Chiefs vs. Patriots: Preview, Key Matchup and Prediction

Bill RobbinsCorrespondent INovember 15, 2011

The Chiefs and Patriots will square off this weekend for the first time in three years.
The Chiefs and Patriots will square off this weekend for the first time in three years.Elsa/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs will travel to New England to take on the Patriots on Monday Night Football in Week 11.

The Chiefs will be hungry for a win after two straight painful losses at home against Denver and Miami.

The Patriots, on the other hand, are still flying high after a recent blowout win of the rival Jets on Sunday night.

The Chiefs are obvious underdogs in this game, as they come into the contest with a 4-5 record while New England is 6-3 and is currently sits atop the AFC East.

When Kansas City Has the Ball

Normally, Matt Cassel has been the team's starting QB over the past two-plus seasons, but there will be a different man under center for KC when they face the Pats this Sunday.

His name is Tyler Palko, and he is as inexperienced as they come for NFL quarterbacks.

Look for the Chiefs to run the ball more this week, considering the question marks that will surround Palko and the passing game.

In the ground game, Jackie Battle should get his fair share of touches and receivers Dwayne Bowe and Steve Breaston need to make the most of their opportunities against a banged up New England secondary.

Chiefs' QB Tyler Palko will be making his first career NFL start against New England.
Chiefs' QB Tyler Palko will be making his first career NFL start against New England.Rob Carr/Getty Images

When New England Has the Ball

Obviously the engine behind the Pats' offense is none other than future Hall of Famer Tom Brady.

When Brady goes to the air, he often looks for veteran wideout Wes Welker, who leads the league with 72 receptions and 1,006 yards so far this season.

He also likes to get the ball to second-year tight end Rob Gronkowski, who has 709 receiving yards and eight TDs on the year.

When the Pats aren't airing the ball out, they like to hand the ball off to former Ole Miss star BenJarvus Green-Ellis and have him grind out tough yards for their offense.

When Kansas City Is on Defense

The Chiefs are below average on defense and will really have their work cut out for them against New England's high-powered offense on Monday night.

Linebacker Tamba Hali and others will need to be able to get pressure on Brady if the KC defense has any chance at slowing him down.

Inside linebacker Derrick Johnson is also a player to watch, as he has been playing lights out this season, possibly on his way to his first career Pro Bowl.

Kansas City has also had strong play from cornerback Brandon Flowers and safety Kendrick Lewis at times this season, and they will both need to be on their top games against the Pats in Week 11.

When New England Is on Defense

Surprisingly, Bill Belichick's defense is dead last in total yards allowed and passing yards allowed this season.

This is mainly due to the massive amount of injuries that their secondary has experienced.

During the 2011 season, the Pats' defense has been more of a bend-but-don't-break unit.

If there is one way player to look out for it's former Redskin Andre Carter, who already has nine sacks this year.

Key Matchup: Tom Brady vs. Chiefs' Pass Rush

If Kansas City can't get pressure on Brady in this game, he will pick them apart as if he was playing against a Pop Warner defense.

The only way KC will stay in this game is if they can keep Brady and the Patriots offense off the field for much of the night, which will be a very tall order for them.

Prediction: Patriots 34, Chiefs 13

The Chiefs just do not match up very well against the Patriots across the board.

I see KC's defense struggling against Tom Brady and the Pats passing game, while QB Tyler Palko will have his own struggles as well in this game.