With the full expectation that Kevin Kolb will officially be named the team's starting quarterback for today once the inactive list is announced, and that Jeremy Maclin is in line for his first NFL start, and with the understanding that the Eagles are thin in some areas because of injuries, todays' game is a scary one. The Eagles need it badly. Kansas City just does not come into Lincoln Financial Field and beat this team, unless the Eagles play a sloppy, unfocused game.
I'm looking at the little things early in the game. False starts. Dropped passes. Missed tackles. Those aren't really "little" things, but you get the idea. When a team loses a game like the Eagles lost last Sunday, it is time to regroup and attack the basics.
Kansas City is an 0-2 team that plays hard football, that is well coached and that has a lot of effort on every play. But the Chiefs are a work in progress for new head coach Todd Haley. They are still putting the pieces together. The Eagles have watched film all week of a Kansas City team that is in the right place, but that just does not have the talent to beat a contending team that is playing good football.
And I think the Eagles are a contending team. And I am actually excited to see Maclin on the field more, to see his speed against a starting NFL cornerback, to see if he can pull away from coverage and make big plays and get down the field. Kevin Curtis is hurting. He was a shadow of his NFC Championship Game self in Weeks 1 and 2. He didn't have his burst and he didn't earn the respect of defensive backs. A rest is a good thing for Curtis and his ailing knee.
Brian Westbrook? I expect him to play. How much, I'm not sure. LeSean McCoy is ready, for sure. McCoy took all the practice reps this week and should be good to go for the most extended work of his young NFL career. The Eagles play against a 3-4 team that is going to go after Kolb and force the line of scrimmage. Kansas City isn't laying back on anyone now. Why should the defense play that way?
For the Eagles defense, this is a chance to really get after the quarterback. The Eagles should be able to cover Kansas City's skill players, including an injured Dwayne Bowe. There is nothing particularly scary about what the Chiefs do on offense. I expect the Eagles to blitz a lot against quarterback Matt Cassel. I expect the Eagles to blitz the running game. I expect the linebacker to be a lot more physical than they were last week against the Saints.
Special teams? It's a huge day for this phase of the game after last week's struggles. Too many holding penalties. Kansas City has made plays on special teams in the first two weeks of the season. This won't be a layup, by any means. The Eagles have to play very well on special teams to win the battle here.
Overall, it makes sense to expect an Eagles win. The weather has been awful since Saturday night -- heavy rains that tampered down to showers this morning -- and by the second quarter the sun could be out. I hope that is the way I'm feeling about the team at that time, too. To me, this is a statement game.
The Eagles had their tails kicked last week. Are they really angry about it, or is everything we heard all week just lip service. Sixty purposeful minutes against the Chiefs will say a lot.