On Sunday night in Foxboro, we are in store for one hell of a football game. The unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs travel to Foxboro to take on the 3-2 New England Patriots with an extra few days of rest coming off a Thursday night win at home over the Colts. Two high-powered offenses squaring off on primetime television. This is a huge swing for both teams. With a New England win, they’re off and running with a massive victory over a dynamic football team building momentum for weeks to come. With a loss, the Patriots are back to .500 with a few daunting weeks ahead. Kansas City would remain undefeated and have that one major win everyone can point to as well as potential home field advantage in the AFC as the season progresses. Time to dive right in.
Patriots Offense vs Chiefs defense:
I know I generally save Tom Brady and the Patriots preview for second, but this week in particular we already all have a good idea of what is going to happen. The Patriots offense is coming off back-to-back weeks of 38 point showings and now get a home matchup with the worst defense in the NFL. The Chiefs have been torched week after week and have two major x-factors who aren’t expected to hit the field on Sunday night in Justin Houston and Eric Berry. Houston, fortunately for New England is not expected to play on Sunday night with a hamstring issue that will give rookie LB Breeland Speaks an expanded role while Berry has not even practiced yet this season let alone played due to a “sore heel”. The Chiefs defense is giving up an NFL-worst 462 yards per game.
Now for New England, they have a full compliment of weapons to torment the Kansas City defense. As if Rob Gronkowski wasn’t enough of a matchup nightmare, you add in Josh Gordon who caught his first Patriots touchdown last Thursday on a jump-ball in double coverage, a healthy Julian Edelman, a two-headed monster at running back and Tom Brady and Josh McDaniels will have some fun on Sunday night. The Chiefs defense ranks 28th against the pass and 31st against the run thus far this year.
I can see Sony Michel playing a major role in this game pounding the football and helping to control the clock while keeping KC’s offense off the field. It has to be part of the game-plan like so many teams have done to NE in the past to come out with a win. Keep the Quarterback on the sideline and let him stew while your offense executes with long and painful touchdown drives. Quick scores are nice, but you don’t want to get into a college football type shootout against Mahomes with how their offense has been rolling. Gronk takes double coverage, Edelman and Hogan exploit the holes in the defense and James White continues his great season with at least another touchdown as their swiss-army knife. I don’t see how the Chiefs can stall this Patriots offense at home, on primetime television
Chiefs offense vs. Patriots Defense
This is the matchup everyone is keying on. If anyone is going to slow down Patrick Mahomes it’s gonna be Bill Belichick, right? Key on his strengths and take them away. Keep him in the pocket and take away one of his top weapons. Don’t let Travis Kelce torch your defense. That’s where Pat Chung comes in. As if a monster Tight End isn’t enough, add an explosive play-making receiver in Tyreke Hill then power running back Kareem Hunt, and the Patriots defense will have their hands full on Sunday night.
The Patriots defense has been much improved in recent weeks and I like their ability to hold Mahomes in check. Stephon Gillmore will lock down one side while Jason McCourty will continue to flourish opposite. Dont’a Hightower controlling the middle and I like the Patriots defenses chances of at least keeping this game from being an absolutely track-meet.
By my prediction below, you would think I have little to no faith in this defense with points allowed against, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The Chiefs offense is elite and it’s as much on the offense to control the clock and pace while keeping the defense fresh, as it is on New England’s defense to slow down Mahomes. I also have no faith in Andy Reid in the closing moments of the half and game to manage the clock with his head buried in the play sheet.
I still have the Chiefs putting up 30, but what’s not mentioned in the score is the typical bend, but don’t break drives we will see on Sunday night. That’s Patriots football. Force them to settle for 3 while your offense puts up 7. It’s going to be a close and tight one, but I don’t like Mahomes’ chances with Reid in a close game down to the wire opposite Brady & Belichick.
Prediction: Patriots 35, Chiefs 30