Tuesday, September 17, 2013

NFL Week 3: Chiefs vs Eagles Picks & Predictions for Thursday Night Football

Kansas City Chiefs vs Philadelphia Eagles: Picks, Predictions, and More...

The Eagles are 3 point favorites at home against the Chiefs, with the total set at 49.5.

By: MaChez, TSZ Expert

Uh oh. Guess what day it is?!  Guess. What. Day. It. Is. Yep, that’s right. It’s hump day.  As of 10am this morning we’ve crossed that proverbial hump and are closer to the start of Week 3 than we are to the end of Week 2.  Finally...those 34.5 hours were tough. 

Starting our weekend off tomorrow night, we have the long awaited return of the Andy “The Walrus” Reid to Philadelphia.  As pointed out in the intriguing Tenfascinating walrus/Andy Reid facts, “Walrus whiskers are not hairs. They are sensitive, tactile organs. Andy Reid whiskers are also sensitive, and it hurts him when you make fun of him on Twitter.”  What does that have to do with this week’s match-up against the Eagles? Nothing, so let’s move on to something that does.


Chip Kelly has led the Eagles to a 1-1 start and all signs points to his offensive style working in the NFL.  Michael Vick looks better than ever (301 YPG), LeSean McCoy has averaged over five yards per carry, and the offense is averaging 477 yards and 31.5 points per game.  Unfortunately, Kelly forgot the Eagles aren’t playing the likes of Fresno State and every second he shaves off the offense is a second he’s giving to the NFL offense he’s facing.  San Diego shined a glaring light on that issue last week when they ran 21 more plays than the Eagles and had a time of possession (TOP) of 40 minutes.  The offense gets all the publicity but the fact that the Eagles were still in a game with such lopsided TOP says a lot about the defense.


Down in Kansas City, Andy Reid has led the Chiefs to a 2-0 record with wins against Jacksonville and Dallas.  Obviously Jacksonville doesn’t count and Dallas was a one point win at home.  The Chiefs are winning in a completely different way than the Eagles - playing traditional, boring offense and shutting down teams on defense for 248 yards (3rd) and 9 points (2nd) per game and a league leading 3.8 yards per play.  On offense they’ve been what you would expect from an offense led by Alex Smith: 26th in yards per game, 16th in points per game, etc, etc.  So far their longest play is 31 yards.  Oh how I wish I could watch that every week...

The Spread

Vegas has set the line at -3 favoring Philly and the total at 49.5.  I don’t think betting trends really apply here with each team having new coaches and playing at the same time last week.  What I think this really comes down  to is tempo of play.

In last week’s game, the Eagles showed just how dangerous their offense could be, putting up 1.52 points per minute of possession (PPM) while giving up 0.82 PPM on defense against the Chargers.  On average, the Eagles put up 1.21 PPM (3rd in the NFL) while the Chiefs only put up an inflated (because of the JAC game) 0.76 PPM.  For comparison, SD puts up 0.95 PPM and WAS puts up 0.86. 

As San Diego proved in Week 2, if you’re going to win against Philadelphia, it’s going to have to be in a shootout, and the Chiefs just don’t have the firepower to do so.  If the Eagles score at their average rate (1.21 PPM) and the Chiefs do the same (0.76 PPM), the Eagles would only need 25 minutes and 11 seconds of offense to win by 4 and cover the spread.  So far they’ve averaged 26:11 TOP, even with a crazy low 19 minutes last week. 

I could go on and on with different stats and PPM scenarios, but I think you get the point I‘m trying to make: Eagles = Fast. Chiefs don‘t.  Philly’s quick offense will force the Chiefs to throw (like WAS and SD had to) and do you really see Alex Smith, the guy who put up less yards this season than Vick put up last week alone, doing anything significant offensively?  

The Chiefs are being overvalued because of their 2-0 record and the Eagles are being undervalued because of their loss and what appears to be but is not a time of possession problem.  The Eagles are also at home during Prime Time and better conditioned physically to handle the short week. Chip Kelly won’t make the same clock management mistake two weeks in a row and the Eagles will beat the Chiefs handily.

Prediction:   PHILADELPHIA EAGLES (-3) over Kansas City Chiefs   
                    Under 49.5


  1. Machez.

    Good analysis and commentary. Sure made me think about my pick for tomorrow night and the reasoning behind PPM. But I will agree on only two points you have made...home team on a Thursday game and Alex Smith most likely will NOT be able to put up big numbers. But I will disagree on two points that I think are more indicative of how the game will go. First, the eagles data is worthless from game one...Wash sucks on both defense and offense right now. They had no game plan and just played like they thought they were more talented and a better team so they should win. Once they started to strategize, the game got closer. Second, if Coach McCoy can implement a game management strategy that worked for the win, Coach Andy Ried will most definitely be able to. Too much at stake on this game for him to lose because of something that coaching can directly determine the outcome. Alex Smith can manage a clock and efficiently get first downs...that he is good at. The KC defense is much better than San Deigo (not even comparable).

