The Kansas City Chiefs take on the Philadelphia Eagles tomorrow at Lincoln Financial Field. Is this the week Todd Haley gets his first win as head coach of the Chiefs? Or will the Eagles and their new quarterback Michael Vick come out on top?
Here are three players (Offense, Defense and Special Teams) from each team to keep your eyes on.
Offense: Larry Johnson
It is a familiar storyline, but if the Chiefs have any hope of winning they need to be able to run the ball. It’s no secret that their offense isn’t like the Saints being able to throw the ball all over the field and put up a ton of points. And after struggling mightily in Week 1, Johnson bounced back against the Raiders last week for a solid — yet unspectacular — outing. LJ couldn’t break a run for more than 10 yards last week, but will get a shot against a run defense that gave up runs of at least 15 yards to three different players last week.
Defense: Demorrio Williams
Derrick Johnson has delivered big plays in each of the first two games of the season. Each time he was in replacing Williams. With Johnson pronouncing himself out for the game, that means Williams will spend more time on the field in nickel situations, which DJ was excelling in. Williams has totaled respectable tackle numbers, but at the same time has found himself out of position or being run over more than a few times in each game. He needs to help plug up an Eagles running attack that didn’t surpass 100 yards last week and not to mention try and track down a guy named Vick.
Special Teams: Ryan Succop
The Chiefs rookie kicker is perfect so far this season, even if he’s only had the chance to kick two field goals. What he hasn’t had to deal with yet is kicking in bad weather and by all accounts that’s what he will have to work with Sunday afternoon in Philadelphia. Showers are in the forecast right up until kickoff and that has the potential to destroy the kicking game for both teams.
Eagles kicker David Akers has proven he can deliver with less than perfect field conditions. Can Succop do the same thing this early in his career? If the Chiefs plan on playing another close ball game, finding out if he can will determine the game.
Offense: Michael Vick
I don’t know if you’ve heard or not, but the Eagles will be debuting a new quarterback tomorrow. I don’t know that anyone expects Vick to play to his Pro Bowl level of years past, but to be fair does anyone really know what to expect?
The only thing we know is that Vick will play. The number of snaps will obviously depend on his comfort level and the score of the game, but I would put his number of snaps around 15. Philadelphia had 81 offensive plays last week so 15 might seem like a small number, but when Vick is on the field the defense has to be prepared for anything.
All eyes will be squarely on Vick all day, even when he’s on the sidelines.
Defense: Trent Cole
If the Chiefs plan on keeping Matt Cassel upright, they will have to get Cole blocked. The fifth year veteran has a sack in each of the Eagles first two games and leads the team in tackles. Branden Albert has continued to progress over the past two seasons, but hopefully Todd Haley realizes that he will need help to keep Cole in check. With or without help, the matchup between Albert and Cole should be fun to watch.
Special Teams: Ellis Hobbs
The Eagles have an impressive stable of returners with Hobbs and DeSean Jackson. With Jackson fighting off an injury, that means Hobbs is the man to watch for Philadelphia. He already has a 63 yard return this season and has taken at least one for over 90 yards each of the previous three years.
In order to win in Philadelphia, Kansas City will have to play a great all around game and that will no doubt include keeping Hobbs under control on kickoffs.