In a highly contested matchup, capitalizing on team strengths and winning crucial battles will be important. For the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots, their success comes from different avenues. Will Andy Reid be even more creative with play calling this week? What may Bill Belichick do to counteract those possible dazzling attempts. Now, let’s go ahead and list those possible answers and much more with our three keys to victory for each team.
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Kansas City- 3 Keys To Victory
1) Up The Ante
Was Reid playing possum in the first two weeks? We saw some rather relaxed game plans and certain struggles against the Texans and Chargers. The Chiefs cranked it up to ten against the Ravens, however. We saw the opposing blitz attempts bring little panic or anguish for the Kansas City offensive line or Patrick Mahomes. The deep set of playmakers were all getting involved and receiving a piece of the pie. The same will be paramount against New England.
With a masterful and diverse defense, tricks and mind games could be major. Knowing that the Chiefs have the ability to wear down opponents, Reid has to start out just as hot as he did last week. Allowing the Patriots to stick around and be comfortable in their game plan, won’t be smart with that opposing defense. The Chiefs must keep their foot on the pedal.
2) Force Cam To Beat You
Stopping the Patriots offensive rushing attack, and forcing them to air it out could favor the Chiefs. Unfortunately, the team has lost L’Jarius Sneed to a broken collarbone. Bashaud Breeland is also serving the final week of a four game suspension. However, this defensive back group is a prideful one. We saw Kansas City run a lot of four safety sets after Sneed went down. It did not seem to waiver the confidence of that unit.
Tedric Thompson is looking like a sneaky good addition. His ability to lay the boom on receivers and stay over the top, mixes in well with versatile play of Tyrann Mathieu, Juan Thornhill and Daniel Sorensen. If that group is counted on once again, it will not be easy for the Patriots receivers to beat the Chiefs deep.
3) Continue To Play Smart
We can talk about the offensive fireworks all we want. But, a big reason for the Chiefs winning on Monday night was due to their discipline. Uncharacteristic penalties by the Ravens opened the door for multiple options, in which Kansas City felt comfortable in. We saw the same thing last season when the Chiefs won at New England. Do not allow the opponent to get comfortable and play to the pace of their liking.
New England- 3 Keys To Victory
1) Get Everyone Involved
Just like the Chiefs offense, New England is better suited to get everyone going with multiple touches early. This is where having James White back this week is special for this offensive unit. His dual threat ability is largely focused on when he is a receiver. Quite frankly, he is no different with his rushing style than that of Rex Burkhead or Sony Michel. All three can wear down opponents if they get into a groove early.
Furthermore, the wide receivers are an interesting bunch. Julian Edelman has become an even greater security blanket, now that Cam Newton is in town. The pesky, hard working style of Edelman has translated nicely into teammates N’Keal Harry and Damiere Byrd. This is the kind of game where offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels could have tricks up his sleeve for those exact players.
2) Limited Pressure
It is still early in the 2020 season. Nonetheless, the Patriots sack percentage is down to open the year. Is that a bad thing? Not necessarily when you are facing this Chiefs offense. We saw Mahomes finish right around 12 of 15 passing last week against the blitz. Forcing him to hold on to the ball and be indecisive is usually one of the better strategies against the former Super Bowl MVP. New England has a strong defensive backfield to fall back on in this game. Their ability to disguise coverages and concepts has been a challenge beforehand. Therefore, less blitz calls may be the trick on Sunday.
3) Let Cam Be Cam
Kansas City did not get to face Newton much when he was with the Carolina Panthers. The most difficult thing that generally occurred when facing him then, was his running ability. His bulkier frame can be difficult for opponents to tackle. His ability is a much different running quarterback style than that of last week’s opponent in Lamar Jackson. So far, Cam has looked calm, cool and collected while enjoying himself with his new squad. The Patriots will be smart to let that continue, as he has brought a different kind of swagger to New England.
To find out our under the radar x-factors to watch for on Sunday, listen to the game preview episode of the FPC Chiefs Podcast. For more great sports and NFL content, stay tuned to Full Press Coverage.
– Braden Holecek is the Kansas City Chiefs managing editor for Full Press Coverage. He covers the NFL. Like and follow on Follow @ebearcat9//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js Follow @FPC_Chiefs//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js and Facebook.