Chiefs Game Plan: Philadelphia Eagles

The Kansas City Chiefs have a golden opportunity today to show last weeks embarrassing loss in Denver was a bump in the road instead of a trend. On Sunday afternoon they'll welcome the Philadelphia Eagles to Arrowhead. If the Chiefs win today, they'll move to 3-1 in what many considered to be the roughest patch of games in their 2005 schedule.

They can go into the bye next week to rest the walking wounded that includes All-Pro left tackle Willie Roaf and they'll get their second best cornerback Eric Warfield back after the bye week. Thus a win against the defending NFC champs, regardless of their injury situation, would go a long way towards restoring the Chiefs confidence.

The bad thing about the game today is that the Eagles aren't going to be an easy victory for the Chiefs. Even with quarterback Donovan McNabb and wide receiver Terrell Owens suffering from abdominal injuries, the Eagle are still a dangerous team offensively. They still have an amazing running back in Brian Westbrook, who is probably the most accomplished dual-threat running back in the NFL right now. Defensively, the Eagles are stacked, with a strong defensive line, a talented secondary, and a smart group of linebackers led by Jeremiah Trotter. The aforementioned Trotter nearly became a Chief in the offseason but he chose to stay in Philly rather than join Kansas City.

The Chief have injuries to overcome as well. They obviously miss defensive tackle Ryan Sims, because the Chiefs have been unable to pressure the quarterback up the middle. That has stalled the outside pass rush and that's hurting this defense right now.

Kansas City also misses offensive tackle Willie Roaf, whose absence has disrupted the entire offensive line. So the Chiefs are going to have to get creative to make up for the loss of those players.

Here is what the Chiefs need to do to be successful on Sunday afternoon against the Eagles.

Offense Must Start Slowly
- The Chiefs offense desperately needs to establish itself after two straight games where they didn't play well. The offensive line didn't block very well last week, and the Chiefs were unable to run or pass with any regular effectiveness. Offensive coordinator Al Saunders needs to get the Chiefs' confidence up early in the friendly confines of Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs need to just focus on making first downs, and moving the chains, building confidence early.

Utilize the Screen Game - The Philadelphia Eagles are blitzing defense. They like to get up the field quickly, disrupting the timing of opposing offenses. With questionable tackle play at the corners of the offensive line, the Eagles will be salivating; sending guys after the Chiefs offense all game long. The Chiefs can offset the pressure by using that aggressive nature to their advantage, allowing the Eagles to get up the field and then lofting the ball over the top.

Establish the Run and Utilize Play Action - Right now, the running game is the best thing the Chiefs have going for them. Running backs Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson are an excellent 1-2 punch, but the Chiefs have been unable to get either of them going the last couple weeks. If the Chiefs can get those guys started, they can force the Philadelphia defense to come up to the line of scrimmage. The Chiefs can then use play action to keep Philadelphia guessing while Green distributes the ball to the receivers.

Defensively Get Pressure up the Middle - With McNabb slowed by his groin injury, the Chiefs defense needs to pressure him up the middle to force him to move outside. McNabb is a tough player, but he will be in pain, so the Chiefs need to use that to their advantage as much as possible. Forcing McNabb to one side also makes it tougher for him to see the entire field.

Contain Brian Westbrook - Running back Brian Westbrook is one of the most dangerous players on the field. Not only do the Eagles go to him by design, he is invaluable as a safety valve for McNabb. Taking Westbrook away (which is much easier said than done) makes life much tougher for McNabb. The Chiefs must stop Westbrook as a runner and as a receiver to effectively limit the Eagles offense.

Stop the Eagles on Third Down - Philadelphia is one of the best teams in the league at converting third downs. The Eagles convert almost half of their thirds, which makes tough for defenses to get off the field. The Chiefs must force the Eagles into long third down situations, and make the Eagles punt, preventing them from stringing long drive together. If the Eagles get in the Red Zone they are virtually unstoppable. But with the Arrowhead crowd behind them on Sunday, the Chiefs should be able to make it difficult for the Eagles to convert first downs preventing them from getting into the Red Zone very often.

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