    Therefore, if Jamal Charles can stay healthy, Chiefs win by a FG.

    Can't wait to see how this plays out.
    Go Broncos!

  2. Texas Todd,

    Thanks for the feedback - great to see someone's actually reading these. I agree with you that Andy Reid will definitely be an x-factor. I also agree that like the Chiefs first game against JAC, WAS shouldn't count for much. That being said, the Eagles played better against SD in PPM - 1.52 PPM on offense compared to 1.01, and 0.82 PPM on defense compared to 0.98. Including stats from Week 1 actually hurt the Eagles and helped the Chiefs. If you consider offensive PPM just from Week 2, the Eagles would only need 17 minutes of offense to cover against KC.

    This all being said, I can see the obvious pitfalls of using past PPM and realize it's not the most accurate way to predict the outcome of a game. Obviously if the Chiefs are a much better D, the Eagles aren't going to score as quickly, and I could come up with several other scenarios like that that change what PPMs you use in the calculation. Finding interesting stat lines is fun though and in all honesty you can always find at least one to support the side you're backing (i.e. if I had used the Defensive PPM stats instead of Offensive, the Eagles would have needed a lot longer to cover and win...)

    Also helping out my pick, which I'll admit I didn't know before, is Brandon Flowers possibly sitting due to injury and making it a lot easier on PHI passing game. Crossing my fingers :)

    Are your Broncos going to cover against OAK? With 20+ margins of victories in week 1 and 2, you'd think yes but I'm a little nervous to put any confidence on it.


  3. MaChez,

    As I said before, good analysis and commentary. I too wonder who is really reading but I am sure there are readers....just got to get them comfortable posting comments to begin the discussions about our predictions. I love the banter of the reasoning gamblers, explaining why they believe what they do. One thing is for sure, there are a ton of stats available to help anyones cause in arguing their certain winner!!! LOL

    In the end, the line indicates that vegas thinks these teams are even, giving the home team a 3 point advantage. If it goes up or down just depends on what the gambling public thinks. I, personally, always bank on the team with the best defense between two teams. A short week of prep and a well conditioned Eagles offense has a good chance of spelling disaster for KC. I really hope the Eagles win but I just think KC's defense will give the new college prototype offense more fits than he is ready for.

    I emailed Vinny earlier and told him that early stats are not really usable. After four games, stats really matter because everyone has seen at least one tough defense and one tough offense, and the opposite, terrible offenses and defenses. Early in the season it is all about personnel matchups and if Flowers in out, your prediction looks good. I was unaware of that information.

    I want to say, I enjoy the heck out of talking football and analyzing stats with serious fans and gamblers. Good Stuff. Glad I came across TSZ and Vinny/Marco.

    As to the Broncos covering, the Raiders will play well just because it's such a rivalry and division game. But in the end, their defense will not keep the Broncos under 4 tds and their offense will struggle. Pryor has already thrown 6 interceptions....that spells trouble. Peyton is on a mission and he is the best regular season qb ever! Don't look for a let down this week....not with a game vs. the worst team they have played so far.

    Just four more games and Von Miller will be back...maybe he can play left tackle now that Clady is

    Good blogging with you, MaChez.

    Go Broncos!
    Texas Todd

    1. Hey you guys,

      Nobody told me about the Expert's Meeting/Novel Writing contest. You know how I hate to be left out of things.

      I think I'm going to try some kind of giveaway to motivate comments. I have a lot of crap lying around my house.

      BNB4B told me he was going to be busy, but where's Wanna Be Ballers? Where's Dallas? Where's Gabrielle? Where's Jet Joe and DrFlo, and - of course - our old friend Row...007. Wanted to try a little Dr. Seuss out. And what about Luis - buddy it looks like I'm going to owe you money for fantasy baseball, so come on by.


  4. Definitely agree with you Todd, debating sports with serious fans is great and the best way to learn the game. I'd take and back any team just to learn all the reasons I'm wrong. I'd normally trust your opinion here (see your AFC West preview) but I can't ditch my public prediction in public! This novel writing contest has gotten me a lot more excited about tomorrow's game.

    Thanks for the tip on picking the better defenses - I need it (see your record, see mine). Definitely makes sense, especially this early in the season.

    Good luck to the Broncos, I think they'll cover as well. I'm interested to see what kind of crazy year Peyton's going to have this season and don't want a team like the Raiders to interrupt it.