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Philadelphia Eagles News

Spadaro: Back from the bye, 8 key storylines to follow during Chiefs Week

Haason Reddick
Haason Reddick

The doors of the NovaCare Complex opened on Monday and it was time to return to work for the Eagles after their bye weekend, one that came at a perfect time for a team that won eight of nine games to reach some downtime.

To add to the wait between games, the Eagles have an extra day to prepare for Monday night's battle at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium against the Kansas City Chiefs, so the wait for all of us is just a touch more agonizing. It feels like forever since the Eagles gutted out the 28-23 win over Dallas at Lincoln Financial Field, but a look into what is ahead provides a better context: The second half of this season is going to be here in a hurry and it's going to be intense.

This past weekend offered another snapshot of a league that is truly wide open, with ever-changing storylines. With that in mind, let's talk about the Eagles and what we know about them as they dig in for Kansas City, a game by the way that will be hyped as a "Super Bowl rematch," and is, technically that. But the Eagles are a substantially different team with a focus on 2023, not on rehashing Super Bowl LVII. So are the Chiefs.

A better way to look at Monday night is that it's a game between two of the best teams in the NFL in a prime-time affair that will offer three-plus hours of great matchups and story angles with, most importantly, a lot on the line for both teams.

Anyway, about the Eagles ...

1. The injury update won't come until quite a bit later in the week as there is no scheduled media until Thursday. The most pressing injury situation for the Eagles is the loss of tight end Dallas Goedert for an undetermined number of weeks after he suffered a forearm injury in the win over Dallas. The Eagles lost Goedert in 2022 for five games and in those games the Eagles scored 17, 40, 35, 48, and 25 points – all wins and an average of 33 points per game. The coaching staff mixed different personnel packages and tweaked the offense enough to keep defenses guessing and, clearly, that led to a lot of strong production. Jack Stoll, Grant Calcaterra, and Albert Okwuegbunam are the remaining tight ends on the active roster. The bye week gave the team a few extra days to contemplate options and we will see what they've decided to do as we close in on Monday.

2. More on injuries: cornerback Bradley Roby indicated after the Dallas game that he was confident he would be in a position to return to action, and hopefully that means for Kansas City or shortly thereafter. Having Roby on the field would help solidify the nickel cornerback position. Right guard Cam Jurgens should also be closer to returning to action after his practice window opened prior to the Dallas game. He has missed five games with a foot injury.

3. There will be some clarity with regard to linebacker Nakobe Dean, who reportedly has a foot injury. Head Coach Nick Sirianni has not yet spoken on the matter.

4. He isn't an "injury" situation, because quarterback Jalen Hurts missed no practice time nor any game time, but having a week off should help heal any of his bumps and bruises. Heck, he's the same as every player. After nine games, everyone limped off the field after the extremely physical win over Dallas. They'll be so much fresher after the bye.

5. A stat that seems to mean something, so keep an eye on it – yards per passing attempt. The Eagles are tied (with Detroit) for sixth in the NFL in this category, at 7.7 yards per attempt. The teams above them: San Francisco, Miami, Houston, Dallas, and Baltimore. All of those teams are in the playoff chase.

6. The rushing offense, as Coach Sirianni said last week, has been productive and he's good with where it's at. The numbers aren't as dominating as in the two previous seasons, but then again the offense has structured its 28 points per game a little differently. As far as the run, the Eagles are fifth in the league in rushing touchdowns and eighth in rushing yards per game.

7. The red zone defense is heading in the right direction with a 62.6 touchdown percentage the last three games and, in the win over Dallas, holding Dallas to three touchdowns in five red zone possessions. The red zone offense is all the way up to 12th in the league and has scored touchdowns on 71.43 percent of its possessions in the last three games.

8. A dynamic duo getting to the quarterback: Haason Reddick has 7.5 sacks and Josh Sweat has 6.5 and that is some serious punch off the edge. Rookie Jalen Carter has four quarterback sacks and so the Eagles are really spreading things around. We saw how important it is to have depth along the defensive front when the Eagles chased quarterback Dak Prescott late in the win last Sunday, and that edge pressure will be so critical to complement what the Eagles are doing inside. The Eagles have 30 sacks so far this season. Through nine games in 2022, a year in which they had a franchise-record and league-best 70 sacks, the Eagles posted 29.

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