A shocking 1-2 start to the season has the Kansas City Chiefs searching for internal and external answers. As the calendar flips to October, they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Entering this season, a Patrick Mahomes-led Chiefs team had never lost in September. Not only is that record no longer perfect, but they begin October below .500 and in last place in the AFC West.
Enter the Philadelphia Eagles, who might be just what the doctor ordered for the Chiefs this Sunday. The Eagles enter Week 4 with an identical 1-2 record, and their lone victory coming in Week 1 against the hapless Atlanta Falcons. A struggling Eagles squad provides Kansas City the kind of opponent they have not played against in September.
While many of the Chiefs’ early season struggles seem self-inflicted, their first three opponents were all conference contenders, at the very least. The Cleveland Browns and Baltimore Ravens paired demolishing rushing attacks with adequate defense. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Chargers and reigning Rookie of the Year quarterback Justin Herbert possessed the offensive ability to capitalize on Kansas City’s turnovers. They were good teams that provided Kansas City with a smaller margin for error.
While Kansas City still needs to shore up its mistakes, facing a far less imposing Philadelphia unit might give them the breathing room they need. Both sides of the ball should see improved results this week.
Philadelphia’s offense has been less effective than first-year head coach Nick Sirianni had probably hoped. Following their Week 1 drubbing of the Atlanta Falcons, they’ve failed to provide much punch on offense, scoring just three touchdowns over the past two weeks. What makes this matchup even more favorable for the Chiefs is the way the Eagles’ offense has operated so far.
Kansas City’s defense has been susceptible to surrendering long, sustained drives from opposing offenses, typically ending in touchdowns. The Browns, Ravens, and Chargers created multiple matchup issues for the Chiefs, both in the rushing and passing game, to create these long drives. However, the Eagles have struggled with the consistent offensive production needed to sustain long drives, averaging just 5.6 yards per offensive possession, good for 26th in the NFL.
Taking a look at the last two weeks, when the Eagles were playing against actual NFL defenses (sorry, Atlanta fans), it’s clear that their inability to move the chains is a problem. Against the San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys, the Eagles mustered a measly 30 first downs, resulting in just 32 points scored. That 16 points per game average sits far below the 31 points per game average the Chiefs defense has allowed this season.
While Kansas City’s defense isn’t as good as those in San Francisco or Dallas, they should still be able to get off the field much more effectively Sunday on third down, allowing Patrick Mahomes and the offense to go to work.
While the Philadelphia offense has struggled with consistency, their defense has been a fairly successful unit this season. When glancing at team defensive rankings, the Eagles seemingly have put together a capable group. In fact, they rank in the top 10 in all major defensive categories. Nevertheless, the Chiefs’ offense remains matchup-proof as long as Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce are on the field, regardless of the opponent. They will get their fair share of yards and move the ball down the field.
However, the issue for Kansas City’s offense this season has been turnovers. More particularly, gut-punching turnovers late in games. Poor ball security and decision-making by their star players against opportune defenses have been a glaring trend so far and the only weakness to date. If the Chiefs can avoid turning the ball over at the rate they have been this season, their record will improve.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense has forced exactly one turnover all season. The Chiefs have emphasized the need for improved ball security all week, so facing an Eagles squad struggling to force turnovers couldn’t have come at a better time.
Chiefs fans aren’t feeling great following their rocky start to the season, and rightfully so. Last place in the AFC West is not familiar territory for a fanbase accustomed to a Mahomes-led team entering October with a perfect record. But they might find the cure this Sunday in the City of Brotherly Love.