Arguably, the most exciting Monday Night Football matchup we’ve gotten all season has arrived, with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Philadelphia Eagles in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. Both teams come into this showdown sitting atop their respective divisions and coming off a bye week, so they have had plenty of time to prepare and listen to all the narratives the media has been spinning about the game, most of which do not pertain to the actual game.
There is a lot to watch for in this matchup, but I’ll be keeping my eyes on two Chiefs players not named Travis Kelce that I think the team could lean on heavily tonight.
The last time we saw the Kansas City Chiefs in action, they were grinding out a win in Europe over the Miami Dolphins. By beating the Dolphins 21-14, Kansas City was able to bounce back from their first divisional loss in what felt like years the week prior. While they were able to pick up their seventh win of the season, the Chiefs finished the game with a (-1.10) EPA on offense, which marked the second straight game in which their offense posted a negative EPA.
Over their last two games, the Chiefs offense has not looked like the one we have all grown accustomed to since Mahomes took over at quarterback. Andy Reid’s team finished under 300 yards in both those games, which they had not done through the first seven games of the year.
While the Chiefs are certainly a pass-first offense, ranking 6th in pass attempts per game, it certainly hasn’t helped that they have not finished a game with over 100 rushing yards since week four. Offensively, there might be some areas they are still trying to address, but they’ve been able to do so without stacking losses since their defense has played exceptionally well (3rd in defensive DVOA).
The Chiefs defense has a tall task tonight with the Eagles' offense. Behind Jalen Hurts and his 22 total touchdowns, Philadelphia’s offense has managed a (11.06) EPA or higher in seven of their nine games this season.
In their last three games heading into the bye week, Philadelphia managed 28 or more points across all three wins, with two coming against probable playoff teams. The Eagles offense will be missing a key piece tonight in Dallas Goedert, who was injured in week nine, but luckily for Hurts, he has a wideout in AJ Brown, who has already eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark this season.
There has been a lot of talk this season surrounding Patrick Mahomes and his chemistry with his wide receivers. He’ll always have Travis Kelce to lean on, but recently, the Chiefs signal-caller has been putting the ball into the hands of his rookie wideout Rashee Rice. With a big game on deck tonight, I’ll be taking Rice to go over his receiving yards total of 43.5 at (-115).
Rice is averaging 42 yards per game this season and has exceeded tonight’s total in three of his last four games. According to FantasyPros, the rookie has a 50.3% route run rate and 15.2% first-read share since week six, so the team is becoming increasingly more trusting of him.
Philadelphia’s defense runs a steady mix of zone and man coverage, per PFF, but when they're in zone, Rice should be able to make his most significant impact. Rice has the most receiving yards against zone coverage out of any of the wideouts on the team, and according to PFF, the Eagles have a 15% explosive play rate in zone coverage. With his volume in terms of routes run and target share increasing, I think Rice could play a big factor in tonight’s game.
Heading from the Chiefs receiving corp to their backfield, I’ll be taking Isiah Pacheco to go over 12.5 rushing attempts at (-114). The second-year back out of Rutgers is averaging 13.7 attempts per game and is currently 14th in the league in opportunity share and 16th in weighted opportunities, per FantasyPros. As I mentioned before, Kansas City wants the ball in Mahomes' hands, but Pacheco has exceeded this total in seven of his ten games this season.
Pacheco is the primary back for Andy Reid’s offense, and even though they are averaging 25.1 rush attempts per game, Pacheco is getting a large portion of them. Philadelphia is allowing the 6th highest explosive run rate since week five, per FantasyPros, so with their recent struggles and the Chiefs' need to establish a run game, I like Pacheco to a least get his average amount of carries.
Rashee Rice Over 43.5 Rec Yards (-115) on BetMGM
Isiah Pacheco Over 12.5 Rush Attempts (-114) on FanDuel