What people have to remember is that the Chiefs are Jekyll-and-Hyde
when it comes to their home-road splits. They have surrendered just
17.4 points a game at home (34.6 on the road) and they give up a QB
rating 30 points lower at Arrowhead. So they won't just roll over and
Rarely do we see the Patriots as underdogs in the playoffs, but here we are. Earlier in the season, the Chiefs got a good look at the Patriots personnel as they played a thriller that came down to the wire, resulting in a Pats win. Rematch games are all about adjustments, but the one constant is that you trust YOUR guys with the ball in big moments. Brady will be big, but Mahomes, at least today, will be bigger.
If you're going to pick against the Patriots in the playoffs, do it when they're on the road facing the best offense in the NFL. The Chiefs have scored 26 points or more in every game this year, and they'll be looking for revenge after scoring 40 in Foxborough early in the season and losing. The Patriots were 3-5 straight up on the road this year, and while the win in Chicago was impressive, the other two game against Josh McCown and Derek Anderson. The game should favor the team that's better on third downs and in the red zone. That favors Kansas City (second in both) over New England (middle of the pack in both).
OK, let’s be honest here: New England has overachieved this season. The Patriots are no longer loaded at most positions, yet have won a dozen games despite barely outgunning opponents on average per play. K.C., conversely, had a whopping margin of nearly a full yard per snap. QB Tom Brady, never mobile, will be tested by a defense that topped the league in sacks. Dink-and-dunk worked last weekend, but Andy Reid’s D will be ready for it. The Pats have dropped their last three road postseason games, straight-up and against the spread, and are 5-7 ATS under Bill Belichick in AFC finales. Give me the kid (QB Patrick Mahomes) over the aging master.
Damien Williams has ably replaced Kareem Hunt, and with
Sammy Watkins back, Patrick Mahomes has all the weapons he needs. K.C.
also got an extra day of rest, which matters at this time of year. The
Chiefs' defense plays much better at home. Lay the field goal.
Patrick Mahomes is a superstar and the game is in Kansas City. But if
this game, in frigid conditions, comes down to the run game, the
Patriots have a considerable edge. If it comes down to needing a big
play on defense, the Patriots have more playmakers to get it done
The Patriots won the first matchup, but that was at
Gillette Stadium and it could have gone either way. In my projections,
the host Chiefs are the play in Sunday's AFC Championship Game. They're
covering 56 percent of my simulations. Lay the points.
The Chiefs allow 17 points less at home than on the road. They gave
up 108 fewer passing yards at Arrowhead than as a visitor. The TD-INT
ratio on the road is 19-3; at home it's 11-12. The Pats without Josh
Gordon may not be as lethal. You see where we are going.
The GOAT, Tom Brady gets a chance to play under center as the underdog quarterback. While he and his Patriots are on the road, that's not big deal for New England, who has been there and done that in this game before. Look for New England to win on the road and grab yet another AFC title!
It will be brutally cold, but winds will be light. While the Chiefs' defense plays better at home, they're not going to shut down a balanced Patriots attack that just put up 41 points on the Chargers. Even though it won't match the 43-40 thriller these teams played in Week 6, both offenses should do enough to get us Over the total.
This total keeps falling due to the extreme cold. But even in that
weather I think both teams will be able to score. And somebody very well
could return a kick for a score. The Chiefs' defense is not going to
show up this week the way it did against the worn-out Colts.
The high in Kansas City is projected to be 16 degrees, and that's a
concern for anyone taking the Over. There have been 61 NFL games since
2000 where the temperature was 19 degrees or less, and only 11 of those
games finishes with 57 points or more.
The numbers that project the high and low temperatures on Sunday in K.C.
will never be mistaken for the final score of a game involving the
Patriots or these new offensive-minded Chiefs. High: 15 degrees, Low: 8
I told myself I couldn't go against Brady & Belichick in a big game
like this. But, upon further review, the Chiefs look like the right
side to me. Many will look to take the points with Brady &
Belichick, and I do not at all mind being on the opposite side.