Week 11 will close out with a Super Bowl LVII rematch between the Kansas City Chiefs and Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football. Both teams are coming off a bye week and are each the top seed in the AFC and NFC respectively.
Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was given the tall task of slowing down Philadelphia’s offense in the Super Bowl back in February and told reporters on Friday that he feels Monday’s meeting will present many of the same trials as before.
“It was a challenge when we played them 10 months ago and it hasn’t gotten any easier,” Spagnuolo began. “It all begins with the quarterback [Jalen Hurts]. I have a lot of respect for this quarterback, certainly after playing him and even before that.”
Spagnuolo went in-depth on what makes Hurts such a dangerous threat to defend against, noting the savvy that the Eagles’ signal-caller has demonstrated since taking over under center full-time in Philadelphia back in 2021.
“He’s one of those quarterbacks to me that can beat you with his brain, he can beat you with his legs, and he can beat you with his arm,” Spagnuolo explained. “That’s a pretty dynamic threesome for a quarterback to have because not all of them can do that. He’s been in the system a long time, they do the right things with him – he gets them in and out of plays, he can get out of a run play and throw it with the RPO game – he does it all.”
Long gains and time of possession were something that allowed the Eagles to control most of that Super Bowl matchup. Spagnuolo believes it is crucial that the defense limits those things in this upcoming game.
“We are going to be totally attuned to [the wide receivers] because we feel like the explosive plays bit us the last time we played them,” Spagnuolo said. “We have to eliminate those, try to make them earn it a little bit. The other thing that happened, that we all remember is they had the ball for a long time. We began this week with first and second downs.
“To end up in those shorter third downs are really tough against this team – they’ll run it on a third-and-seven, then go for it on fourth down – they keep you on your toes. We feel like the first and second downs are key downs for us in this game.”
Kansas City’s secondary has been exceptional this season, and Spagnuolo, rightfully so, believes that unit must be prepared against Philadelphia’s passing attack.
“In most of those, I’m going to give [L’Jarius Sneed] a lot of credit, in a lot of those games we did travel him [against the opposing team’s WR1] and if he didn’t end up on him, usually Trent [McDuffie] did,” Spagnuolo explained. “Whether we will be able to do that or not with this team remains to be seen because [DeVonta] Smith is a pretty good wideout too. This is a team that really has two dynamic wideouts, so we will be a little bit careful either way.”
This game may be the toughest game so far for the Chiefs this season and may be the most difficult game remaining on their schedule. The Eagles possess one of the most complete and deepest rosters in the NFL. If Kansas City’s offense continues to struggle, the defense will be heavily leaned on, but that may not be the best winning formula in a potential shootout.