Red Zone

Chiefs-Eagles scouting report, key players to watch and prediction

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid spoke with offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, right, during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 25, 2015 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. Pederson is now the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, who visit Arrowhead on Sunday.
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid spoke with offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, right, during a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on October 25, 2015 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, MO. Pederson is now the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, who visit Arrowhead on Sunday. deulitt@kcstar.com

Here’s The Star’s weekly game preview detailing the key players and matchups for the Kansas City Chiefs’ game against the Philadelphia Eagles at noon Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium. The game will air on Fox (Ch. 4 in Kansas City).

Scheme

Coach: Doug Pederson (8-9) is in his second year on the job. Pederson, 49, took over for Chip Kelly after spending seven seasons as an assistant under Chiefs coach Andy Reid. A former NFL quarterback, Pederson brought Reid’s West Coast Offense with him to Philadelphia. There has been plenty of speculation about Pederson’s job security, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, though owner Jeffrey Lurie recently defended Pederson.

Offense: Frank Reich, 55, is in his second year as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator. The Eagles rank fifth in the NFL in passing offense (298 yards per game) and 24th in the NFL in rushing offense (58.0). The Eagles’ offense is similar to the Chiefs’ thanks to the seven years Pederson spent apprenticing under Reid. Pederson has an appetite for the deep ball, however, and seems to favor testing it regularly.

Defense: Jim Schwartz, 51, is in his second year as the Eagles’ defensive coordinator. The Eagles play an aggressive 4-3 front featuring lots of blitzing with man-to-man coverage, particularly on early downs. The Eagles rank 15th in the NFL in passing defense (200.0) and 10th in the NFL in rushing defense (64.0). They also rank fourth in the NFL in sacks with four.

Special teams: Dave Fipp, 43, is in his fifth year as the Eagles’ special teams coach. The Eagles’ unit finished first in Rick Gosselin’s respected annual special teams rankings. “The Eagles are excellent,” Chiefs special teams coach Dave Toub said. “They’re where we’re trying to get to. That’s what we’re trying to be.”

Four keys to a Chiefs victory

1. Go to the screen

The Eagles’ defense is fast and physical. They love to flow to the ball and deliver the blow. You can take advantage of that by using a healthy amount of screen passes. Reid, of course, loves the screen game. We’re about due for a heavy screen game from him.

2. Test the corners

The Eagles’ best corner, Ronald Darby, will miss the game with an ankle injury. That means the Eagles will be leaning on Jalen Mills and Patrick Robinson. Mills, while talented, is a 4.61 guy while Robinson has given up some big plays in the past. If the Eagles insist on being as aggressive as they have been under Schwartz, the opportunity for some big plays downfield could present themselves.

3. Don’t let Blount get going

Running back LeGarrette Blount led the NFL in touchdowns (18) last season as a member of the New England Patriots. He only rushed 14 times for 46 yards in Week 1 vs. Washington, but he’s a hard-charging downhill back who could gash the Chiefs if their run defense reverts to 2016 form. Wrap up, have gap discipline and get off blocks.

4. Make Wentz win from the pocket

Second-year quarterback Carson Wentz is very talented. He’s got a strong arm, poise and good pocket awareness. But he often does his best work on the move or improvising. He’s still refining his accuracy, so the Chiefs might decide to make him prove he consistently beat them from the pocket.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley interviews wide receiver Tyreek Hill in the Chiefs practice facility locker room on Friday.

Four Eagles to watch

No. 11, QB Carson Wentz, 24 years old, 6-5, 237, second season

No. 2 overall pick in 2016 who completed 62.4 percent of his passes for 3,782 yards, 16 touchdowns and 14 interceptions as a rookie. Flashes plus arm strength and can really drive the ball downfield. Flashes creativity in the pocket; can scramble away from pressure and extend plays. Can also shrug off tacklers while keeping his eyes downfield. Very poised. Is still refining his field vision and decision making. Occasional arm-thrower whose mechanics can be inconsistent, which in turn hurts his accuracy at all levels.

No. 27, RB LeGarrette Blount, 30 years old, 6-0, 250, eighth season

Ranked No. 80 on the NFL’s top 100 list for 2017. Powerful downhill back with terrific size and surprisingly quick feet who does his best work on power and inside zone runs. Monster near the goal line who can lower his shoulder and power through multiple defenders. Has never caught more than 15 passes in a season, but he did catch a touchdown pass last week and could potentially be used a tad more in this area. Can be tracked down from behind at the second level of the defense.

No. 91, DT Fletcher Cox, 26 years old, 6-4, 310, sixth season

Ranked No. 38 on the NFL’s top 100 list for 2017. Had 43 tackles and 6 1/2 sacks last season. Is one of the game’s very best at his position. Tremendous combination of size, athleticism and power, especially for a defensive tackle. Showed all off on a game-clinching fumble return for a touchdown last week vs. Washington. Penetrator with strong hands who reads offensive linemen well and generally plays with good effort.

