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Discussion in 'Other NFL' started by Galant, Jan 13, 2019 at 8:40 PM.
From the Patriots' Perspective:
"The New England Patriots advanced to an NFL-record eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game. The Patriots are also now the only team in NFL history to advance in the playoffs for eight straight seasons (2011-18).
A win over Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game would give the Patriots their third straight Super Bowl appearance and extend their NFL record to 11 Super Bowl appearances. The Patriots can join Miami (3) and Buffalo (4) as the only teams to reach three consecutive Super Bowls.
The New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs will meet for the second time in 2018 and for the second time in the postseason. The Patriots hosted the Chiefs on Oct. 14 in a Sunday Night Football game and came out with a 43-40 victory. The two teams met in the 2015 AFC Divisional Playoffs with New England claiming a 27-20 win on Jan. 16, 2016, at Gillette Stadium in their lone postseason matchup.
This year’s regular-season game was the fourth straight primetime game between the two teams. New England defeated Kansas City, 34-3, on a Monday Night game in 2011, lost 41-14 on Monday Night in 2014 and fell to Kansas City on Kickoff Weekend on Thursday Night at Gillette Stadium, 42-27, on Sept. 7, 2017, and beat Kansas City this year on Sunday Night Football.
Kansas City holds a 18-14-3 edge over New England, including an 11-3-1 advantage in games played in Kansas City and a 5-1 record at Arrowhead Stadium. The Chiefs are 7-11-2 in games played at New England, including 1-4 at Gillette Stadium (1-5 including playoffs).
The two teams played twice a year from 1960 until the 1970 AFL-NFL merger as two of the original American Football League teams.
The New England Patriots improved to 4-2 after K Stephen Gostkowski kicked a 28-yard game-winning field goal at the buzzer to lift the Patriots to a 43-40 victory over the visiting Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday Night Football. Kansas City entered the game with a perfect 5-0 mark.
Kansas City QB Patrick Mahomes connected with WR Tyreek Hill on a 75-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 40 with 3:03 remaining. The touchdown helped Kansas City erase a 15-point halftime deficit after New England took a 24-9 first-half lead.
The Patriots offense produced 500 total yards and did not punt or commit a penalty, marking the first such occurrence in the Super Bowl era.
During the game-winning drive, Michel converted a third-and-1 and two plays later, Brady and Gronkowski connected on a 39-yard play to get to the Kansas City 9-yard line. After Brady took a knee, Gostkowski drilled a 28-yard game-winning field goal as time expired to give New England the win.
Tom Brady owns a 5-3 regular-season record against Kansas City and is slated to start against the Chiefs for the second time in the postseason.
IF THE PATRIOTS WIN...
The Patriots will advance to their 11th Super Bowl, extending their own record for most in NFL history.
The Patriots will set a new NFL record for most postseason wins in a decade with 15. The record is currently held by New England (2000s), Dallas (1970s) and Pittsburgh (1970s) with 14 postseason wins in a decade.
The Patriots will improve their all-time franchise mark in the playoffs to 36-20 (.643), the best playoff winning percentage in NFL history among teams that have played at least 15 playoff games.
The Patriots will improve to 11-4 in the AFC Championship game.
The Patriots will earn their 36th postseason win in franchise history, tying Pittsburgh for the most postseason wins all-time.
The Patriots will join Miami (3) and Buffalo (4) as the only teams to reach three consecutive Super Bowls.
Bill Belichick will win his ninth conference championship as a head coach, the most in NFL history during the Super Bowl era (since 1966).
Tom Brady will win his ninth conference title, the most for a starting quarterback in NFL history during the Super Bowl era (since 1966).
WHAT TO LOOK FOR...
The Patriots will play in their eighth consecutive conference championship game, extending their NFL record for consecutive championship game appearances.
The Patriots will play in their 15th conference championship game, tying the San Francisco 49er's for second-most in NFL history.
The Patriots will play in their 56th playoff game in franchise history in the AFC Championship, tying Green Bay for third-most postseason games in NFL history.
The Patriots need one more Super Bowl win to tie the Pittsburgh Steelers (6) for most Super Bowl wins in NFL History. They are currently tied with Dallas (5) and San Francisco (5) with five Super Bowl wins."
