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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 7:00 PM

You know all the TV networks wanted this matchup. But, the league saved the game for its own Thursday Night Football package…the Kansas City Chiefs visit the Philadelphia Eagles as Andy Reid makes a dramatic return to face his former team.

So far, Reid has the bigger smile. His Chiefs are undefeated and have shown dramatic improvement since last season. They are no longer a league doormat trying to position themselves for a great draft pick. They are a legitimate Wildcard threat in a weakened AFC that may be even softer this year with the declines shown so far by Baltimore and Pittsburgh, and arguably even New England and Houston. Philadelphia hasn’t quite matched that start…but the city is excited about the dynamic new offensive attack that’s going to put on quite a show as long as everyone stays healthy.

A few quick notes about the game…

 

Won-Lost Records (opponents so far)

Kansas City: 2-0 (Jacksonville and Dallas)

Philadelphia: 1-1 (Washington and San Diego)

Everybody is going to beat Jacksonville, so the Chiefs didn’t really prove anything there. Taking out Dallas was more impressive. It’s far from a sure thing that a 2-0 start gets you into the playoffs. But, the Chiefs sure have the look of at least a .500 type team. In a soft conference, that can yield a 9-7 or even 10-6 record if you catch some breaks. If the Chiefs win in Philly, we’ll have to treat them as a much more serious playoff threat.

Philadelphia played a fantastic first half at Washington. They haven’t exactly sparkled since then. The home loss to San Diego was a stunner, as the Eagles were favorites of seven or more depending on when you bet. It’s very early in the season, so it’s hard to know if Washington and San Diego is a tough draw, or a very easy draw. Washington’s been awful so far. San Diego’s impressed. For now, the Eagles are certainly in playoff discussions. Note that their 1-1 start has them tied for first place in the NFC East…a division where 8-8 or 9-7 might be enough to grab an automatic playoff berth.

 

Yards-Per-Play to Date

Kansas City: 4.8 on offense, 3.8 on defense

Philadelphia: 7.0 on offense, 6.2 on defense

We won’t run many stats in our Week Three previews here in the NOTEBOOK. We’re right in the window on the calendar where 2012 is old news, but 2013 represents too small of a sample size. It’s always important to monitor yards-per-play on a game-by-game basis…so we will take a look at those numbers.

Great defense so far from the Chiefs, though shutting down Jacksonville is easy at the moment. Philadelphia is showing early signs of a revolutionary offense with that 7.0 mark. That pretty much sums up the storyline for Thursday. The promising Kansas City defense will provide a true test for this impressive Philadelphia offense. And, whoever wins THAT battle will be best positioned to make a serious playoff run.  

 

Market Performance

Kansas City: 1-1 ATS, with the victory vs. Dallas being a non-cover

Philadelphia: 1-1 ATS, with both missing the market by more than a TD

Similar stories here…as both teams impressed the market in Week One, only to create an overreaction that went too far the next week. Kansas City didn’t play like they should have been a full 3-point favorite over Dallas, even if they did eventually win the game. Philadelphia was nip-and-tuck all day with San Diego even though they were laying over a touchdown much of the week. Oddsmakers can really only guess right now, which puts smart handicappers in a position of strength.

 

Current Line: Philadelphia by 3, total 51

 

Vegas has basically decided these teams are dead even, with home field advantage getting its usual three points of value. Do YOU believe the teams are even? Is Philadelphia a pretender whose defense won’t be able to protect favorite prices? Can you trust Alex Smith to hang tough in a shootout if this starts to turn into a replay of Chargers/Eagles from last week?

JIM HURLEY has some very strong ideas about those questions, and the overall betting potential of tonight’s card (which also includes Clemson/NC State in the colleges plus Pennant Race baseball). You can take advantage of his more than 25 years of handicapping expertise right here at the website with your credit card. Check out game day offers and value priced seasonal packages. If you have any questions, call our handicapping office before kickoff at 1-888-777-4155.

Back with you Friday to continue our big game previews. The remaining schedule this weekend:

Friday: Michigan State at Notre Dame in college football (kickoff midday Saturday)

Saturday: Arizona State at Stanford in the week’s top prime time game

Sunday: Chicago at Pittsburgh in the NFL on NBC prime time

Monday: Oakland at Denver in the NFL on ESPN prime time

Another huge football weekend has arrived. Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’s NETWORK!

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