No. 55, DE Brandon Graham, 29 years old, 6-2, 275, eighth season

Ranked No. 93 on the NFL’s top 100 list for 2017. Had 59 tackles and 5 1/2 sacks in 16 games in 2016. Has 80 combined sacks, hurries and knockdowns last year, the highest total in the NFL. Had the sack-strip last week vs. Washington that led to Cox’s game-clinching touchdown. Can win regularly with speed, strength and technique. Still has the quickness and power off the snap to bend the corner. Aware player who is solid against the run and gives great effort. Productive, underrated tough guy who does his job.

If you are planning to buy parking on the day of a Chiefs game at Arrowhead Stadium, be sure to bring $60 cash. Other prepaid options are available. Find out how the parking system works in this video.

Projected Chiefs two-deep depth chart

KEY: Bold=Player to Watch, C=Captain, PB=2016 Pro Bowl, AP=2016 All-Pro, Q=Questionable

QB

No., Name, Ht., Wt., Years

11 Alex Smith (C, PB), 6-4, 220, 13 | 15 Patrick Mahomes, 6-3, 230, R

RB

27 Kareem Hunt, 5-11, 208, R | 35 Charcandrick West, 5-10, 205, 4

FB

42 Anthony Sherman, 5-10, 242, 7

X-WR

17 Chris Conley, 6-3, 205, 3 | 14 Demarcus Robinson, 6-1, 203, 2

Z-WR

10 Tyreek Hill (C, PB, AP), 5-10, 185, 2 | 80 Jehu Chesson, 6-3, 203, R

Y-WR

12 Albert Wilson, 5-9, 200, 4 | 13 De’Anthony Thomas, 5-9, 176, 4

TE

87 Travis Kelce (C, PB, AP), 6-5, 260, 5 | 84 Demetrius Harris, 6-7, 230, 4

LT

72 Eric Fisher, 6-7, 315, 5 | 75 Cameron Erving, 6-5, 313, 3

LG

70 Bryan Witzmann, 6-7, 320, 3 | 73 Zach Fulton, 6-5, 316, 4

C

61 Mitch Morse, 6-6, 305, 3 | 73 Zach Fulton, 6-5, 316, 4

RG

76 Laurent Duvernay-Tardif, 6-5, 321, 4 | 73 Zach Fulton, 6-5, 316, 4

RT

71 Mitchell Schwartz (AP), 6-5, 320, 6 | 75 Cameron Erving, 6-5, 313, 3

DEFENSE

LDE

95 Chris Jones, 6-6, 310, 2 | 95 Rakeem Nunez-Roches, 6-2, 307, 3

NT

96 Bennie Logan, 6-2, 315, 5 | 98 Roy Miller III, 6-2, 318, 8

RDE

97 Allen Bailey, 6-3, 288, 7 | 94 Jarvis Jenkins, 6-4, 300, 7

LOLB

50 Justin Houston (C), 6-3, 258, 7 | 51 Frank Zombo, 6-3, 254, 8

WILB

56 Derrick Johnson, 6-3, 242, 13 | 57 Kevin Pierre-Louis (Q), 6-0, 230, 4

MILB

53 Ramik Wilson, 6-2, 237, 3 | 45 Ukeme Eligwe, 6-2, 239, R

ROLB

55 Dee Ford, 6-2, 252, 4 | 92 Tanoh Kpassagnon, 6-7, 280, R

LCB

22 Marcus Peters (PB, AP), 6-0, 197, 3 | 23 Phillip Gaines, 6-0, 193, 4

FS

38 Ron Parker (Q), 6-0, 206, 7 | 21 Eric Murray, 5-11, 199, 2

SS

49 Daniel Sorensen, 6-2, 208, 4 | 30 Steven Terrell, 5-10, 197, 5

NCB

23 Phillip Gaines, 6-0, 193, 4

RCB

39 Terrance Mitchell, 5-11, 190, 4 | 25 Kenneth Acker, 6-0, 195, 4

SPECIAL TEAMS

K

5 Cairo Santos, 5-8, 160, 4

P

2 Dustin Colquitt (C), 6-3, 210, 13

KR

13 De’Anthony Thomas, 5-9, 176, 4

PR

10 Tyreek Hill (C, PB, AP), 5-10, 185, 1

LS

41 James Winchester, 6-3, 240, 3

The Star's Terez A. Paylor talks with safety Eric Murray. He'll be counted on to help replace Eric Berry.

