NFL Picks: Chiefs vs. Eagles Week 3 Thursday Night Football

Ross Benjamin

Wednesday, September 18, 2013 8:40 PM GMT

The Kansas City Chiefs travel to Philadelphia on Thursday night to take on the Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field, with kickoff slated for 8:20 p.m. ET.

Tale of the Tape

According to current football betting odds, the Eagles are a 3-point favorite and the total is 50. This will mark the highly anticipated return of former Eagles long time head coach Andy Reid. Reid was let go by Philadelphia at the end of last season and almost immediately hired as the new head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs. The Eagles franchise has also embarked on an exciting new era with new head coach Chip Kelly. Kelly has brought in his riveting speed offense that he used so successfully in his tenure as head coach at the University of Oregon.

Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs are off to an encouraging 2-0 start. They opened the season with a 28-2 blowout win over Jacksonville, and then last week squeaked by Dallas in their home opener 17-16. It marked just the 2nd time since the 2005 season that Kansas City has got off to a 2-0 start. The win at Jacksonville snapped a 6-game road losing streak. However, the Chiefs were a favored in that contest, and are still 0-3 ATS in their last 3 and 1-5 in the last 6 as a road underdog. Kansas City has seen 7 of their last 8 games go under the total when installed as an underdog. As a matter of fact, Kansas City has gone under in their last 6 and 9 of their last 10 games overall dating back to last season.

The Chiefs defense has been stout in their first 2 games holding opponents to 9 points, 54 yards rushing, and 248 total yards per game. They are tied for the NFL lead with 9 sacks after the first 2 weeks of the season. Considering that they had 27 sacks all of last season, they obviously have shown drastic improvement thus far with their pass rush. Newly signed starting quarterback Alex Smith has been very efficient in his first 2-games in a Chiefs uniform. Smith has completed 60% of his pass attempts for 396 yards and threw for 4 touchdowns versus no picks. He’s also run for 82 yards and averaged nearly 7 yards per attempt. Kansas City has yet to commit a turnover in their first 2 games

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 Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles offense has been as advertised under Chip Kelly. They are 2nd in total offense (477ypg), 2nd in rushing offense (176 ypg), 10th in passing offense (301 ypg), and 3rd in scoring offense (31.5 ppg) in the entire NFL. Wide receiver DeSean Jackson is off to a terrific start with 16 receptions, averaging a whopping 18.6 yards per catch, and scored 2 touchdowns. Michael Vick went from being a player who was a lock to be released at the end of last season to being rejuvenated in this new offense. After 2 games the veteran quarterback has a 118.4 rating, passed for 631 yards, threw 4 touchdown passes while has yet to throw an interception. He’s also run for 77 yards and 2 touchdowns.

The concern for the Eagles at the moment is their play on defense. In the first 2 games, they’ve allowed an average of 30 points and 460.5 yards per game of which 360.5 of those yards are through the air. A positive for the defense is that they’ve created 5 turnovers so far.

Final Analysis

I just like the overall balance that Kansas City has displayed thus far. In addition, they’ve a very good +4 turnover margin in the first 2 contests and, unlike on many occasions a season ago, aren’t beating themselves. I firmly believe that the transition in the new coaching staffs for both teams favors the Chiefs. The tempo that Chip Kelly wants to play on offense, although very effective so far, still needs a lot of time getting used to. The defense also needs to adjust to the fact they aren’t going to be sitting on the sidelines for many -if any- time consuming drives by the offense this season.

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NFL Pick: Bet the Kansas City Chiefs +3 (EV) on the spread over Philadelphia, at William Hill

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