If you love the idea of Chip Kelly looking like an ass (and I know I do), then you’ll want to tune in to the Week 14 showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Philadelphia Eagles. While these teams are on the periphery of the playoff conversation, LeSean McCoy returning to Philly to face his former team is a matchup that’s just too juicy to not check out.
Kicking off his 2015 offseason of madness, Kelly sent McCoy to the Buffalo Bills in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. While both players have missed time to injury, it appears the Bills came out on top of that exchange. Not only has McCoy totaled 929 combined yards and five touchdowns in nine games, but he’s helped Buffalo rank top-five in the NFL in rushing.
The top of the league in rushing used to be a spot Kelly’s offense occupied: the Eagles were first in 2013 and ninth in 2014 (and finished top-five in scoring both years). Now, the Eagles rank a respectable 13th in rushing, but are 20th in the league in points per game. Their big free agent acquisition, running back DeMarco Murray, has been a huge disappointment, averaging just 3.5 yards per carry.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be a surprise; McCoy was more tailored to Kelly’s “system” as an agile back who is comfortable going sideline to sideline. After all, his twitter handle is “CutonDime25.” Murray is more of a downhill runner who goes through tacklers rather than around. And it hasn’t worked out well in this new offense: although little has.
Whoever has been under center for the Eagles, be it Sam Bradford or Mark Sanchez, hasn’t been able to move the ball with any consistency. When they holding the ball too long and taking sacks, they’re throwing costly interceptions.
Of late, the defense has been just as embarrassing. Their strength early in the year was generating takeaways, but that well has dried up since the bye week. The Eagles have allowed 45 points as many times as they’ve taken the ball away in their last four games: twice.
Kelly insists he won’t be running back to college after this season, but unless Philly shows improvement down the stretch, the decision may not be his to make.
Against Buffalo, Kelly will be facing a fast team with a strong run game and a high-percentage passing attack: basically everything Chip wanted in his offense. The Bills also have a solid D, even if they haven’t played up to the standard many expected of new head coach Rex Ryan.
In this matchup of coaches who have underwhelmed, Buffalo has the better roster. As long as they’re somewhat healthy, they’ll likely be the better play come next weekend.
Straight-up pick: Bills.
(Photo credit: Keith Allison (Originally uploaded to Flickr)[https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/].)