Philadelphia Eagles (0-1) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-0)
The Chiefs are one of the teams I underestimated going into the season. I knew they got significantly better down the stretch last season when Justin Houston returned from injury and talented rookies Chris Jones and Tyreek Hill started seeing more playing time, but their victory over the Patriots showed just how much better, especially when you add impressive 3rd round rookie Kareem Hunt into the mix. However, while the Chiefs got the win, they lost something more important when safety Eric Berry tore his achilles in the 4th quarter, ending his season.
Berry is one of the top safeties in the league and was having the game of his life covering Rob Gronkowski before the injury, so that’s a crushing blow for this defense. Getting the upset win was nice, but Berry’s absence is likely to cost them more than a win the rest of the way and puts a damper on the outlook on this whole team. However, if you ask the casual betting public, the only thing that was important was the win, as they are still on the Chiefs despite the fact that this line has actually shifted from -4 in favor of the Chiefs over the Eagles on the early line last week to -5 this week. The line has even moved up to 5.5 and 6 in some places.
That line shift occurred not only in spite of the Berry injury, but also in spite of the Eagles having an impressive week 1 as well, winning by double digits on the road against a capable Redskins team. The Eagles were near the top of my underrated teams list coming into the season, with Carson Wentz going into his 2nd year in the league, stud right tackle Lane Johnson no longer suspended (they went 5-1 with him and 2-8 without him last season), and the Eagles’ record in close games likely to regress to the mean (1-6 in games decided by a touchdown or less last season). They look good so far and should compete for the NFC East with the Cowboys. They lost cornerback Ronald Darby for 4-6 weeks with a dislocated ankle, which hurts because the recently acquired ex-Bill was their top cornerback, but that’s not nearly as big of a loss as Berry.
Even if the Chiefs still had Berry, I’d say these two teams were about even and this line should be around 3 in favor of the hometown Chiefs. Without Berry, this should be closer to 1 or a pick ‘em, so we’re getting a lot of line value with the Eagles. I locked this in at 5 earlier in the week, but you can get it at 6 now in some places. Either way, we’re getting a ton of value with the visiting team here and the Eagles are my Pick of the Week. There is great value with the money line too, as the Eagles are a 2:1 underdog.
Philadelphia Eagles 24 Kansas City Chiefs 23 Upset Pick +200
Pick against the spread: Philadelphia +5
Confidence: Pick of the Week