COMMENTARY | Much of the focus put on Thursday night's matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles will be the return of Andy Reid, who was the head coach in Philly before being let go this past offseason.
Reid led the Eagles to 130 victories, five NFC title games and one Super Bowl during his 14 seasons with the organization. But his focus is now on leading Kansas City to a win over his former team, rather than being caught up in reminiscing about his time in Philadelphia.
The Eagles are a much different team under new head coach Chip Kelly, so leaning on his internal knowledge of the organization might prove fruitless for Reid in this game. Instead, Kansas City will have to get back to basics in stopping Philly's new high-powered offense.
Here are three keys for the Chiefs against Michael Vick and the Eagles offense on Thursday night.
Keep Action in Front of the Defender
While it may prove to be difficult with the Eagles having a new overwhelming offense and the Chiefs not knowing what to expect, the key for Kansas City defenders will be to keep the action in front of them as much as possible. Whether it is the ball-carrier, receivers running routes or taking on blockers to free up other players, it is crucial to mitigate the big play against Philadelphia this week.
The Eagles are stacked with playmakers -- even with Jeremy Maclin not in the lineup -- and lean on spreading the field (both in the passing and running game) to keep the opposition stretched out and guessing as to what is coming next.
To dictate the flow of the game early on, Kansas City might play more of a bend-don't-break style of defense until seeing exactly what the Eagles are capable of on offense.
Be Physical with DeSean Jackson
There may not be a bigger home run threat at wide receiver in the entire league than DeSean Jackson. The sixth-year wideout has averaged 17.5 yards per reception throughout his career, and has had at least a 60-yard touchdown reception in each season he has played in the NFL.
So far in 2013, Jackson has tallied 16 catches for 297 yards and two scores through two games -- including his nine-catch, 192-yard and one-touchdown effort in a loss to the San Diego Chargers last week.
While it is tough to dictate Jackson's involvement within the Eagles new offense just yet, Kansas City must slow him down off the line to prevent another big outing.
Jackson's small frame (6-foot and 180 pounds) does not receive contact very well, so the Chiefs should be as physical as possible with Philly's biggest pass-catching threat. This will rattle the wideout and also disrupt the timing of his routes.
Dictate Michael Vick's Pocket
When healthy, Michael Vick is one of the most explosive players in the entire league…and he just happens to play the quarterback position, making him that much more dangerous on the football field.
The key to stopping Vick, however, is dictating his footwork and not allowing him to break contain. Dontari Poe will be the key for the Chiefs to make the initial push in the middle, which will allow the rest of the Chiefs' defensive front to force Vick's hand.
Philadelphia's new offense has made Vick look unstoppable, but Kansas City's defense has been one of league's best two weeks into the season as well. If the quarterback is able to control the flow of the game like he has in previous weeks, it will be interesting to see just how good the Chiefs defense really is.
Jeremy Sickel has successfully created and operated numerous websites. His work can be read on Yahoo and Bleacher Report, and he has also appeared on various podcasts and sports talk shows around the country. Interact with Jeremy on Twitter @JeremySickel
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