Chiefs vs. Patriots: A successful game plan against Bill Belichick
By Byron Smith
We are going step by step on how to beat the Patriots, starting at the opening kickoff and ending at the clock reading zero.
Step One: Kill them with Speed
The Patriots Cover 0 blitz prevents the linebackers and safeties from playing very effectively horizontally, with their assignment forcing them to run downhill. The Chiefs can capitalize on this by running a ton of speed-based plays horizontally. Tyreek Hill on an end around, Mecole Hardman jet sweep, Lesean McCoy running between the guards and tight ends, Darwin Thompson up the middle for diversity sake, and Spencer Ware as a hybrid back.
The Patriots will adjust, probably having corners blitz from the outside to try and beat the backs and receivers to the outside. Chiefs can adjust by throwing the ball down the field to to the receivers matched up with safeties or linebackers.
Step Two: Travis Kelce Should Be Exclusively a Receiver
In the case of the Patriots’ second favorite defensive package, and another possible adjustment to deal for the speed plays, the Cover 2 can be easily beaten by the tight end. By putting his big body between the ball and the nearest zone defender, Travis Kelce should be open all night long as long as Patrick Mahomes is making accurate throws.
The Patriots may respond, double teaming Travis Kelce and even triple teaming him when he gets to the second level of the defense. In that case, Mahomes would just have to identify the open receiver abandoned by the extra receiver on Kelce, or run draw plays to the strong side that has Kelce on it.
Step Three: Blitz Baby Blitz
Tom Brady has been atrocious against blitzing defenses. The Chiefs have been an excellent blitzing defense. You should see where this is going.
Bringing in one or two extra defenders from the linebackers group, on top of the excellent pass rush of Chris Jones and Frank Clark and the Patriots line does not stand a chance in this game. Force Tom Brady out of the pocket if you can not put him on the ground, make the receivers get open, give Tyrann Mathieu the opportunity to lurk and grab the hastily-thrown passes Brady is tossing.
Step Four: Play the Receivers Aggressively
Despite what many analysts and Brady haters will tell you, the fault is not completely on Brady for the shortcomings of the offense. It maybe partially on Brady, but some of the blame is on the receivers’ lack of talent and effort. With the exception of Julian Edelman, the Patriots’ receivers have fallen short of their expectations, playing lazy and without aggression. If the ball is up in the air, the Chiefs corners need to challenge that ball as aggressively as possible.
Without a legitimate tight end option, Brady will have to lean on Edelman when the rest of his receivers are being out played on the ball, and that is not sustainable with Mathieu and Juan Thornhill lurking in the defensive backfield.
Step Five: No Unnecessary Penalties
This game is in Foxborough, where calls tend to get called heavily in New England’s favor. Add on top of that the abundance of phantom calls the Patriots have gotten at home this season, and it is very important that the Chiefs try to eliminate the refs completely from the equation.
The Chiefs had a game with no penalties last week against the Raiders (technically there was one penalty, a holding call against Darwin Thompson, but it was negated because of an Oakland penalty) and if the Chiefs can pull that off again this week, this game should not even be close.
In reality however, the Chiefs are going to get called for penalties due to the refs judgement in Foxborough. By eliminating unnecessary penalties, the Chiefs can lessen the refs effects on the game and hopefully come out of Foxborough with a win over their fierce rival.