Two of the best teams in the NFL are in the prime-time position in Week 11 of this 2023 regular season and the storylines, they are aplenty. There are great matchups all over the field and on the sidelines and in the coach’s boxes upstairs – prepare yourself for a great one on Monday Night Football as the Eagles and Chiefs play. Here are some storylines to look forward to as Philadelphia looks to up its record to 9-1 …
1. Solving TE Travis Kelce
This isn’t a mystery at all: Tight end Travis Kelce is the biggest part of the Chiefs’ passing game and he’s a very difficult matchup because of his size, speed, intelligence and everything. The Eagles have seen him three times, most recently in the Super Bowl, and Kelce has been a problem with 18 receptions, 207 yards and 2 touchdowns. So, what do the Eagles do against Kelce, who has 57 receptions, 597 yards and 4 scores this season? They’re likely to pay more attention to him, but how that manifests remains to be seen. Having nickel cornerback Bradley Roby available helps a secondary that has battled injuries all season, for sure. Kevin Byard had time during the bye week to catch his breath and integrate just a little bit more into the scheme, and he’s had experience and success against Kelce when Byard played for Tennessee.
There are other weapons that Kansas City will utilize, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes will go to all of them – his wide receivers, his running backs, the ground game that offers Mahomes creating with his legs as well. But containing Kelce is right there at the top of the to-do list for the Eagles defense and that task is a very real chore for coordinator Sean Desai.
2. Suddenly, the Kansas City defense is among the league’s best
Known for so many years for its offense, Kansas City has a defense that is allowing just 15.9 points per game, tied with San Francisco for best in the NFL. Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo is known for pressure, following in the mold of former Eagles defensive coordinator, the late Jim Johnson. The Chiefs will bring pressure and they will create the illusion of pressure. They will drop out defensive linemen into coverage. They will constantly change things up and they will tackle very, very well. The Eagles saw it in the Super Bowl and, really, moved the ball up and down the field, but the difference this year is that the young Kansas City secondary has matured and is playing very well behind a defensive front that brings the heat – Kansas City ranks third in the NFL with 31 quarterback sacks. The matchup of the Eagles offense against this strong defense is fascinating.
3. The weather is an intangible
What can the players and coaches expect with the weather when the ball is kicked off? How about temperatures in the upper 30s, maybe low 40s, and a very good chance of some kind of precipitation? Could be a steady rain. Could be a drizzle. Could be more. We don’t know. But we do know that the Eagles have prepared as much as they could during the week for the possibility of rain and wind and coldest temperatures of the season to date that could impact decisions in the kicking game, the passing game, etc. It’s just something to watch, one of many intangibles going here.