Leading up to the Philadelphia Eagles match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs in Arizona, Sports Talk Philly and Eagledelphia will compare the personnel of the two teams each day until gameday is here.
In this edition of our week-long comparison, we will look at the defensive backs that the Eagles and Chiefs will field for the big game.
Philadelphia DBs | Darius Slay, James Bradberry, Avonte Maddox, Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Marcus Epps, Reed Blankenship, Josiah Scott, Zech McPhearson, K’Von Wallace, Josh Jobe
The same things that can be said about the Eagles defensive lineman can also be said about their backs: throw in some offseason additions with the veterans and you have a great combo. James Bradberry and Chauncey Gardner-Johnson have been particularly fun to watch.
Bradberry has three interceptions and one for a touchdown, 44 combined tackles and two tackles for loss. Gardner-Johnson has had six interceptions, one sack, 67 combined tackles, five tackles for loss and two quarterbacks hits. What they’ve been able to do on the field this season helped the Eagles defense thrive as a whole.
It hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows for the Eagles defensive backs. Some key veterans haven’t had a lot of big moments this year as they usually might. Josiah Scott has also been frustrating to watch.
The Eagles have made an adjustment to move Chauncey Gardner-Johnson into the slot to replace Avonte Maddox during his absence. This has kept Scott off the field and instead put breakout safety Reed Blankenship on the field, who has served the team well – to a stronger extent than Scott had been able to.
The Eagles got Avonte Maddox back in the NFC Championship game, so that would theoretically give the Eagles their best defensive backfield they’ve had since week eight. That group gave up 35 points (largely due to rushing) in week one against Detroit, but otherwise has not allowed more than 17 points in a game they’ve all started, regardless of if a player left mid-game or not.
Kansas City DBs | Trent McDuffie, L’Jarius Sneed, Jaylen Watson, Justin Reid, Juan Thornhill, Joshua Williams, Deon Bush, Nazeeh Johnson, Bryan Cook
The Kansas City Chiefs defense quietly had a good postseason, even if it wasn’t always a dominating performance. The Chiefs’ D gave up an average of 21.71 points per game (and interestingly, the Eagles scored an average of 28.1 points per game).
There have been, however, playmakers in the Chiefs defensive backfield during their playoff run. Justin Reid, Jaylen Watson and Trent McDuffie put up consistent numbers against the Jaguars and Bengals, just good enough to get the job done against the opposing offenses and create turnovers.
Reid had 12 tackles and one assist and Trent McDuffie had nine tackles and one assist. The player to watch out for is Watson, who had seven tackles and two interceptions – one in each game.
The Eagles secondary is a little more dominating and showed continuously their ability to get at the quarterback. A defense that had a hot-start in September and early October with creating turnovers and takeaways – something that will be crucial to their success against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.