Patriots-Chiefs Preview/Review: Pats held hostage by offense (again)
PREVIEW: Here are some stark numbers. In their past five games going back to their win over the Browns, the Patriots have scored touchdowns just twice in eight goal-to-go situations. In each of the last three games, they’ve failed on their only trips in close. They are at 48.98 in red zone scoring for the year, 24th. The point? The Patriots aren’t generating points and this week they go against a Kansas City team which is well-stocked and always a threat to drop 30. Can the Patriots offense keep pace if the New England defense is merely respectable as it was last week against Houston? Or do the Patriots need to get the Chiefs muzzled to have a shot?
REVIEW: The Patriots' offensive impotence again held them hostage. Like last week against the Texans, the Chiefs got a deep touchdown on a terrific play and scored another on a gadgety play to cap a short drive. Other than that, the Patriots defense kept Patrick Mahomes out of the end zone but the inability to move the ball consistently and cash in when they got in the red zone continues to be a major cause of concern.
When the Patriots Ran
PREVIEW: Even though the Chiefs changed coordinators, scheme and some personnel, they still get gashed on the ground with some regularity. Only twice this year have they held an opponent under 4 yards per carry.The Patriots are absolutely signaling that they are close to getting it going on the ground. Sony Michel had his best game start-to-finish against Dallas, and the Patriots were making progress on the ground early against Houston but had to bail because of score and the fact that, because the Patriots passing game scares no one, the box is loaded with humans. Still, I’m going on faith here that Dante Scarnecchia and his OL get things moving downhill. Advantage: Patriots
REVIEW:The final numbers — 22 for 93 — look OK. But in terms of lining up and running it consistently? Nah. Seventeen of the yards came on a late-game fourth-down scramble by Tom Brady. Sony Michel carried five times for 8 yards. Rex Burkhead carried seven times for 15. James White had six for 33 with 19 coming on one carry. He was dropped for a 2-yard loss when the Patriots had first-and-goal at the Chiefs 3 in the fourth quarter and also got stacked up on a two-point conversion try. No room to run. At all. Advantage: Chiefs
When the Patriots Passed
PREVIEW: Just bad. Last week was just bad. Tom Brady was sacked three times by Houston and harried more than that. His final tally of 326 passing yards on 24 for 47 throws were cotton-candy stats. Third down, red zone and goal-to-go are everything this week. The team’s been bad at all three because only one guy (Edelman) is reliable. So, until further notice … Advantage: Chiefs
REVIEW: Julian Edelman had eight catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. He’s got 90 for 1,010 this year, a truly remarkable output given the attention being lavished on him by opposing defenses who know that he’s all they got. Brady got harassed all day and managed a 19-for-36, 169-yard day with a pick thrown to Bashaud Breeland that the Chiefs cashed in for a touchdown. The second-longest completion of the day was a halfback pass from James White to Jakobi Meyers that gained 35. Brady was 0 for 2 throwing to Meyers and Phillip Dorsett, completed his only throws to Sanu and N’Keal Harry, was 1 for 3 throwing to Ben Watson, 0 for 1 to Rex Burkhead and complered five passes to White for a meager 27 yards. Advantage: Chiefs
When the Chiefs Ran
PREVIEW: The Chiefs have been effective on the ground, if not explosive. LeSean McCoy is the main option and he’s averaging 4.9 yards per carry with limited duty for his old ass. He may get more duty this week with Damien Williams injured. The Chiefs brought Spencer Ware back to help McCoy and Darwin Thompson. Lost in last week’s loss was the fact the Patriots did a nice job bottling up Carlos Hyde despite the illness which wrecked the defense and certainly played some role in the result. Advantage: Patriots
REVIEW: The Patriots were terrific bottling up the Chiefs running game, holding them to 75 yards on 29 carries. They got the point fairly early that they weren’t going to make much hay against the Patriots trying to run and they got that point brought home late when the Patriots kept getting off the field defensively with three-and-outs. Advantage: Patriots
When the Chiefs Passed
PREVIEW: The Patriots can certainly withstand what the Chiefs offense brings. The issue is how long do they have to do it? The Chiefs have more offensive talent than the Texans. Between Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman and DeMarcus Robinson, Patrick Mahomes has enough to stress the Patriots. First priority will be Kelce. Second priority will be Hill. It will be interesting to see if the Patriots send Stephon Gilmore to deal with Kelce and double Hill. Makes sense given Hill’s otherworldly speed. Advantage: Patriots
REVIEW: The Patriots came out and played zone and really had Mahomes confused for a while until he started taking what was given in the middle of the field. The one deep slip-up was a tremendous play by Mahomes who hit Hardman for his only catch — a 48-yard score on second-and-25. The Chiefs went through a run from late in the first to just before halftime where they picked up long yardage third downs and a key DPI on Stephon Gilmore but other than that, the Patriots held Mahomes pretty much in check. Advantage: Draw.
PREVIEW: The Patriots are as good as it gets in punt coverage and have been very good at kick coverage after a dip last season and early this year. Their issue is punt returns (they ain’t got a guy) and kicking where Nick Folk comes back from his appendectomy with pressure to continue being a steady stop-gap. Hardman is a tough guy to deal with on returns. Punter Dustin Colquitt has dropped 18 of 39 punts inside the opponents 20. Kicker Harrison Butker hasn’t missed a field goal inside 50 yards and is 37 of 39 on extra points. Advantage: Chiefs
REVIEW: The Chiefs got a punt blocked. The Patriots got a field goal blocked. Jake Bailey dropped two of his four punts inside the KC 20. The Patriots don’t return punts anymore. Sanu fair caught one, two others were downed. The Chiefs get the nod thanks to Butker’s three field goals. Advantage: Chiefs
PREVIEW: Veteran official Jerome (“Hoading!”) Boger is on the call with his crew. The home team loves having Jerome usually. This year, though, the crew is calling penalties on the home team more frequently than the rest of the league. He hasn’t reffed a Patriots game since last year when the Bills visited.
REVIEW: Fairly disastrous. Chintzy holding call on KC, chintzy block-in-the-back call on Edelman, myriad conferences and picked-up flags, 10 penalties for the Chiefs, five for the Patriots, a blown whistle that cost the Patriots a touchdown and their final challenge, a blown call on the ensuing drive that ultimately cost the Patriots four points, a possible blown PI on Phillip Dorsett late (I still can’t figure that out since the ball was on the opposite side of Dorsett when it landed, away from where he was jumping). And the pool report explanation from Boger was as confusing as the preceding three hours.
The Line & Prediction
PREVIEW: The Patriots are favored by 3.0 and the total is 48.5. The Patriots are 7-5 against the spread and nine of their 12 games have gone under the total. The Patriots are on a 21-game home winning streak and have covered 16 of those.
Chiefs 27, Patriots 20
REVIEW: Another under — 10 out of 13 games this season for the Patriots. They have failed to cover in four of their last five. I’m 6-6 against the spread, 9-3-1 vs. the total.
Chiefs 23, Patriots 16
Week 1: Patriots 16, Steelers 13
Week 2: Patriots 30, Dolphins 0
Week 3: Patriots 20, Jets 6
Week 4: Patriots 19, Bills 13
Week 5: Patriots 30, Redskins 13
Week 6: Patriots 16, Giants 3
Week 7: Patriots 16, Jets 13
Week 8: Patriots 27, Browns 10
Week 9: Patriots 23, Ravens 13
Week 10: Patriots 26, Eagles 13
Week 11: Cowboys 23, Patriots 16
Week 12: Patriots 24, Texans 23
Week 13: Chiefs 27, Patriots 20