Patriots vs. Chiefs Preview

AFC Championship, January 2019

In week 14 of the 2019 NFL season, the Patriots look to get back to their winning ways when they welcome Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs to Gillette Stadium. This is one of the mostly highly anticipated matchups of the year for fans of these two teams as well as just fans of football in general given the recent history between these two teams. When these two foes squared off in the regular season last year, the Patriots were victorious 43-40 in a thrilling back and forth affair at Gillette Stadium. The rematch later that season in the AFC Championship game was an equally entertaining affair, with the Patriots emerging victorious 37-31 in an overtime nail biter of a game. Given how both of last year’s matchups went, we could be in for quite the game this weekend.

After a very disappointing loss in Houston last week, the Patriots offense looks to get things back on track this week in a crucial spot. The Chiefs may be coming into this game with an 8-4 record, but the Chiefs have a major flaw with their team. The Chiefs defense quite simply isn’t anything special. The Chiefs come into this game with a unit that ranks 16th in points allowed (literally league average) and is the allowing the 25th most yards per game in the league. Trying to beat the Patriots at home with a pedestrian defense like that usually doesn’t bode well for opposing teams. This is exactly the type of defense the Patriots need to come up against to get back into their usual swing of things

On the other hand, I still believe this will be a very close game because the Chiefs have a very special player on the offensive side of the ball. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes is the reigning league MVP for a reason and is coming off of a special season in which he threw for 50 touchdown passes in just his second professional season. Mahomes has come back to Earth a bit this year, but has still thrown for 2983 passing yards, 20 touchdowns, and only 2 interceptions, all while fighting through an ankle injury that forced him to sit out three games this season. Mahomes also showed last season that he’s not afraid to play in a massive game against the Patriots. In the game during the regular season at Gillette, Mahomes was more or less able to shred the Patriots defense, as he was able to throw for over 350 yards and 4 touchdown passes, the only knock being two interceptions. The playoff game later that season was no different as Mahomes lit up the Patriots defense again for 295 pass yards, and three passing touchdowns, and this time no interceptions. The Chiefs mediocre defense may very well be what ends up costing the Chiefs this game on Sunday, but god damn is Mahomes going to do everything in his power to keep that from happening.

This Sunday, the Patriots find themselves with their backs up against the wall in a must win game if they want to keep pace with Baltimore Ravens for the number one seed in the AFC. One thing we need to keep in mind over the next few weeks is that we are in the month of December now, which historically during the Brady- Belichick era is when the Patriots play their best football, especially at home. Over 19 seasons with Belichick as the head coach, the Patriots have an incredible 59-12 record during the month of December. Even more remarkable is that the Patriots are 34-4 at home during the month of December with Belichick as the coach, with the last home loss during December for the Patriots coming seven years ago in week 15 of the 2012 season. Every year around this time of year the media likes to try and pick apart the Patriots and say that the collapse is coming, but I’ll believe it when I see, because as history has shown us, no team in any sport knows how to finish a season strong like the Patriots do. (Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference and NBC Sports Boston)

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