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What to Watch For: Chiefs vs Patriots

Sunday, October 14, 2018

 

Rob Gronkowski

The New England Patriots will face the hottest team in the NFL on Sunday night when they host the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium.

The Chiefs are 5-0 on the season and in first place in the AFC, while the Patriots are 3-2 on the year.

“Going against a team that's 5-0, there's really no margin for error and we're going to have to do a great job of possessing the ball and try to score as many points as we can,” said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during his press conference on Friday.

See Slideshow Below: 5 Things to Watch For: Chiefs vs Patriots

The Patriots enter the game after having ten days off following a Thursday night win over the Indianapolis Colts.

“Well, I think it's fortunate that we've had a couple of extra days here to work on Kansas City. They give you a lot of problems with their scheme, their players. They're very well-coached, as they always are with Andy [Reid]. Just a very explosive group. It's easy to see why they're undefeated,” said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during his press conference earlier this week.

Game time is set for 8:20 p.m.

Patriots vs Chiefs

The Patriots and Chiefs have met 35 times in history with Kansas City holding an 18-4-3 series advantage.

The last chiefs win came in September of 2017 when they cruised past the Patriots 42-27 on opening night after New England unveiled their Super Bowl championship banner.

“Well in the end, we didn't play our best. We didn't take advantage of some great opportunities that we had, we got stopped four times in short yardage. They're a tough, hard-nosed team. There's no easy plays there. They are all over routes. They've got guys that are trying to stay with the receivers on every play. They make it tough and that's why they're winning,” said Brady.

The last Patriots win came in the 2016 playoffs, when New England held off Kansas City 27-20 in the divisional round at Gillette Stadium.

See What to Watch for in the Slideshow Below

 

Related Slideshow: 5 Things to Watch For: Chiefs vs Patriots - October 2018

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A Shootout

This game has a good chance of turning into a shootout because neither defense is great. 

The Chiefs defense is allowing a league-worst 461 yards per game and an average fo 6.14 yards per play on first down runs.

According to Pro Football Focus, on 103 first-and-10 pass plays, Kansas City is allowing eight yards per play, while opposing offenses are converting first-and-10 passes into first downs 35% of the time.

Overall, the Kansas City defense gives up 343 pass yards per game (second worst in the NFL) and 118 rush yards per game, which is 24th in the NFL.

They give up an average of 26 points per game.

Meanwhile, the Patriots defense gives up 366 yards per game, which is 16th best in the NFL, and 252 pass yards per game, which is ranked 14th best in the NFL. 

New England allows an average for four yards per play on first down runs. 

"I think for us, it's about going out there and competing, trying to get a win. Obviously, we're going against one of the better teams in the whole NFL and I think that's a great opportunity to just go play well and try to get a win," said Patriots safety Devin McCourty during his Thursday press conference. 

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Fast Start

The Kansas City Chiefs are easily the hottest team in the NFL so it will be imperative that the Patriots get off to a good start. 

In all three of their wins, Texans, Miami and Indianapolis, the Patriots have jumped out to the lead early in the game.

In their two losses, they have fallen behind early in the game and haven't been able to recover. 

Meanwhile, other than their game in Denver two weeks ago, the Chiefs have played from ahead the entire season. 

"I think we've always talked about starting fast and I think they have a pretty good advantage in the first quarter of these games. They're getting ahead of all these teams and playing from ahead, and that's obviously where we want to play, but it's tough to do. I think fast starts, we've seen this year, when we start fast, the games have ended well and when we haven't and when you get behind, it makes it really tough," said Patriots quarterback Tom Brady during his Friday press conference. 

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Kelce vs Gronkowski

Sunday night's game will feature two of the best tight ends in the league, Rob Gronkowski and Kansas City's Travis Kelce. 

"I've definitely seen him play before. I've seen many other tight ends play before in the league and he's quick, he's shifty, which is very crucial to have. He knows how to get separation and get away from the defender. So he's a great player. I like watching him play too when I get a chance," said Gronkowski during his press conference on Wednesday. 

So far this season, Gronkowski has 23 catches for 308 yards and one touchdown. He is averaging 13.4 yards per catch. 

For Kansas City, Kelce has hauled in 28 catches for 407 yards and three touchdowns on the season. He averages 14.5 yards per catch. 

"They use him on a lot of RPO plays, so if you don't cover him they throw it to him, so you have to cover him. It's better than blocking actually because somebody has to chase him on the RPO. Somebody has to cover him somehow on the RPO's. He's usually involved in those. Not always, but usually. If you don't cover him then they throw it to him. If you cover him, then that's as affective as him blocking the guy, but they do a lot of that," said Patriots head coach Bill Belichick during his press conference on Wednesday.

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Mahomes

Kansas City quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the talk of the NFL to this point in the season. 

In just his first season as a starter, Mahomes has completed 112 passes for 1,513 yards 14 touchdowns for a quarterback rating of 112.7.

"I think he's very poised. He never really rushes to try to make a play or do the wrong thing. Even though he does some things that are very unorthodox that most people just can't do, he can do it," said McCourty. 

He averages 8.6 yards per attempt and to this point in the season he is throwing for an average of 300 yards per game. 

Mahomes was five-years-old when Patriots quarterback Tom Brady entered the NFL. 

"I know, there's too many - there's a lot of those guys now and that's just kind of the reality of being around for a long time. But you're right, it's great to see a lot of young players playing really well. That's the future of the league so it's always great to see young players come in and learn from the guys in the past just like I did when I was young," said Brady during his Friday press conference. 

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Local Connection

Sunday's game will be a homecoming for North Attleboro native Anthony Sherman, who is a running back on the Chiefs roster. 

So far this season, Sherman has three catches for 67 yards and a touchdown. 

"Sherman does a good job for them. He's a problem, too. He's good in the passing game, very good in the kicking game. He's a good coverage player, good blocker in the return game and he's a good complementary receiver on some of their misdirection plays. Play-action, misdirection plays - he can get the ball out in space and chew up some yards, too," said Belichick on Wednesday. 

About Sherman 

Sherman was drafted in the 5th round of the 2011 NFL Draft by the Arizona Cardinals. 

He played for Arizona for two seasons before joining Kansas City in 2013. 

Prior to that, Sherman played his college football at the University of Connecticut after graduating from North Attleboro High School. 

 
 

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