Chiefs Wary Of Eagles' Blitzes

Aside from all the attention rightfully being paid to both the Chiefs and Eagles' health situations and the return of Michael Vick, the fact remains that 90 players take the field Sunday, and someone is going to win a football game. For both teams, a victory will look like a steal.

For the Eagles, it's because their franchise quarterback is probably not going to play and their top receiver and top rusher are banged up. For the Chiefs, it's because no one expects them to go on the road to one of the toughest atmospheres in pro football and win against what was widely considered a Super Bowl contender in the preseason.

As it will be the case frequently this season, the Chiefs' hope for victory relies heavily on their offensive line. The Eagles are probably the fastest offense in the NFL, and in order to keep Kansas City's defense fresh, KC's running game will have to be methodical and grueling. As we all know, that starts up front.

The Chiefs' running attack will also be key because of the threat of Philly's vaunted blitz packages. Despite tragically losing defensive coordinator Jim Johnson this offseason, the Eagles' defense still intimidates. In fact, Todd Haley sees the same defense, for the most part.

"I would say that it's hard to see a lot of difference now," he said. "Coach Johnson was the best as far as the timing and instincts, when he did and didn't bring (pressure) and staying ahead of the curve, so that'll be on the new guy to pick up from there. But it doesn't look like a lot is different. I can't give enough credit. To me, going against anybody in the league, Coach Johnson was the one."

Many believed heading into this week that Haley would lose the most sleep preparing for Philly's speed on offense and their affinity for the wildcat offense, but prepping for the seemingly infinite blitzing schemes was also high among his priorities. Haley said the Chiefs would attempt to counter the Eagles' blitzes with particular plays or particular players.

"There are a lot of different ways you can try to combat it," he said. "We try to watch a lot of tape together as a group, everybody in the same room. Which I think when you're playing like this, that communication helps as you watch tape together, whether it's practice or tape of the Eagles defense. You have everybody in there at once and you try not to leave a lot of gray area amongst yourselves."

Kevin Kolb, who threw for 391 yards a week ago, will likely be Philly's starting quarterback again. That makes KC's pass rush as important as their ability to get the running game going on offense. With two sacks last week and one against the Ravens, there's no doubt the Chiefs have improved their rush over last season. However, they haven't yet shown they're good enough to stifle an air attack like Philly's.

Who wins Sunday? Vegas has the Chiefs as an 8½-point underdog, but with this many question marks on both teams, it's a toss up. The team that ends up playing the most players currently on the injury report may have the edge. If Dwayne Bowe and Brian Waters suit up for Kansas City while Brian Westbrook, Kevin Curtis and DeSean Jackson don't for Philly, it's the Chiefs' game to lose.

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