Preview: Patriots Set for Primetime Showdown With Chiefs


Mandatory Credit: Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Week 4: New England Patriots (2-1) @ Kansas City Chiefs (1-2)

Location: Arrowhead Stadium

Time: 8:30 p.m.

TV/Radio: ESPN/98.5 The Sports Hub

The New England Patriots will be in for their toughest task of the season Monday night as they’ll be in Kansas City for a primetime tilt opposite the Chiefs. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the most hostile environments in all of the NFL. All eyes will be on Tom Brady and the offense. His offensive line will surely be tested by a dominant Chiefs pass rush, but the Patriots defense has been stingy. It could be one of those nights where the defense shines as a unit and bails out the offensive if need be.

Bill Belichick announced some changes to his offensive line. Rookie Bryan Stork will start at center. Dan Connolly will flank him on the left and Cameron Fleming will flank him on the right. The focus will be on how well tackles Nate Solder and Sebastian Vollmer handle the Chiefs edge rushers. Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are a fierce tandem. They’ll need to be shutdown if Brady and the offense have any hopes of progressing. Anything else and Brady could be in for a beating.

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Stevan Ridley, Shane Vereen and the ground game could prove to be the difference in this game. The Patriots will have to run to establish the pass, otherwise, the Chiefs will pin their ears back and hunt Brady. Versatility on offense will be key. Andy Reid‘s defense is too talented. The Chiefs are the 23rd ranked rush defense in the NFL. It only makes sense to exploit their opponent’s weakness.

The New England defense has not allowed a touchdown since the first quarter of Week 2 in Minnesota. The Chiefs are by no means an explosive offense, but the Patriots will have their hands full with All-Pro Jamaal Charles roaming the backfield. Knile Davis, his backup, is also a threat to do damage in the run game. Jerod Mayo and Vince Wilfork will play a crucial role in working to stuff the run.

Blowing up the point of attack will force Alex Smith to take to the air. He’s a respectable passer, but the Patriots secondary is well-equipped to make him struggle. Smith isn’t afraid to run with the ball. He has 95 yards on 13 carries this season. Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich have to hold their own on the edges and keep him in the pocket. Darrelle Revis will likely shadow receiver Dwayne Bowe.

The Patriots chances rest on whether they can move the ball on offense. They have to tidy things up along the line, allow Brady some time, and the confidence will surely build. The defensive play will be there to back the offensive, but the stage is set for Brady to have a breakout showing. A decisive win would silence the many doubters that are currently questioning this Patriots football team.

My Prediction: Patriots 24, Chiefs 13