Patriots

Will Patriots play Chiefs again in NFL playoffs? It's quite possible

Will Patriots play Chiefs again in NFL playoffs? It's quite possible

FOXBORO -- The New England Patriots had their 21-game win streak at Gillette Stadium snapped with a 23-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, but they might not have to wait long to exact revenge for this Week 14 defeat.

If the season ended today, the Patriots likely would play the Chiefs at home in the AFC Divisional Round. The Patriots are the No. 2 seed in the AFC playoff race, and likely will remain in that position barring a surprising loss over their final three games. The Chiefs are the No. 3 seed entering Week 15, and if they stayed in that spot and won their Wild Card playoff game, they would return to Foxboro in the next round. This is the most likely scenario at the moment.

"There is a chance of that, too, and we understand that," Chiefs head coach Andy Reid said of a potential rematch in January. "We know the season’s not over, we still have the remainder of the season to go here that we’ve got to take care of. I mean, Denver is playing good football right now. The (Drew) Lock kid is playing well at the quarterback spot. So these are short lived and we understand there is plenty of season left, so we got to really bear down the stretch here."

Chiefs owner Clark Hunt was a little more convinced these two teams would see each other again next month.

"I absolutely think we'll see them again," Hunt said after his team clinched the AFC West division title. "The Patriots are an incredible franchise. They have a great team. The quarterback is still capable of playing at a high level. They have the greatest head coach in the modern era and the greatest quarterback in the modern era. So, I think there is a good chance we'll see them again. Could be back here. Could be at Arrowhead (Stadium). And we'll give them the respect that they deserve."

It's also possible the Patriots could play the Chiefs on Wild Card Weekend. If the Buffalo Bills win the AFC East and the Patriots finish as the first wild card team, New England could travel to Arrowhead Stadium for the wild card round if the Chiefs are the No. 4 seed. There are other scenarios in which these teams play in the AFC playoffs, too.

So, regardless of the round, there's a pretty good chance the Patriots and Chiefs square off once more in the 2019 season. It would be their sixth meeting since 2016, and the Patriots are 3-2 overall and 2-0 in playoff matchups over that span.

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NFL conference championships see ratings drop without Patriots

NFL conference championships see ratings drop without Patriots

Love 'em or hate 'em, the New England Patriots garner the attention of the masses.

That was evident during last year's AFC Championship game vs. the Kansas City Chiefs, when an average crowd of 53.9 million people tuned in to watch the Patriots win in an overtime thriller and advance to Super Bowl 53.

To put that into perspective, this year's late-window matchup between the Green Bay Packers and San Francisco 49ers drew only 42.7 million viewers, per Austin Karp of Sports Business Daily.

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Of course, much of that discrepancy has to do with Pats-Chiefs being far more competitive than Packers-Niners. Plenty of viewers likely tuned out of the latter matchup when San Francisco led Green Bay 27-0 at halftime.

Even so, it just goes to show how much more attention is paid to the NFL playoffs when Tom Brady, Bill Belichick, and the rest of New England is involved. This year's AFC Championship featuring the Tennessee Titans and Kansas City Chiefs marked the first without the Patriots since 2011, and it was the smallest audience (41.1 million) for an AFC title game in 11 years.

In comparison, the early game in 2019 (Los Angeles Rams vs. New Orleans Saints) averaged roughly 44 million.

The Chiefs and 49ers will meet in Miami for Super Bowl 54. It'll be interesting to see how those ratings compare to last year's Patriots-Rams matchup.

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George Kittle celebrated Super Bowl berth with hilarious Jimmy Garoppolo shirt

George Kittle celebrated Super Bowl berth with hilarious Jimmy Garoppolo shirt

George Kittle had a little fun with his quarterback after the San Francisco 49ers beat the Green Bay Packers in Sunday night's NFC Championship Game to clinch a berth in Super Bowl LIV.

The All-Pro tight end showed up to his postgame press conference with a custom t-shirt that included a shirtless photo and autograph of 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Check it out in the tweet below:

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Garoppolo was asked by reporters about Kittle's shirt, and he couldn't hold back his laughter.

“I got him earlier in the week with a shirt, showed it to the media and everything, so he had to get me back a little bit," a smiling Garoppolo said, per 95.7 The Game. "I thought it was a nice shirt he had on. Maybe we’ll get them in the team store soon.”

Garoppolo is no stranger to the Super Bowl. He made two Super Bowl appearances with the New England Patriots as Tom Brady's backup, and in two weeks he'll make his first start on that stage.

The 49ers quarterback hasn't had to play at an elite level for his team to reach the Super Bowl, but that should change in Miami on Feb. 2. The AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs have an offense that looks unstoppable right now, so Garoppolo likely will need to play one of his best games as a pro to give San Francisco a strong chance to win its sixth Lombardi Trophy in franchise history.

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