Both the Chiefs and Eagles have reasons to be shaking their fists at the schedule maker for arranging this midseason, midweek matchup in Phily.
For the Chiefs and new coach Andy Reid, having to travel more than 1,000 miles – and losing an hour in the time-zone process – is commonplace, but on three-days’ rest? Plus, KC will be facing a nonconference foe it isn’t used to studying. Fortunately, Reid has familiarity with Philadelphia’s squad.
The Eagles, meanwhile, will be the 15th team over the past 37 years that will have to play a third game in only 11 days. They opened at Washington on Sept. 9, then played host to San Diego last Sunday. Those previous 14 teams with such a condensed schedule have gone 3-10-1 ATS in the third game.
And it gets worse for new Eagles’ coach Chip Kelly. When that third game is vs. a dreaded unfamiliar nonconference opponent, those aforementioned teams are 0-6 ATS, losing by an average of more than 22½ points a game.
Maybe this game will end in a tie.
Anyway, here’s a closer look at Thursday’s game:
PRO FOOTBALL – THURSDAY, SEPT. 19
Kansas City (2-0) at Philadelphia (1-1)
Time: 5:30 p.m. PST
Line: Eagles by 3 (51 total)
Facts: These teams have played each other six times in history, the fewest for any two franchises involved in the 1970 merger. From 1973-1991 they never met… While in Philly, Reid was 2-2 SU (2-2 ATS) working on three-days’ rest, but in the Eagles’ lone road game in the bunch, were 31-14 losers at Seattle as a 3-point choice in 2011. Kelly, meanwhile, will be preparing on short rest for the first time. Even at Oregon, only once did he have as few as five days off between games… In Philly’s 33-30 home loss to San Diego, they allowed the Chargers league season highs of 33 first downs and a time of possession of 40:17… These teams tied for last in turnover differential last year at -24. This season, the Chiefs have no turnoversand are at +4. Philly is at +3… Eagles QB Michael Vick averaged a week-high 11.6 yards a pass last week.
Analysis: Reid will be making an emotional return to Philadelphia after 14 largely successful years as Eagles sideline boss and should have an edge against a rookie coach who butchered clock management last week. And looking back at that Eagles loss, they were lucky the game was as close as it was because San Diego twice lost fumbles inside Philly’s 10. Thus, since new KC quarterback Alex Smith and his teammates didn’t give the ball away vs. Jacksonville or Dallas, that’s good news for the Chiefs. And what about that warp-speed Eagles offense? Well, when you run only 59 plays that puts enormous stress on the defense, which was evident last week. Chiefs RB Jamaal Charles and WR Dwayne Bowe could well have free sailing against a defense that’s got a weak pass rush.
Forecast: Chiefs 26, Eagles 23
“Popular” Bob Christ has been forecasting NFL games for more than 30 years. His work has appeared in newspapers from coast to coast in Canada and the U.S. Contact him at [email protected].