The schedule makers picked a doozy to close out Week 11 and whet fans' appetites three days ahead of Thanksgiving -- although Eagles versus Chiefs is far more a main course than a starter.
When Kansas City (7-2) plays host to Philadelphia (8-1) on Monday, it will mark the seventh regular-season matchup between the previous year's Super Bowl participants in NFL history. The Super Bowl winners hold a 5-1 advantage in those rematches, a lopsided gap in the Chiefs' favor.
Monday's showdown also represents the winningest season-after Super Bowl rematch the league has ever seen. Philly and K.C.'s combined .833 winning percentage trumps the 1979 Steelers and Cowboys, who had a combined .813 winning percentage at the time of their meeting, per NFL Research.
But there's more at stake than simply an encore to Super Bowl LVII.
These teams both lead their respective conferences and have sights set on a No. 1 seed.
The Chiefs, who won the previous meeting, 38-35, possess the best-ranked defense they've had in a decade -- but they're not the same offensive world beaters the NFL has become accustomed to seeing during the Patrick Mahomes era.
Having never finished worse than sixth in scoring with Mahomes at the helm, Kansas City emerges from its Week 10 bye ranked 13th, perilously close to league average.
If they hope to host an NFL-record sixth straight AFC Championship Game come January, now is the time for the Chiefs to begin shifting into high gear.
Meanwhile, the Eagles have enjoyed a top-three scoring offense for a second consecutive season and hold the NFL's best record, but their brutal post-bye schedule features five straight .500-or-better opponents who made the postseason last year. Keeping momentum is imperative.
Which team will capitalize to deliver a statement win in this Super Bowl rematch -- one that could very well serve as a preview of the next one to come?
Here are four things to watch for when the Eagles visit the Chiefs on Monday night:
- WHERE: GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium (Kansas City, Mo.)
- WHEN: 8:15 p.m. ET | ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, ESPN Deportes, NFL+
- What does Jalen Hurts have in store of an encore? Hurts did nearly everything in Super Bowl LVII except win. He tied the Super Bowl record for rushing touchdowns with three and set the record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 70. On top of that, Hurts threw for 304 yards and another score, becoming the first QB in Super Bowl history to lose after amassing 300-plus total yards and four-plus total touchdowns. He might find it difficult to near those numbers again Monday for a multitude of reasons. For one, this iteration of the Chiefs boasts a far more tenacious defense than the one nine months ago. Kansas City is allowing just 15.9 points per game. Led by George Karlaftis (six sacks), the Chiefs are tied for second in the league with 31 sacks, and they’re averaging 7.1 quarterback hits per game. Hurts is also running a touch less than last year. He’s averaging 35.1 rushing yards per game in 2023 compared to 50.6 in the 2022 regular season, and continuing his hot streak through the air -- eight TD throws in his past three games -- will be tested by Dallas Goedert’s absence due to a fractured forearm. A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith, who have combined for 109 catches, 1,538 yards and 10 touchdowns, will draw even greater defensive attention, and they can only pick up so much slack. Philly’s other WRs have combined for 12 catches, while the TE room outside Goedert has contributed two. More assets will need to step up to give Hurts the best chance at being his heroic self.
- Chiefs O seeks an end to its funk. Kansas City has managed just two offensive touchdowns in its past two games. The team is averaging 23.1 points, 368.7 total yards, 264.9 passing yards and 1.9 giveaways per game, all of which are its worst marks since Patrick Mahomes became starter in 2018, per NFL Research. The crux of the issue has been an undependable group of wide receivers failing to develop enough chemistry with the two-time Most Valuable Player. Rookie Rashee Rice has been the best of the bunch with 32 receptions for 378 yards and four touchdowns, but no other WR has collected more than 20 receptions or scored more than once. Not a single one of Mahomes' wideouts has managed a five-reception game yet this season. And even though Travis Kelce has had six such games already, the tight end is not immune to the ill effects of an uninspiring WR corps. He’s slumped along with them the past two outings, resulting in just nine catches for 72 yards during that span. Luckily for Kansas City, Philly’s secondary is vulnerable. It ranks 28th in the NFL in passing yards allowed. The Eagles are first against the run, though, so Mahomes, Kelce and Co. would benefit from snapping out of it rather than resorting to a slugfest for running lanes.
- Can Philadelphia get to Mahomes? The Eagles entered Super Bowl LVII needing just two sacks to tie the 1984 Bears’ single-season record for sacks (72). Instead, the Chiefs blanked them and went on to capture the Lombardi Trophy. Philadelphia isn’t on the same torrid pace it was then -- it is tied for the fifth-most sacks in the league with 30 -- but the defensive line is still plenty dangerous. As of Week 10, it ranks third with 154 QB pressures. That effort has been paced by Josh Sweat (50 pressures with 6.5 sacks) and Haason Reddick (43 with 7.5). Jalen Carter has been disruptive, as well, with 31 pressures, four sacks and an average pass rush get-off time of 0.82 seconds -- second only to the Chiefs’ Chris Jones (0.80) among defensive tackles, per Next Gen Stats. It’ll be difficult once again to get home against Kansas City, which has allowed a league-low 12 sacks, but pressure alone could change the trajectory of the game. Patrick Mahomes’ passer rating drops from 113.6 in a clean pocket to 49.4 under duress, and his five interceptions under pressure this season are tied for second-most.
- SB LVII storylines return. A couple of the same narratives were covered ad nauseam in the lead up to last season’s big game, but they still resonate. Andy Reid is inextricably linked to the Eagles after serving as the team’s head coach for 14 seasons from 1999-2012. He led the Eagles to four straight NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl appearance while racking up a franchise-record 130 wins. It’ll be up to Philadelphia head coach Nick Sirianni to stop Reid from going 5-0 against his former team. Since Sirianni took over in 2021, K.C. and Philly possess the league’s best records -- 33-10 and 31-12, respectively. Center Jason Kelce, one of the few holdovers from the Reid era along with Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox, will also suit up against his brother Travis once again. The two have more combined first-team All-Pro selections (nine) than any brother duo in NFL history. They've both put together illustrious careers, although Travis can hold a few things over his older brother. The tight end currently leads the Super Bowl ring count, 2-1. Also, just as the Eagles are winless against their former head coach, Jason is still in search of his first victory in this friendly sibling rivalry.