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Chiefs vs. Eagles: 10 Stats to Know

Posted Sep 17, 2017

Here are a few things to keep in mind as the Chiefs host the Eagles Sunday afternoon

The Kansas City Chiefs open up their 2017 home slate Sunday afternoon against the Philadelphia Eagles.

Coming off an impressive 42-27 road win over the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots last Thursday night, the Chiefs are feeling pretty good about bringing an opposing team back to Arrowhead Stadium, where they have won 12 of their last 14 games.

“There’s nothing like Arrowhead, and I welcome [the Eagles] to Arrowhead,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid told the media Monday afternoon. “I know our fans will be ready to welcome them, too.”

Over the past three regular-season games—all wins—the Chiefs have scored an average of 37 points and allowed an average of just 21.

The Eagles are coming off a big road win themselves—beating their NFC East rival, the Washington Redskins, Sunday afternoon, 30-17.

It’s a game between two teams with high expectations and plenty of layers in there with all of the connections between the organizations and coaching staffs.

Here are 10 stats to know for Eagles-Chiefs Sunday:

1. Andy Reid has been pretty good against his former assistants

Reid currently has five former assistants who are head coaches around the league, and one of them is Eagles head coach Doug Pederson, who spent three years as the Chiefs’ offensive coordinator (2013-15) and five years before that with Reid in Philadelphia as quarterbacks’ coach (2011-12) and offensive quality control assistant (2009-11).

Reid gave Pederson, who played quarterback for him and the Eagles in 1999, his first shot in the NFL as a coach in 2011. Pederson was coaching at the high school level in Louisiana at the time.

“The guys who worked with him knew what he was capable of doing,” Reid said this week of Pederson. “So, what seemed like a fast-paced progression for people outside of here, seemed kind of natural for the people who were here (around him).

“I have a lot of respect for [Pederson], and I think he’s doing a nice job there.”

This will be the 12th game Reid has played against one of his former assistants, and he’s faired pretty well in those games—accumulating an 8-3 record.

2. Alex Smith and Kareem Hunt lead the pack

Granted it has been just one week, but when you look at the best stats across the league, the Chiefs are all over them.

Most notably, it’s quarterback Alex Smith and rookie running back Kareem Hunt leading the way as both lead the league in respective key areas.

Smith currently leads the league in passing yards (368) and is tied for the lead in passing touchdowns (4) with the Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford.

Hunt, who had 17 carries for 148 yards and five receptions for 98 yards against the Patriots, leads the league in both rushing yards (148) and total yards from scrimmage (246).

And much of that can be attributed to the fact that he picked up 55 yards after contact against the Patriots, which also led the league. According to Pro Football Focus, Hunt forced a whopping eight missed tackles.

Overall, Hunt averaged 3.2 yards after contact, which is the highest for any running back in the league that carried the ball at least six times in Week 1.

He’s the No. 5-ranked running back for this week on DraftKings.

3. The Chiefs currently have the fastest playmakers in the NFL

According to the latest report from NextGenStats, the Chiefs had the two fastest recorded speeds in the NFL in Week 1.

Obviously, Tyreek Hill is on there with his 75-yard touchdown reception, which was clocked at 20.82 MPH.

That’s not a huge surprise, Hill has proven to be one of the most dynamic players in the NFL over the past year, and he got loose against the Patriots on that long touchdown.

Hill, who is listed as DraftKings’ No. 9 receiver for this Sunday, finished with seven catches for 133 yards, which currently ranks third in the NFL.

But the other play—the fastest play—might surprise some people.

It was Hunt, who bent the left edge late in the game for a 58-yard scamper in which he was clocked at 20.84 MPH, which was the fastest any player was recorded in Week 1.

4. Justin Houston is back (we told you so)

Lost in all of the offensive explosion against the Patriots was the fact that Justin Houston showed everyone that he’s healthy—finishing with five tackles and two sacks.

But what was most impressive is fact that Houston made plays in coverage—delivering a huge hit on an incomplete pass across the middle to Danny Amendola, and he was a tone-setter, an edge-setter, in run defense.

Houston’s bread and butter, and how all pass-rushers are judged by fans and media, are the sack numbers.

