The New England Patriots pass defense will need to give an excellent performance to slow down Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and his red-hot offense in Sunday's Week 4 matchup.
Mahomes has thrown for 898 yards with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions through three games. The Chiefs as a whole are averaging 30.3 points per game and have speed and high-end skill at just about every offensive position.
It will be an extraordinary challenge for the Patriots, and if they are going to give themselves a chance to win late in the fourth quarter, the secondary has to play at an elite level.
Veteran cornerback Stephon Gilmore, who's the reigning AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year award winner, will no doubt be a key part of the Patriots' game plan against the Chiefs.
He's the type of player, as Mahomes described in his Wednesday press conference, that you have to be aware of at all times.
"I think all the quarterbacks know he's really, really good," Mahomes said. "That would be the main thing. He's a guy that's big, physical and he's fast. Being with coach (Bill) Belichick, you can really tell that he understands route concepts, he really understands alignments, what routes guys can run from certain alignments. I think that's just made him better and better each year.
"It's a great challenge for us. That entire defense is (a challenge) every time we play them. He's a guy you have to know where he is on the field and know that he's going to be a physical guy that's really going to contest every single play that goes his way."
The Patriots are the only team that's beaten Mahomes twice since he became the full-time starter for the Chiefs in 2018. They are 2-1 against him overall, with the only defeat coming in Week 14 at Gillette Stadium last season.
New England's defense has played pretty well in 2020, but in its only real test against a top-tier quarterback in Week 2, Seattle Seahawks star Russell Wilson dominated with 288 passing yards, five touchdowns and one interception.
Mahomes is every bit as good as Wilson -- and arguably even better -- and his supporting cast is deeper and more talented. If the Patriots pass defense plays anywhere close to its performance in Seattle a few weeks ago, Sunday's game at Arrowhead Stadium could get ugly fast.