Season Preview: Philadelphia Eagles

Warpaint Illustrated beat writer Mike Nugent continues his series, taking a look at each of the Kansas City Chiefs' non-divisional opponents. Today's team: the Philadelphia Eagles.

In week four, the Kansas City Chiefs take on last year's NFC Champion Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are coming off a turbulent offseason, where star wide receiver Terrell Owens' demanded to have his contract redone bubbled into a media circus. Philadelphia has stood firm with the incredibly talented, yet incredibly puerile star, but at what cost to the overall team's chemistry?

Eagles Team Preview:
The Philadelphia Eagles had a successful campaign last season, reaching the Super Bowl but ultimately losing to the New England Patriots in the championship game. The Eagles have been a model of consistency, going to at least the NFC Championship game for the last four seasons straight. Philadelphia will try to improve on last season's performance with essentially the same personnel, although rookie defensive tackle Mike Patterson will need to step in for the departed Corey Simon.

On offense, the burning question is can T.O. be productive? After watching the preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals, the answer is yes. With a thin receiving corps following the release of Freddie Mitchell and the loss of Todd Pinkston for the season, Owens' production will be sorely needed. With the addition of Owens, Quarterback Donovan McNabb had his best season, registering career highs in completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns. McNabb's passer rating was a full 20 points higher than it had ever been before. With Owens on the field, McNabb can move around and use the attention Owens attracts to find other receivers in single coverage.

Having said that, running back Brian Westbrook is the glue that holds the offense together. His ability to run and catch passes out of the backfield is an underrated part of the Eagles offense, and the team relies heavily on Westbrook to move the chains.

Defensively, the Eagles are returning one of the league's best defenses, period. Stout against both the run and the pass, the Eagles are tough to move the ball against. With a young, talented secondary, and one of the toughest front seven in the league, the Eagles will require the Chiefs offense to be as sharp as it has ever been.

Extra Points:
Although the T.O. situation seems like it is over, in all likelihood it's not. Look for the situation to come to a head at some point during the season. Rookie wide receiver Reggie Brown may end up being the number two receiver before the season is done.

Bottom line:
This will be a tough test for the Chiefs offensively and defensively. The Eagles have a strong defense that plays the run and the pass well. It may boil down to a test of wills for the Chiefs on offense. Defensively, the Chiefs will be stretched to the limit.

The best hope for the Chiefs is to control the Eagles offensive backfield and get up field as much as possible to disrupt the Eagles. Controlling Terrell Owens will be a job for the entire Chiefs secondary; he cannot be allowed to break tackles and turn short gains into big plays.

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