But Pro Football Focus always takes it a step further, and according to their “Pass Rushing Productivity” scores, which weighs sacks, along with hits and hurries, Houston was the most disruptive 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL in Week 1.

Houston’s 17.9 “PRP” score was not only the best of the week, but if stretched out over the course of an entire season, would be the best in the history of PFF (since 2005).

5. Red zone scoring efficiency is a key stat to watch

Last year, the Chiefs ranked 30th in the league in red zone scoring efficiency, finding the end zone just 45.5 percent of the time they got inside an opponent’s 20-yard line.

Last week against the Patriots, the Chiefs were 3 for 3 inside the red zone.

While the sample size is small, the ability to get seven instead of three down in that zone is one of the “four core” stats that can often tell the story of the game without seeing anything else. The other three “core” stats would be third-down efficiency, penalty yards and turnovers.

Here are five key stats to know about the Eagles:

6. Eagles’ QB Carson Wentz had no problem spreading the ball around last week

The three most targeted players in the passing game last week for Wentz against the Redskins were tight end Zach Ertz, receiver Nelson Agholor, and running back Darren Sproles. Each player was targeted eight times.

Ertz led the team with eight receptions for 93 yards, but it was Agholor’s 58-yard touchdown on the first drive that got everyone’s attention.

Wentz showed an impressive ability to extend the play before finding Agholor deep down the field, and maybe that’s the reason DraftKings has Wentz as a Top 10 play at quarterback this week.

In addition to those three players, the Eagles also feature two veteran receivers who were brought in this offseason in Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith. Each player has had a season in their careers with at least 1,000 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns.

7. The Eagles’ front seven is for real, particularly that defensive line

Whether it’s Brandon Graham coming off the edge, or Fletcher Cox in the middle of the trenches, the Eagles’ present problems for opposing offensive lines.

Graham had two sacks and a forced fumble last week against the Redskins, while Cox added a sack and a fumble recovery that led to a scoop-and-score in the second half, which sealed the win for the Eagles.

According to Pro Football Focus, the top three-graded players for the Eagles’ defense were Graham, Cox, and Timmy Jernigan.

Overall, the Eagles rank fourth in the league in getting after the passer right now. The Chiefs’ offensive line has their work cut out for them this week.

8. The Eagles thrived in taking the ball away last week

The Eagles won their game over the Redskins by 13 points, and they scored 14 points off the four turnovers they caused in the game. They forced three fumbles and picked-off one Kirk Cousins’ pass.

One of the fumbles was a muffed punt by Redskins’ returner Jamison Crowder, who gave the ball to the Eagles at the Redskins’ 39-yard line. That turned into seven points just a few minutes later.

The other score off a turnover was a second-half strip-sack by Graham that was picked up by Cox and returned 20 yards for the touchdown. The play was reviewed as it looked like Cousins’ hand was going forward, but the call stood.

For the Chiefs, outside of an early fumble by Hunt, they didn’t turn it over against the Patriots. As always, that’ll be a key for the Chiefs on Sunday.

It’s also worth noting that the Chiefs’ defense is tied for fourth in the NFL with 58 takeaways at home since 2013 (under defensive coordinator Bob Sutton).

9. Eagles’ special teams were pretty good last week

Even coach Reid mentioned it this week, but the Eagles’ coverage units were very good against the Redskins.

Redskins’ punt returner Jamison Crowder averaged just 1.5 yards per return, and the two kick returners—Chris Thompson and Bashaud Breeland—both averaged less than 20 yards per kick return.

The return game is usually an area the Chiefs have had plenty of success under special team’s coordinator Dave Toub, but they’ll be in for a challenge this week.

Even still, the Chiefs’ defense/special teams is a borderline fantasy play as they rank No. 12 on DraftKings’ list this week.

10. Eagles struggled running the football last week

As a whole against the Redskins, the Eagles ran the ball 24 times for a total of just 58 yards, which was good for an average of just 2.4 yards per rush.

After one week, that ranks 27th in the NFL.

The longest rush for them was courtesy of LeGarrette Blount, who had a seven-yard gain midway through the second quarter. Blount finished with 14 carries for 46 yards.

The Eagles had 11 rushes for just 19 yards in the second half.

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