KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (2-0) at PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (1-1)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Philadelphia -3.5 (even) & 50
Opening Line & Total: Eagles -5 & 51.5
Former Eagles head coach Andy Reid brings his current unbeaten Chiefs team to Philadelphia for a Thursday night showdown.
Kansas City has already matched its win output from last year, holding opponents to 9.0 PPG and 248 total YPG. But Chip Kelly’s high-powered Eagles have 31.5 PPG and 477 total YPG this season thanks in large part to RB LeSean McCoy’s 356 total yards. Kansas City hasn’t beaten Philly since 1998, losing by a combined 94-55 score during three straight series defeats. However, Chiefs QB Alex Smith picked the Eagles apart when he last faced them two years ago, throwing for 291 yards (8.8 YPA), 2 TD and 0 INT. Despite the 2-0 start to the season, Kansas City has not been a good wager after a win streak, going 18-32 ATS (36%) following 2+ straight wins since 1992. However, bettors should also consider that Philly is 0-8 ATS at home in the past two seasons and 0-7 ATS when the line is +3 to -3 over this same timeframe. In terms of Andy Reid, he has thrived in the underdog role in all his years in Philadelphia, producing a 40-22 ATS mark (65%) when getting points as an NFL head coach
The Chiefs have shown a very balanced offense under Reid with 117 rushing YPG and 185 passing YPG. QB Alex Smith has not thrown the ball very far down the field though, averaging just 5.7 yards per pass attempt in this conservative West Coast offense that has yet to turn the ball over. On Thursday, Kansas City will try to slow down the Eagles with a run-heavy attack anchored by RB Jamaal Charles. He hasn’t found a whole lot of running room this season, evidenced by a 4.1 YPC average that is far below his 5.7 YPC in his career. But Charles still has 132 rushing yards and leads the team in both receptions (11) and targets (16). The Chiefs’ top wideout has been WR Dwayne Bowe who has eight catches for 86 yards and a touchdown so far. Kansas City leads the NFL in red-zone efficiency, but has not thrived on third downs, converting just 32% of those chances into first downs. The defense has been outstanding in both of these categories though with a 33% red-zone efficiency (T-2nd in NFL) while allowing opponents to convert a mere 27% of third-down plays. The Chiefs have held opponents to an average of 248 total yards (4.0 per play), including 54 rushing YPG (2.8 per carry), but slowing down Philadelphia will be a much greater challenge.
The Eagles have adopted a break-neck speed of play, snapping off 67.5 plays per game despite a subpar 26:11 time of possession. They average 7.1 yards per play (2nd in NFL), which includes an NFL-leading 9.7 YPA through the air and strong 5.1 YPC on the ground. RB LeSean McCoy has been the workhorse of this offense with 42 rushes for a league-best 237 yards, while producing an impressive average of 19.8 yards per catch on his six receptions. QB Michael Vick has also been a nice fit for this Chip Kelly offense, completing 62% of his throws for 631 yards (NFL-best 10.3 YPA), 4 TD and 0 INT. His No. 1 target is WR DeSean Jackson who has been thrown to 14 more times than any of his teammates, resulting in 16 catches for 297 yards (18.6 yards per reception) and two touchdowns. The Eagles defense has not been nearly as efficient though, surrendering 30.0 PPG and 460 total YPG. This including 360 passing YPG allowed, while giving up the most first downs in the league (29 per game). Not having CB Bradley Fletcher (concussion) will certainly not help the cause for improvement.