almost came up with a couple of huge catches in traffic that could have certainly hurt Norman’s week one grade.

But, even with the low numbers, Alshon’s presence was alive and well. Defenses have to be aware of where he is on the field (same goes for Torrey Smith). So, even with the low numbers, the presence alone of Jeffery and Smith opens up the rest of the field for Ertz, Agholor, and for the running game.

Last week, the PFF team picked the Eagles to win in Washington. This week, the Birds aren’t getting as much love, with only one of nine experts picking Philly to upset the Chiefs at Arrow Head.

-Eagles’ PFF Projected Record: 1-1

-Eagles’ Actual record: 1-0

 

 

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