Not only are the Pats poised to tighten their grip on the AFC East with a Monday night win over Kansas City, they’re also likely to cover the very generous 15-point spread handed out by the folks in Las Vegas. There are a few glaring reasons why I’m anticipating an easy Patriots victory.
The Pats are catching the Chiefs at a good time, not just because of the fact that Kansas City has lost consecutive games, but because of who they lost them to. In a season riddled with peaks and valleys, the Chiefs are back in a valley at the moment. I would’ve been more concerned had New England been playing KC when they were reeling off four straight wins.
However, they’ve lost two straight in ugly fashion. First, they allowed the Miami Dolphins to record their first win of the season—in a 31-3 romp—at Arrowhead Stadium.
The next week, Tim Tebow completed a meager two passes in leading the Denver Broncos to a road win. If the Chiefs can’t beat the likes of the Dolphins and Broncos at home, how are they going to fare against a Patriots team that almost never loses at Gillette Stadium in the regular season?
This far into the season, the injury bug has bitten every NFL team; that’s just the nature of the beast. However, it seems like the Kansas City Chiefs have suffered more injuries to critical players than anyone else.
Before the season began, emerging tight end Tony Moeaki was sidelined for the year. And after just two games, Kansas City’s best offensive and defensive player—Jamaal Charles and Eric Berry, respectively—also saw their seasons erased to injury.
Now, quarterback Matt Cassel is sidelined indefinitely with a significant injury to his throwing hand. It’s tough to compete when you lose as many impact players as the Chiefs have.
A Chiefs team at full-strength would give the Patriots all they could handle. However, a depleted Chiefs team will struggle to keep up with New England.
The Patriots quarterback has thrown for 300 yards in two consecutive games, coupled with five touchdowns. There has been talk that defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel and his Chiefs defense may slow down Brady, given Crennel’s history with the Patriots and familiarity with Brady.
However, the Chiefs haven’t faced a quarterback of Brady’s caliber yet this season. The closest they came was when they squared off against Matthew Stafford and the Lions, and Stafford torched them for nearly 300 yards and four touchdowns in a blowout Week 2 Detroit victory.
Brady and his go-to targets of Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are all playing at high levels this season. Expect that to continue against old friend Crennel and his Chiefs defense.
To say the matchup between quarterbacks Tom Brady and Tyler Palko is a mismatch would be the understatement of the year. Of course, New England’s league-worst pass defense has made the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick and Chad Henne look like All-Pro quarterbacks this year.
So maybe Palko has the potential to go off against the Patriots. Then again, Palko’s credentials don’t exactly inspire greatness if I’m a Chiefs fan.
The new Chiefs signal-caller is already on his fourth NFL team in less than four full seasons and has also been cut by a CFL (Montreal Alouettes) and UFL team (California Redwoods). Plus, Palko has only attempted 13 career passes as a NFL quarterback—not much of a sample size if you’re trying to measure his potential as a starter. As banged up as New England’s defense is, I’ll be stunned if Palko lights them up.
If Tom Brady and the New England Patriots offense decides to implement a no-huddle attack like they did in the second half of their most recent victory over the New York Jets, then the Kansas City Chiefs defense could be in serious trouble. Whenever Brady goes no-huddle, he and his offense are usually relentless.
It’s a major reason why he passed for a silly 500 yards in Week 1 against a Dolphins defense that simply wilted in the humid Miami night against the frenetic pace. And it’s a major reason why the Pats dominated the Jets in the second half of their 37-16 victory in the Meadowlands.
Expect another cameo from the no-huddle offense against the Chiefs, and why not? The Pats are at home, on the fast FieldTurf surface. And a hurry-up attack may be the best way to slow down a fierce Chiefs pass rush, led by the dangerous Tamba Hali.