On to the Chiefs!
The Patriots will host the Chiefs on Saturday at 4:35 pm EST on CBS.
The Patriots lost two straight but still claimed a number two overall seed and the bye week while the Chiefs have won the last 11 games, including last week’s wildcard thrashing of the Texans, 30-0.
The regular season and being hot doesn’t always translate to the postseason, but it can help, so how do the Patriots stop the Chiefs? Well, I’ll preview the game to come.
The Patriots on defense will look to do two things: stop the run and stop the tight end. They have to stop the run, so what a great time to get back Hightower, whose hopefully healthy enough to make a gigantic impact and Travis Kelce, another good time to have Patrick Chung back and healthy. Chung and Hightower will play the biggest roles tomorrow as they deal with the two focal points of the defense. The Patriots will stack the box and put an effort in stopping the run while blitzing on third down. They may not be overly aggressive with their blitzes and pass rush as they will try to keep Smith in front of them. They will also use jams and double coverages on Travis Kelce to take him away from the offense. If they do those two things well, they will win the game. Let me say, Alex Smith is no joke at QB and the Chiefs are very much for real. This is a great test for the Patriots.
The Patriots on offense will look to protect Brady first and foremost something they haven’t been good at doing. The entire pass rushers for the Chiefs are dangerous and pose a problem for the Patriots. I’m sure they will always know where Justin Houston and Hali while looking for screens and short passes. The second thing they hope to happen is their wide outs getting open fast. Julian Edelman may be ready or may not be, but dealing with a steel plate in one’s shoes will be annoying so he may be a decoy, who knows. I can see the Pats targeting Peters a lot given he’s a rookie, a very good rookie, but still a rookie. Amendola and White have to get open fast and on short routes while I’m sure LaFell will run the deeper routes, but the biggest question is Gronk. Is he healthy? Are Gronk’s injuries a concern or smoke screens? Nobody knows, but he will be the main guy Brady looks for in the red zone, so if he can get open the Pats should do good inside the 20. It’s hard to pinpoint the Pats offense, basically it comes down to the protection and if it’s good or not. If it is, they will score a lot of points, if not they won’t. It’s that simple.