Projected Eagles two-deep depth chart

KEY: Bold=Player to Watch, C=Captain, PB=2016 Pro Bowl, AP=2016 All-Pro, Q=Questionable, *=See “additional notes” section below for more info on player

OFFENSE

QB

No., Name, Ht., Wt., Years

**11 Carson Wentz (C), 6-5, 237, 2** | 9 Nick Foles, 6-6, 243, 6

RB

**29 LeGarrette Blount, 6-0, 250, 8** | 43 Darren Sproles, 5-6, 190, 13

WR

*17 Alshon Jeffery, 6-3, 218, 6 | 14 Marcus Johnson, 6-1, 204, 1

WR

82 Torrey Smith, 6-0, 205, 7 | 10 Mack Hollins, 6-4, 221, R

WR

*13 Nelson Agholor, 6-0, 198, 3 | 10 Mack Hollins, 6-4, 221, R

TE

*86 Zach Ertz, 6-5, 250, 5 | 87 Brent Celek, 6-5, 255, 11

LT

*71 Jason Peters (C, PB), 6-4, 328, 14 | 72 Halapoulivaati Vaitai, 6-6, 320, 2

LG

73 Isaac Seumalo | 67 Chance Warmack, 6-2, 323, 5

C

*62 Jason Kelce (PB), 6-3, 295, 7 | 61 Stefen Wisniewski, 6-3, 305, 7

RG

79 Brandon Brooks, 6-5, 335, 6 | 67 Chance Warmack, 6-2, 323, 5

RT

*65 Lane Johnson, 6-6, 317, 5 | 72 Halapoulivaati Vaitai, 6-6, 320, 2

DEFENSE

DE

*75 Vinny Curry, 6-3, 279, 6 | *96 Derek Barnett, 6-3, 259, R

NT

*93 Tim Jernigan, 6-2, 295, 4 | 94 Beau Allen, 6-3, 327, 4

DT

**91 Fletcher Cox (PB), 6-4, 310, 6** | 97 Destiny Vaeao, 6-4, 299, 2

DE

**55 Brandon Graham (C, AP), 6-2, 265, 8** | *56 Chris Long, 6-3, 270, 10

OLB

95 Mychal Kendricks, 6-0, 240, 6 | 54 Kamu Grugier-Hill, 6-2, 220, 2

MLB

58 Jordan Hicks, 6-1, 236, 3 | 59 Joe Walker, 6-2, 236, 2

OLB

53 Nigel Bradham, 6-2, 241, 6 | 52 Najee Goode, 6-0, 244, 6

CB

31 Jalen Mills, 6-0, 191, 2 | 32 Rasul Douglas, 6-2, 209, R

S

23 Rodney McLeod, 5-10, 195, 6 | 24 Corey Graham, 6-0, 196, 10

S

*27 Malcolm Jenkins (C), 6-0, 204, 9 | 26 Jaylen Watkins, 5-11, 194, 3

NCB

32 Rasul Douglas, 6-2, 209, R

CB

21 Patrick Robinson, 5-11, 191, 8 | 33 Dexter McDougle, 5-10, 195, 4

SPECIAL TEAMS

K

*4 Jake Elliott, 5-9, 170, R

P

8 Donnie Jones, 6-2, 221, 14

KR

28 Wendell Smallwood, 5-10, 208, 2

PR

43 Darren Sproles (PB), 5-6, 190, 13

LS

45 Rick Lovato, 6-2, 249, 1

Additional game notes

Receiver

Torrey Smith

still has outstanding deep speed. Wentz definitely has the arm to reach him vertically. The Chiefs need to be wary of that, though they failed to link up last week.

Receiver

Nelson Agholor

is a terrific athlete who can run past people and create separation. His hands in the NFL have been iffy, but the Eagles occasionally throw it to him on stick routes and screens just to get him involved and let hm create.

Receiver

Alshon Jeffery

is a good contested-ball guy.

Tight end

Zach Ertz

runs good routes and flashes plus athleticism. He’ll be a tough matchup for the linebacker or safety tasked with defending him. He’s Wentz’s security blanket.

The Eagles’ offensive line is big, strong and athletic, so pressure on

Carson Wentz

could be difficult to come by. The Eagles’ offensive line is outstanding. They are big, strong and agile.

Very strong group, from left tackle Jason Peters, to center Jason Kelce, to right tackle Lane Johnson.

This is a fast, athletic, aggressive defensive front. They have a lot of bodies to rotate in. Graham and Cox are the studs, but

Derek Barnett

,

Chris Long

,

Vinny Curry

and

Tim Jernigan

can all get after it.

Washington missed on some deep balls last week, and there were times

Terrelle Pryor, Sr.

, got behind the defense.

Safety

Malcolm Jenkins

is a good player. He’s got some corner skills and often plays the slot. He could matchup against

Travis Kelce

, which could be fun.

The Eagles’ tackling was spotty at times last week.

The Eagles have a new kicker this week after placing kicker

Caleb Sturgis

on injured reserve. It’s rookie

Jake Elliott

.

Prediction: Chiefs 27-20

This is a dangerous game for the Chiefs, especially if they get too cocky after an eye-opening win over New England in Week 1. If they don’t bring it this week, they will lose, because Philly is dangerous. But the Chiefs have the superior coach-quarterback combination, and they are at home. Reid is also Pederson’s mentor, and it’s typically tough for the pupil to top the student. The Chiefs should win.

Kansas City Chiefs mascot KC Wolf on Wednesday helped put Chiefs jerseys on some of the statutes at the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City. It was preparation for the Chiefs’ home opener Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles as well as for Red Fri

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