"For just the third time in eight seasons, the New England Patriots will travel for the AFC Championship Game.
The Patriots take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium next Sunday at 6:40 p.m. ET. The Patriots lost their last two road AFC Championship Games, both to the Denver Broncos.
The Patriots blew out the Los Angeles Chargers 41-28 at home Sunday to advance to the conference title game. Despite the dominant win, they’ll still be three-point underdogs against the Chiefs. That means Vegas considers the two teams equal. The Chiefs get a three-point boost for home-field advantage.
The Patriots beat the Chiefs 43-40 in Week 6 at Gillette Stadium.
Here’s how the two teams match up next week.
PATRIOTS PASSING ATTACK VS. PASS DEFENSE
Patriots passing rank: 8th, 266.1 yards per game
Patriots passing DVOA: 4th
Chiefs pass defense rank: 31st
Chiefs pass defense DVOA: 12th
Tom Brady wasn’t nearly as good on the road this season. He completed just 63.4 percent of his passes with a 93.4 passer rating. Still, he should, in theory, be able to move the ball against the much-maligned Chiefs defense, especially after seeing his performance Sunday in the Patriots’ win over the Chargers.
Kansas City’s defense looked much improved against Indianapolis’ offense Saturday, but Colts quarterback Andrew Luck also didn’t look like himself.
Brady went 24-of-35 for 340 yards with one touchdown against the Chiefs in Week 6. Rob Gronkowski, who since has mostly disappeared, also looked dominant in the fourth quarter and had three catches for 97 yards overall.
The Patriots need to watch out for KC pass rushers Dee Ford, Justin Houston and Chris Jones. New England’s offensive line held up incredibly well against the Chargers’ pass rushers Sunday.
PATRIOTS RUSHING ATTACK VS. RUN DEFENSE
Patriots rushing rank: 5th, 127.3 yards per game
Patriots rushing DVOA: 9th
Chiefs run defense rank: 27th
Chiefs run defense DVOA: 32nd
The edge goes out to the Patriots if they don’t get so far behind to start the game that they have to abandon the run. The Chiefs were terrible against the run all season, but they held the Colts to just 87 yards. Those came on only 14 carries and 6.2 yards per clip, however.
The Patriots piled up 173 yards on 38 carries in Week 6, but they also stunk on the ground in road games, averaging 3.9 yards per carry with just four touchdowns.
PATRIOTS PASS DEFENSE VS. PASSING ATTACK
Patriots pass defense rank: 22nd, 246.4 yards per game
Patriots pass defense DVOA: 14th
Chiefs passing rank: Third
Chiefs passing DVOA: First
The strength of the Patriots’ defense is their passing attack, but we’re talking about Patrick Mahomes and the juggernaut Chiefs offense here.
Also, the Patriots let up a passer rating of 91.1 and 7.2 yards per attempt on the road and a 76.1 passer rating and 5.7 yards per attempt at home this season. So, while the pass defense certainly held up on the road this year, it wasn’t nearly as good as it was at home.
To win, the Patriots have to do a better job than the Colts of capitalizing on Mahomes’ poor throws and decisions.
Still, the Chiefs have wide receiver Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce to deal with. The Patriots almost neutralized Kelce in Week 6, but Hill went off for seven catches for 142 yards with three touchdowns.
PATRIOTS RUN DEFENSE VS. RUSHING ATTACK
Patriots run defense rank: 11th, 127.7 yards per game
Patriots run defense DVOA: 19th
Chiefs rushing rank: 16th
Chiefs rushing DVOA: Fourth
The Chiefs proved they could still the run the ball without Kareem Hunt on Saturday when they scored four touchdowns on the ground. Mahomes, Hill and running backs Damien and Darrel Williams all had scores. The Chiefs carried the ball 33 times for 180 yards.
Expect a lot of rushing yards by the Chiefs next Sunday. The Patriots will let the Chiefs run on them with a priority placed on stopping Mahomes.
PATRIOTS SPECIAL TEAMS VS. SPECIAL TEAMS
Patriots special teams DVOA: 16th
Chiefs special teams DVOA: 11th
Tremon Smith returned a kick 97 yards in Week 6. That can’t happen again.
