Eagles vs Chiefs: 5 matchups to watch in Monday Night Football clash

Eagles
Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) throwing the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Washington Commanders, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. (AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough)

When the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs meet in Arrowhead on Monday Night, talk will not just be centered around a certain celebrity in the stands, but what happened just nine months ago. Kansas City’s 38-35 win over the Birds in Super Bowl LVII left a sour taste in Philadelphia’s mouth – a taste they’ve tried to get rid of after an 8-1 start.

Monday night football in Week 11 sees a rematch months in the making – and a potential preview to something larger.

With both teams coming off the bye, health should not be much of a concern for either. Today, we break down the biggest matchups to watch in another potential Super Bowl preview.

Jalen Hurts vs. Steve Spags

For the first time since Tom Brady was in New England, the top quarterback in football possesses arguably the best defense in the league. Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs offense have struggled this season at times, but they are 7-2 thanks to a defensive unit that is ranked top-five in almost every statistical category.

Eagles
Washington Commanders head coach Ron Rivera, left, watching Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (1) greeting Washington Commanders quarterback Sam Howell (14) at the end of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 29, 2023, in Landover, Md. Eagles won 38-31. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has his young unit playing at an extremely high rate, and it’s made life hard for some of the better quarterbacks in the league.

Monday night, they’ll play the quarterback that torched them nine months ago.

Jalen Hurts had arguably one of the greatest performances in Super Bowl history in Arizona – his only issue was that he didn’t come away as the victor. A year after that loss though, and Philadelphia’s quarterback is arguably playing as the best in football. I think there’s a very good chance that the Eagles top signal-caller has another big game, but this chess match will be one to look through for the entire contest.

Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat vs. Kansas City Tackles

Hey, remember how Andrew Wylie (with the help of some questionable field conditions) held Haason Reddick and Josh Sweat off Mahomes for an entire game?

Well, Wylie is gone but Kansas City’s offensive line is even better than last year. Their one issue is, again, at tackle. If the combination of Jawaan Taylor and Donovan Smith can hold off Sweat and Reddick again, Philadelphia’s defense is going to get shredded. Especially on the road.

This is one key that could determine the entire game. Getting pressure on Mahomes and stopping the stretch runs is going to be a major key for this entire defense. To pick up a massive win, the Eagles need their stars on the edge to show out.

Sean Desai vs. Andy Reid

Super Bowl LVII was more about Andy Reid’s dominance over Jonathan Gannon as a play-caller than anything else. On Monday, Philadelphia will pit a new defensive coordinator against one of the league’s greatest coaches.

Sean Desai has passed almost every test he’s been given to this point in the year with a unit that is less talented than last year. Philadelphia ranks 14 in total defense but first against the run – a fundamental difference between last year’s unit. Their 28th-ranked pass defense will leave much to be desired, but with the secondary finally healthy, it should be a chance to see this unit at full strength for the first time all year.

Eagles
Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid answers a question during an NFL football Super Bowl media availability in Scottsdale, Ariz., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2023. The Chiefs will play against the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57 on Sunday. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

On Monday, how the Eagles defense handles Patrick Mahomes and the quick motion that killed them in Arizona. If the defense somehow keeps Kansas City’s offense under 30 points, that should be more than enough to show that their defensive coordinator can hang with top quarterbacks and will be a major help for the rest of the year.

Jason Kelce, Cam Jurgens, and Landon Dickerson vs. Chris Jones

Another small reason that explained the Eagles losing to the Chiefs last February was their top offensive line was handled by Chris Jones and the rest of Kansas City’s front seven. Jones is a top defensive player in football and will be a thorn in the Eagles run-game if they can’t figure him out.

The Eagles had trouble with this front when they were better last season, how they handled them this year could determine just how good this offense will look on the road.

Running the ball effectively will be something the Eagles didn’t do in February that they will need to figure out for this week.

Eagles secondary vs. Travis Kelce

The middle of the field is a major problem for this Eagles’ defense even with their weakest linebacker in coverage on IR. Travis Kelce will have his girlfriend in attendance and a big game is to be expected.

It is IMPERATIVE for the Eagles to have a plan to limit Kelce in any such way on Monday night. While Kansas City’s receiving core is certainly unproven, they can beat you on the outside with a top quarterback like Mahomes in there.

The big key though is Kelce. It has been shown this season that if you limit the top tight end in football, the Chiefs can be beaten. It’s so important for this defense to rise up and get Kelce cleared away. Otherwise, it will be a looooooong broadcast to watch for Eagle fans.

AP Photo/Stephanie Scarbrough