One more win and it’s off to the Super Bowl. The Chiefs are looking to reach the big game for the first time in 49 years. If they win, it will be the first time Kansas City will get to hoist the Lamar Hunt Trophy. Meanwhile, New England is playing in their eighth straight conference championship game this Sunday and looking to reach the Super Bowl for the third straight season. Let’s get started and take a look at the headlines for Sunday’s Chiefs-Patriots game.
The Way It Was Meant To Be
As mentioned before, the Patriots dynasty has continued to run for a long time. But the Chiefs are the new kids on the block. This matchup of the New England Empire versus the New Age Chiefs is how it should be in the conference championship game. You have the flashy new team determined to move on to the Super Bowl. Then, you have a team that is determined to continue its dominance and prove the so-called experts wrong that their dynasty is on its last leg. With that, something will give this Sunday.
No Place Like Home
Chiefs fans will undoubtedly be ready to lose their voices again this week, as Arrowhead Stadium should be rocking. The Chiefs truly have a home-field advantage. Yet, so do the Patriots. The home and road splits are jarring, so it is fortunate that for the Chiefs that this game is in Kansas City.
At home this season, the Chiefs hold a record of 8-1. KC has averaged 32.2 points scored at home as well, and have averaged just 17.4 points allowed. If Kansas City starts as fast as they have generally at home this season, then their pass rush and ability they’ve shown to generate long drives should set them up nicely.
For the Patriots, it’s been well stated throughout this week that all five of their losses came on the road this season. All five were to teams that missed the playoffs. The quarterbacks they faced in those losses, Blake Bortles, Matthew Stafford, Marcus Mariota, Ryan Tannehill and Ben Roethlisberger are not all bad quarterbacks. But, they have not been as good as Patrick Mahomes has been this season. In those five road losses this season, New England has allowed an average of 28.4 points. The Patriots have scored 16.6 points per game in those losses. That offensive output will not keep up with the Chiefs if Kansas City is on top of their game. New England has also lost three straight road conference championship games overall.
In most matchups, Bill Belichick has a good knack of dialing up game plans to take away an opponent’s best player. But who the Patriots try to smother out of the picture is an interesting question.
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Will it be Tyreek Hill? He had 7 receptions, 142 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns in the matchup in New England earlier this season. Overall in his career against the Patriots, Hill has 14 receptions, 275 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns.
If not Hill, maybe Travis Kelce? Kelce enjoyed a career in last week’s Divisional Round contest against the Colts, despite not reaching the end zone. If there’s one thing that Kelce does consistently, it’s getting open. Kelce can perform just the slightest wiggle at the top of his routes to create an abundance of separation.
No matter who it is, the Patriots may try to force Andy Reid to do something he doesn’t particularly love to do: run the ball. The running game did pretty well last week, but the Chiefs have stayed stagnant in consistently pounding the rock on the ground more than through the air.
Chasing Down The Goat
We love Mahomes, but Tom Brady is still the greatest quarterback I have ever seen play. Brady has a way of getting the ball out quickly if needed. But, generally, any kind of pressure can throw Brady off his game just enough, especially more in the last couple of years. The Chiefs did a great job last week winning in the trenches against a stout Colts offensive line. Justin Houston, Dee Ford and Chris Jones led the way and it was all about getting back to the simple fundamentals. If they do the same and more, things will be good for the Chiefs defense.
Matchup To Watch: Patriots Running Backs vs Chiefs Defense
The Patriots use their running backs in a variety of ways in a lot of different situations. James White catches a TON of balls out of the backfield every week. Rookie Sony Michel has the ability to fit into any hole and squeeze through for a big gain. Rex Burkhead has a non-stop motor. The Chiefs will have their hands full with all three guys being able to break any tackle. If the Chiefs don’t take any of these guys away early, the Patriots will be smart enough to keep employing them often during drives.
The Chiefs are 11-3-1 all-time in home games against the Patriots dating back to 1960. Yet, this will be the FIRST time the Chiefs will host the Patriots during the postseason.
Since 2006, the Patriots only played two, TWO, road playoff games outside of the Super Bowl. Both were losses to the Broncos.
Thanks for reading this preview. We now only have 3 games remaining this season. Will the Chiefs be playing in the Super Bowl? Find out with all of us by following along at Full Press Coverage. Enjoy the Conference Championship games.