And for the Chiefs:
After slaying the demons of their playoff past against the Indianapolis Colts last week, the Chiefs are one win over the New England Patriots away from advancing to Super Bowl LIII.
This will be the first AFC championship game in the history of Arrowhead Stadium. Kansas City dominated the Colts last week, keeping at least a two-possession lead over them for all but eight and a half minutes of the game.
The Chiefs are a team with supreme confidence and momentum right now. They are also the healthiest they have been all season. Receiver Sammy Watkins returned from injury last week and didn’t miss a beat, and starting guard Laurent Duvernay-Tardif has been activated off injured reserve.
The Patriots, meanwhile, have some momentum of their own. They’ve won their last three games by an average margin of 20 points, including a huge win over the Los Angeles Chargers in the AFC divisional playoff round last week. Like the Chiefs, New England is also rested and healthy.
These two teams met back in Week 6 in what was one of the best games of the NFL season, with the Patriots topping the Chiefs in a 43-40 shootout. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski kicked the game winning field goal as time expired after K.C. tied the game and rallied from a 24-9 deficit.
OLB Justin Houston vs. LT Trent Brown
When the Chiefs and Patriots squared off earlier this season, Justin Houston did not play due to a hamstring injury. Not only is Houston now back at full strength, he is coming off a monster game in which he had two sacks, a forced fumble and a pass deflection.
Usually when Houston has a big game it equates to a Chiefs victory. He’ll have a tough matchup this week against Trent Brown, who is one of the better left tackles in the NFL.
If Houston can get the best of Brown, it will open things up for the other dangerous K.C. pass rushers and could spell doom for quarterback Tom Brady.
RB Damien Williams vs. Patriots’ front seven
Former Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt was a big factor in K.C.’s success against New England in their last two meetings, but Hunt is no longer with the Chiefs. Enter Damien Williams, who has been a great replacement for Hunt, earning himself a two-year contract extension.
Since taking over as the Chiefs’ starting running back, Williams has averaged 5.1 yards per touch while racking up seven touchdowns. If he can carry this momentum into this game with New England, it will take pressure off the Chiefs’ passing game and make their offense very difficult to stop.
QB Tom Brady vs. CB Charvarius Ward
Ward has given the Chiefs’ secondary an enormous boost in a very short time. He made his first career start in Week 16, where he showed some flashes but was also beat often by some great throws from quarterback Russell Wilson.
The last two weeks, however, Ward has really shined. He allowed just four receptions on eight targets for 42 yards while also recording four pass breakups against the Colts last week. That’s a big-time performance in an important game against a great quarterback in Andrew Luck.
It will only get more challenging as Ward faces Brady this week. Despite Ward’s recent success, Brady may go after the young cornerback and make him prove himself. If Brady is on his A-game, Ward will need to have near perfect coverage against Patriot receivers.
QB Patrick Mahomes vs. Patriots’ secondary
Mahomes got off to a shaky start against the Patriots in his first matchup against them, throwing two interceptions and no touchdowns in the first half. He also missed several throws to open receivers which cost K.C. points, likely due to being a bit over-amped.
Mahomes caught fire in second half, finishing the game with 352 yards and four touchdowns, but had to battle out of a deep hole to get there. He’ll need to be safer with the football this time around and have a little more poise if he’s going to outduel Brady and slay the Patriots on a big stage.
Andy Reid vs. Bill Belichick
This was a key matchup in our first report and remains one in the rematch. Reid and Belichick are perhaps the top two coaches in the NFL, but Reid is still looking for his first Super Bowl win in 19 seasons as a head coach. Belichick has more Super Bowl wins than any head coach in history with five.
Belichick’s defenses have only allowed 40 or more points seven times during his tenure in New England, and three of those were to the Reid-led Chiefs. Reid will no doubt have to come up with yet another brilliant game plan to beat Belichick again.
This is the Patriots eighth-straight AFC championship game appearance, an amazing feat. In the three times they have played on the road during that streak, however, they have lost. They were 3-5 on the road during the regular season, with all five losses coming to non-playoff teams.
