Each week throughout the 2023 NFL Season, coach Kevin Kelley will give a coach’s perspective and provide analysis for a few games against the spread.
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Kansas City Chiefs vs. Philadelphia Eagles Spread Prediction:
Look for the Philadelphia Eagles to cover the spread as 2.5-point road underdogs against the Kansas City Chiefs and the first half to go Over 23.
Why I like the Eagles to cover the spread vs. the Chiefs in Week 11:
The Philadelphia Eagles and Jalen Hurts fly into Kansas City this week to take on Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Let’s not leave out Travis Kelce, A.J. Brown, or that Eagles defense.
I know everyone is touting this as the best defense that Mahomes has played with. But I still am not sold on them for several reasons.
Both of my wagers for this article are found in one game. Let’s start with the first one.
I love the OVER 23 (I got 22.5) in the first half for a few reasons.
First of all, both the Eagles and the Chiefs rank in the top 10 in their first 15 scripted plays of the game in total EPA. Teams that are good on the scripted plays are the ones you look at the stats at the end of the year and see that they scored in the top of the NFL on 1st drives pretty consistently.
I love it when they do it in 8 plays or fewer and still have some scripted plays left over for that next drive if they choose.
Teams work on those more and they work on them against varying looks more than any other plays they will run that week. Coaches that plan them aren’t under the fire DURING the game as they are on other plays they choose in the moment. The players know what to expect and are comfortable.
And here is something not a ton of people know, some defensive coordinators don’t show the defense they plan on running the rest of the game during those scripted plays because they want to run their planned defense against something not scripted.
To make things even better, both of these teams are in the top 10 in non-scripted plays as you might guess.
Finally, both teams are in the top six in getting into the red zone. And both of them are pretty good at scoring TDs as well.
So with all of those things in mind, and the ability for both to score from anywhere, the first half over is an easy one to like.
As far as the game goes, there are a few additional things I like to make up for the appearance of a defensive deficit between the two teams.
First of all, the Eagles lead the league in the percentage of possessions that they score on at almost 50%. That is an amazing rate that helps close that gap.
The sacks are close to the same (important because of the drive-killing ability of the sack), and the points per game given up on defense and scored on offense are negligible. There is an interception total difference of one on defense.
The big difference in the game, and it’s crazy for a guy like me who loves the pass, is the run game.
It’s not just that the Eagles average so many more rushing yards per game or they can attack with the run in several different ways that the Chiefs cannot. It is that on offense, the Eagles have three of the top five offensive linemen in the NFL at block win rate while the Chiefs have no one in the top 10 to stop it on defense. Chris Jones is high for DTs in pass win rate but not run.
I also love that the Eagles are No. 1 in the NFL in third-down efficiency. The Chiefs are not far behind at No. 4, but add in the fact that the Eagles go for and convert 77% of 4th downs while the Chiefs are in the bottom four in the league (No. 29) in even attempting them, and that more than makes up for any defensive deficit in my mind.
The Chiefs offensive line against the Eagles defense will be a fun matchup to watch. The Chiefs rank high in block win rate in the pass game, and the Eagles have the No.1 pass rush win rate at defensive tackle in Jalen Carter and the No. 7 on the edge in Haason Reddick.
And the final candle on the cake is the Chiefs receivers still are tops in the league in dropped passes. Think of a great play on third down resulting in a drop. It’s a drive killer, and almost like a turnover.
The Eagles have played a tougher schedule and should have a little revenge on their mind. They are the better in my opinion, and going for it on fourth and 1 from anywhere is a dagger and a momentum changer that will serve them well.
I am taking the Eagles +2.5 and the first half Over 23.