In order to preview the Eagles’ matchup against the Chiefs, I reached out to our friends/enemies over at Arrowhead Pride. The honorable Joel Thorman kindly took the time to answer my questions about the upcoming game. Let's take a look at the answers. (Also don't forget to check out my Q&A exchange over at Arrowhead Pride.)
1 - The Chiefs didn’t look too shabby in Week 1. What makes them so successful? How far do you realistically expect the team to go this year?
That's tough to answer. I'd like to say they don't beat themselves but they committed 15 penalties and lost the turnover battle in New England and still won. The Chiefs are built really well. Alex Smith can get the ball to his playmakers who are some of the fastest players in the NFL (the two fastest last week). Andy Reid was brilliant in designing the offense to beat the Patriots. Defensively, the Chiefs have stars all over the place from Eric Berry to Marcus Peters to Justin Houston. They are all playmakers. As for how far they can go, the Chiefs already won the toughest game of the year. On paper this is a Super Bowl team. Frankly, it's a Super Bowl-caliber team in real life. I say that not as much as a nod to the Chiefs and how well they're playing but also to the rest of the AFC. The Patriots nor the Steelers are that much better than the Chiefs (and I don't even count this year's darlings, the Raiders, who haven't beaten the Chiefs in a few years).
2 - How would you describe the satisfaction level with Andy Reid’s Chief tenure so far? It seems similar to his early years in Philly where the team would be really good in the regular season but couldn’t get over the hump in the playoffs. When does it come to the point where regular season success only goes so far?
Pretty similar to his Philly tenure, for sure (also pretty similar to Marty Schottenheimer's in Kansas City in the 1990s). I would still take the guy who gets you to the playoffs most years than getting a new head coach every few years. Chiefs fans get frustrated by Reid like Eagles fans did but it's still a net positive, without question. There is no superpower in the AFC this year so it's as good of an opportunity now as any to make a deep playoff run which is the missing piece here. This could be Alex Smith's last season so it's their last best shot of this era. However, we're hoping that Patrick Mahomes will give Reid a new series of Super Bowl shots over the next 10 years.
3 - What is the significance of losing Eric Berry to an injury?
Major. Safety isn't necessarily a so-called premium position but Berry was beyond the normal safety in terms of how he impacted the game and he brought a level of energy and leadership that the Chiefs simply can't match. They are a veteran team and they're deep at safety so they can handle this injury but something will be missing. I'll put it to you this way, if you asked Chiefs fans would they rather have that big win in New England or would they rather have Berry for the rest of the season? I think that's a really close vote. The Chiefs have two other safeties under long-term contracts (Ron Parker, Daniel Sorensen) and another recent draft pick that they like (Eric Murray) so they have the bodies to replace a lot of what Berry did but he was the leader. It hurts.
4 - What’s one matchup that really favors the Eagles? And one that really favors the Chiefs?
The Eagles will have the advantage with Zach Ertz at tight end. Eric Berry did a masterful job shutting Rob Gronkowski down last week but with his injury it will be up to Daniel Sorensen (or someone else depending on how the Chiefs play it). Ertz looks really good so Philly will have the advantage there. On the other side, Philly could have some trouble with Tyreek Hill. I saw Terrelle Pryor got behind the defense a couple of times last week. This will be the fastest player you see in the NFL this year. The Chiefs won't just run predictable fly routes either. Andy Reid will get him the ball all over the place. He lined up in the slot, out wide and in the backfield last week. Look for Reid to find a way to get the ball in Hill's hands in space .
5 - Who wins this game and why? What’s your score prediction?
I'll take the Chiefs 24-20. This veteran defense should get the best of Carzon Wentz but the Eagles quarterback is too good not to make his share of plays. It will be a close game but the Chiefs defense is strong and the offense does just enough.