Despite getting the monkey off their back of losing at home in the playoffs, the Chiefs still have a lot of proving to do. They have to prove that they can win big games on big stages. In the AFC it gets no bigger than the Patriots in the AFC championship game. If the Chiefs can pull out a victory, it will be their biggest win since Super Bowl IV."
"Five things to know about the Chiefs’ next playoff opponent: New England Patriots
Coach Andy Reid held up two fingers in the Arrowhead Stadium locker room following the Chiefs’ 31-13 win over the Indianapolis Colts in Saturday’s AFC divisional-round playoff game.
“Two more,” Reid told his team.
Indeed, for the Chiefs to be NFL champions, they’ll need to win two more games, including the Super Bowl. To get to Super Bowl LIII, the Chiefs will have to beat the New England Patriots in Sunday’s AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium.
That’s the two-time defending AFC champion Patriots, who will be playing in their eighth straight AFC title game.
Here are five things to know about the Patriots ahead of Sunday’s game, which kicks off at 5:40 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS:
1. Tom Brady
Sunday’s contest will be the 39th postseason game for New England quarterback Tom Brady.
Brady, 41, completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 4,355 yards with 29 touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season. However, his 97.7 passer rating was his worst since 2014 (97.4).
The NFL Network reported Sunday that Brady had “battled an MCL sprain, sources say, one that took him a few weeks to overcome.” The report said Brady was “healed” now, and there was no structural damage.
On Sunday, Brady looked like his, well, old self. He completed 34 of 44 passes for 343 yards and a touchdown.
New England’s offensive line is ranked first in the NFL in pass-blocking by Football Outsiders. The Patriots would do well to continue to protect Brady from the Chiefs’ fierce pass rush, because Brady has excelled in a clean pocket.
2. Running wild
While the knee injury limited Brady, the Patriots’ rushing game pounded out 517 yards in their final two regular-season games.
New England ran for 155 yards in Sunday’s 41-28 win over the Chargers, and Sony Michel had a huge game. He rushed for 129 yards in 24 attempts with three touchdowns.
The Patriots have used receiver Cordarrelle Patterson at running back, too. He had 21 catches for 247 yards and three touchdowns this season. He also ran the ball 42 times for 228 yards and a touchdown.
3. Pass defense
The Chargers’ Philip Rivers was the first quarterback to top 300 yards passing against the Patriots since Week 7. But most of Rivers’ yards came in the fourth quarter, when the game was out of reach.
Los Angeles had just 183 yards of offense and 14 points through three quarters. The Chargers were just the third opponent in the Patriots’ eight games to score more than 17 points.
In the regular season, New England ranked 22nd against the pass, allowing 246.4 yards per game. They allowed the seventh-fewest points (20.3 per game).
4. Gostkowski’s foot
Per the Los Angeles Times, Patriots kicker Stephen Gostkowski ranks second in NFL history in postseason points behind Colts (and former Pats) kicker Adam Vinatieri, who had a dreadful performance in Saturday’s loss to the Chiefs.
Gostkowski has kicked the three longest field goals in New England’s franchise history, the Times story noted, and became New England’s all-time leading scorer four years ago.
5. Taking care of the ball
New England, which was second in the AFC (fifth in the NFL) in turnover margin (plus-10), had the only two takeaways in Sunday’s game against the Chargers.
Since the start of 2013, New England is plus-seven in turnover margin in 14 playoff games. They are 11-3 in those contests. Brady hasn’t thrown an interception in the playoffs since Atlanta had a pick-six in Super Bowl LI.
OUT WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW IN AFC TITLE GAME?
Joe Osborne | Mon, Jan 14 2019, 2:59pm
Patriots vs Chiefs is the AFC title game that we all wanted. Well, except for those who bet on the Colts and Chargers last week and the millions of Patriots haters out there, but you get my point — this is an incredible matchup. The teams previously met in Week 6 in one of the more exciting games of the season that saw the Patriots win 43-40, but the Chiefs covered as 3.5-point underdogs. This time around, the Chiefs find themselves as a 3-point favorite and the total is at 55.5.
There’s no shortage of storylines here — Brady is old, Mahomes is young, Gronk might retire, etc. We won’t concern ourselves with those, but what we will do is take a deep dive into the numbers to hopefully find you a betting edge to help you nail your pick for the AFC championship game.
