The Eagles have a hidden blueprint to beat the Chiefs on Monday Night

Eagles jalen hurts
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throws during the second half of an NFL football game against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

The Eagles will be playing a familiar friend and current foe, Andy Reid, and his Kansas City Chiefs on Monday night in a rematch of Super Bowl 57.

The Birds enjoyed a 10-point lead at halftime and to those watching, it appeared as if Mahomes and the Chiefs were struggling, but what they were dealing with was a lack of opportunities. The Chiefs offense only had the ball for 8 minutes and 6 seconds in the first half over the course of 4 first-half drives. If not for the defensive touchdown returned off a Jalen Hurts fumble, the score at half would have been 24–7 and the Eagles likely would have been the team celebrating at the end of the game.

But alas, it was not meant to be.

The Eagle’s defense and their feared pass rush were struggling. Mahomes was pressured on 35.5% of his dropbacks. This number was higher than Eagles season average of 32.1%, and playing against a quarterback like Mahomes, it shouldn’t have been.

The Eagles generated their historic sack numbers, in part, due to playing against many QBs who do not get rid of the ball quickly. During the regular season, the Eagles sacked opposing quarterbacks 33.3% of the time when applying pressure. That number was almost 5% higher than the second-place team.

The Birds sent pressure 10 times in the Super Bowl. By their league-average stats, that should have resulted in 3 sacks.

They had zero.


Patrick Mahomes isn’t your average Joe

Mahomes is the best in the NFL at avoiding sacks while being pressured. Even when playing with a sprained ankle like he did in the Super Bowl.

Since he came into the league, he has only been sacked 11.2% of the time he is pressured. Nobody else in the league is under 15% during this same timeframe.

The 2023 season is no different. 

Chiefs vs Broncos nfl eagles
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) and tight end Travis Kelce (87) cheer from the sidelines during the first half of an NFL preseason football game against the Arizona Cardinals, Saturday, Aug. 19, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

When Mahomes is under pressure from the front 4, he is only completing 50% of his passes and has 2 touchdowns versus a lofty 6 interceptions with a paltry 55.8% passer rating. 

When he is blitzed, it is a very different story. He has thrown 6 touchdowns versus 1 pick and soared to completing 73% of his passes.

Patrick’s mobility is not the only reason. He also gets rid of the ball incredibly fast. Mahomes averaged getting rid of the ball in 2.93 seconds in the first half of the Super Bowl, and he lowered that to 2.46 seconds in the second.

Hindsight is 20–20, but maybe, then, Eagles defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon shouldn’t have challenged the best QB in the league at handling pressure, by sending more pressure.

The Eagles will need to get pressure on Mahomes with their feared foursome of a defensive line and a few well-timed blitz packages. If you send it more often, he will pick the defense apart.

The other X-Factor

The defense will also have to determine how they will defend Travis Kelce. They had mild success containing him in the Super Bowl. Travis had 6 catches for 81 yards and a TD. 

With both teams coming off a bye, Sean Desai will have to bring his A-Game. Longtime Eagles fans already know how great Andy has been in his career with an extra week to prepare. He is 27–4 in the 31 NFL games that he has had the extra week to game plan.

Do the Eagles have an edge?

As great as Andy Reid is, Sirianni does have a couple of advantages he can exploit on Monday night, better clock management and being far more aggressive. In fact, the Eagles lead the league in going for it when the odds state that they should. They will need to continue this trend on Monday to leave Kansas City with a win. The Eagles have a huge advantage with their almost unstoppable, Brotherly Shove, conversion, but they will need more.

The last time they faced one another DeVonta Smith had 9 targets, hauling in 7 of those for 100 yards and AJ Brown had 8 targets and caught 6 for 96 yards and a beautiful touchdown reception.

Expect more targets for both with Dallas Goedert being out. Goedert had 7 targets good for 6 catches and 60 yards. It will be interesting to see who they have in his place that can get those tough yards over the middle. 

Dallas goedert eagles vs buccaneers
Dallas Goedert has been a staple of the Eagles offense since he was drafted back in 2018 Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire

Brian Johnson and Jalen Hurts will both have to be at the top of their game. The bye week should have helped the Eagles OC game plan for the loss of Goedert and the extra time should have benefitted Hurts and his ailing knee.

If the extra rest has helped heal the bone bruise in Jalen’s knee, expect to see him run more. And if he proves to be mobile, the threat of him running in their RPO-heavy offense opens the way for a lot more yards in the running game for the backs. The threat of Hurts keeping the ball as a runner has been sorely missed. With the addition of Cam Jurgens coming back as well, Swift could be in for the biggest game he has had since way back in September versus Tampa, the last time he rushed for over 70 yards.

This is one of the matchups the players have been looking forward to, including Jordan Mailata “I think for me, it’s a little bit more personal. Because of the last time we faced them. I’ll never forget that red and gold confetti falling on my head. But we’re always going to keep the main thing the main thing and that’s going 1–0 every week”

We all have to wait an extra day to get to it, but Monday Night should be an exciting game worth waiting for.

As always, Thank You for reading.


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AP Photo/Matt Rourke