Biffs take on Week 3’s Thursday night game: Kansas City at Philadelphia
Eagles’ offense vs. Chiefs defense:
Eagles offensive rankings: 2nd overall; 11th pass, 2nd rush. Chiefs defense: 3rd overall; 7th pass, 2nd rush. This will be a delicious early-season clash between the high-faulting’ Chip Kelly Philadelphia O, and Andy Reid’s stellar-to-date Kansas City D. I’d still start RB LeSean McCoy at home tonight, but don’t set expectations sky-high against that 2nd-ranked Chiefs run defense. I’m much higher on WR DeSean Jackson, who’s experience a rebirth of stardom. I’ll be surprised if he doesn’t exceed 100 yards and a score tonight.
QB Michael Vick has been getting dinged quite a bit, but so far it’s not affected his passing. Dude is completing more than 62% of his passes with 4 TDs and nary an interception yet. TE Brent Celek had no catches and just one target last week, so be warned. Offensive role players like Bryce Brown, Riley Cooper, and Jason Avant haven’t been huge weapons to date and should be viewed as high-risk, low-reward starts. The Chiefs defense is averaging two takeaways a game to go with its haughty statistical rankings.
Chiefs offense vs. Eagles defense:
Chiefs offense: 26th overall; 27th pass, 8th rush. Eagles defense: 30th overall; 31st pass, 19th rush. Philly’s D must be exhausted from practicing against Kelly’s offense all week. The Eagles are next-to-last in pass defense, which makes Alex Smith a decent start if you’re a casserole of nonsense at QB. Smith was 23-of-36 for 223, 2 TDs and no picks vs. the Cowboys last week. WR Dwayne Bowe hauled in his first TD of the season last Sunday, and is a solid start again Thursday night. TE Anthony Fasano is doubtful for the game, however, and the Chiefs do not have a reliable backup TE that I’d give the thumbs-up to starting in place of him.
Jamaal Charles and his quadriceps boo-boo are still healing, and his numbers to date (32-132-1) reflect that. However, he’s also caught 11 balls for 71 yards and another score, which averages out to 100 total yards and one trip to paydirt per game. Start him against Philly’s 19-ranked run D.
Misc: Don’t expect the Chiefs to give K Ryan Succop any tries from 50 or beyond. He’s missed his only attempt so far this year, and Reid won’t risk giving up the field position on the road unless it’s for a game-winner. Eagles K Alex Henery is 4-for-5 so far this year, missing once from 40-49. He has not attempted a 50-yarder yet this year.
As far as season-openers go, tonight’s Baltimore-Denver pop-topper is hard to beat. The defending champs. Last year’s epic playoff game. Joe Flacco and his golden fleece of a contract. Peyton Manning and his quest to win it all one last time. Elvis Dumervil on the other sideline. Exit Anquan Boldin, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Dennis Pitta, and Von Miller. Enter Wes Welker and Montee Ball.
Most fantasy owners holding Broncos and Ravens other than Manning and his receivers (Thomas, Decker, Welker) are feeling some trepidation tonight. Should I start Torrey Smith? What about Ball? Will Ray Rice get lost in a pass-happy evening? Is BAL kicker Justin Tucker going to post a solid number? In the words of Jim Carrey as the Riddler, too many questions….
Fellow owners: Is there anything about tonight’s opener that feels like a low-scoring game? The bookies aren’t buying it. The over-under tonight is between 48.5 to 49.0, which is a notably higher O/U than the NFL average. HOWEVER, in season-openers since 2007, the UNDER has prevailed all but one time, suggesting that both clubs will lock into a scrum.
I’m not buying it. There’s too much octane on each sideline. I’m taking the OVER, and I’m for playing any studs you own on either team. The only selection that gives me even a moment of pause is the Ravens’ D – on the road, without last year’s pulses, etc. If you’ve got a better defense, start that in Week 1. Otherwise, as Bob Knight once infamously said, sit back and enjoy it!