PATRIOTS HAVE BEEN DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT ON THE ROAD
I’m sure many used the Patriots’ domination at home as a reason to justify their pick vs the Chargers last week and rightfully so, but outside of New England this season, the Patriots have been awful. They’re 3-5 SU and ATS with all five losses coming to teams that didn’t even make the playoffs. This was the first time since 2009 that New England lost five or more games on the road in the regular season.
Digging into some stats, the Patriots averaged an astonishing 12.2 fewer points on the road compared with at home, which is the second-biggest disparity in the NFL after the Raiders.
Instead of rambling on, here’s a table that highlights the Patriots’ drop-off in some key areas when on the road this season.
For comparison’s sake, the Chiefs ranked in the top four in both points scored and points allowed at home and had a +14.8 point margin at home, which ranks second. Speaking of that Chiefs defense…
THE CHIEFS DEFENSE IS BEING UNDERVALUED
I lectured my Twitter followers about this prior to the Colts game, and I’ll do it again. Including that game, the Chiefs have the third-best home defense this season, allowing just 17.4 points per game. An argument against that number is that KC had a handful of pathetic offenses come into town, such as the Raiders, Cardinals and Jaguars. My counter to that argument is that the Chiefs did what they were supposed to do vs those teams, and it’s silly to hold that against them.
That home-dominant defense was on clear display in their divisional-round game vs the Colts when they allowed just one offensive touchdown, which Indianapolis didn’t score until the fourth quarter. The Colts were held to just 263 total yards of offense and were completely shut out on third downs, going a pitiful 0-for-9.
Yes, this defense was very strong at home, but we can’t completely ignore the Chiefs’ tendency to get into shootouts, including their Week 6 loss to New England when they allowed 43 points. On five occasions this season, they allowed 33 or more points, which should provide more than enough tape for Belichick and Brady to study and potentially exploit.
IS THE TOTAL HIGH ENOUGH?
Many bettors will be quick to blindly bet the OVER in this game primarily because these teams combined for 83 points in their previous matchup this season. However, both teams have been strong UNDER bets recently with 11 of KC’s last 14 home games going UNDER, while the total has gone below the mark in eight of the Patriots’ last 10 games.
Chiefs home games have seen an average combined score of 49.67 this season, while Patriots road games are at 45.63. As a result of the recent scoring trends along with the home/road splits for each team noted above, I would lean toward the UNDER. If you disagree (how dare you!) and are considering an OVER bet, I'd advise on waiting to pull the trigger until we have a clearer picture of what the weather will be like.
DO YOU REALLY WANT TO BET AGAINST HISTORY?
A clear rebuttal to any argument against the Patriots is their championship pedigree and the fact that Brady and Belichick are the best QB/head coach combo in the history of the NFL. They’ve gone 8-4 SU in AFC championship games and during the Belichick era they’re an impressive 5-3 SU as an underdog in the playoffs. But, here they are being counted out yet again even after humiliating the Chargers in the divisional round.
Belichick has also had the upper hand vs Chiefs coach Andy Reid, winning six of eight head-to-head matchups. As for Tom Brady, he’s coming off a 343-yard passing performance, which was good enough for his second-highest mark of the season, and the Patriots have won seven of the last 10 games in this matchup. And, oh yeah, New England is also 7-1 SU and ATS in its last eight games as an underdog. And, oh yeah again, we all know about Andy Reid coming up small in big spots.
So do you really want to bet against history?
MY BEST BET:
Yes, I want to bet against history and am on the Chiefs -3.
If you read the content above, I’m sure you could tell I was going in this direction. If you’re a Patriots fan, I’m sure you find this preview extremely slanted, but I simply can’t ignore how bad the Patriots have been on the road and I don’t think they’ll suddenly snap out of that funk at Arrowhead Stadium on Sunday.
The Patriots have actually lost three straight road playoff games, which highlights the importance of getting the top seed in the conference finals. The home team has won 10 straight conference final games while the favorite in AFC title games is 10-2 SU in the last 12. This pick is much more about the Patriots’ inefficiencies on the road, though. It’s time for some new blood."