Why the Kansas City Chiefs should dominate the New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 08: Kyle Van Noy #53 of the New England Patriots attempts to tackle Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half in the game at Gillette Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - DECEMBER 08: Kyle Van Noy #53 of the New England Patriots attempts to tackle Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs during the second half in the game at Gillette Stadium on December 08, 2019 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images) /

The matchup between the Chiefs and Patriots was supposed to be between two AFC powers, but the circumstances now point towards an easy win for KC.

My Monday morning column this week was supposed to be a reaction to Sunday’s game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case as each team had a player test positive for COVID-19 and the game was (at least as I’m typing this) rescheduled for Monday night. Barring any more positive tests, these teams will now face off in a bonus Monday night matchup on CBS. While I originally thought that the Chiefs would win a hard fought game, the unique situation that these teams now find themselves in dramatically favors the Chiefs.

In my original game prediction I was anticipating Cam Newton and the Patriots offense to extend drives and control the ball enough to keep the Chiefs from being able to really get the offense roaring against a solid New England defense. I still believed that K.C. had too much offensive firepower for the Patriots to keep pace with and my original score prediction was a 31-23 Chiefs win.

The problem for the Patriots is that an already difficult task has become infinitely more difficult in the last couple of days. The evolving circumstances around this game all favor the Chiefs. In fact, there are three huge reasons why I believe that this game should now safely play out in KC’s favor.

New England’s Travel Situation

NFL teams are fanatical when it comes to routine. There may be no bigger control freak in the NFL than Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who is notorious for his attention to detail. However, the circumstances around this game and the positive COVID tests, have made both teams dramatically alter their routines. The problem for the Patriots is that they have the added problem of having to travel from Massachusetts to Kansas City.

While NFL teams are used to flying across the country for games, this almost never happens on the day of the game itself. That is exactly what the Patriots are being forced to do for this game. Depending on what time you are reading this post on Monday morning, the Patriots may still not have even left for the game yet. There is simply no way for the Patriots to replicate their regular game-day routine.

So on top of all the drama about whether or not this game will even happen, the Patriots won’t even have time to get settled in Kansas City and go through their typical prep work. While it has certainly been a different last couple of days for the Chiefs as well, they simply don’t have to adapt nearly as much as the home team. With the game being at Arrowhead, they can keep things very similar in terms of their game day routine as a regular evening game. That’s a big advantage for the Chiefs in a game where they were already favored to win.

The Patriots Game Plan Will Have To Change

In addition to the Patriots having a drastically different travel situation for this game, they also find themselves with a game plan problem to overcome on offense. With Cam Newton‘s positive test not coming to light until Saturday morning, and the team unable to meet in person before leaving for the game, it becomes very difficult for them to game plan for a game without Newton as the center of their offense.

Reports are that the Patriots will start veteran Brian Hoyer at quarterback, but even if Belichick were to throw a curveball and starts Jarrett Stidham, it doesn’t change the fact that neither man can really do what Cam Newton does. Hoyer will not have taken the starting practice reps in practice this week and if Belichick and Josh McDaniels decide to put in a new game plan and/or plays for their new starter, they will be doing so with no practice reps to work on them. It will simply have been talked about in Zoom meetings and on the plane ride.

For a team that was already going to struggle to keep pace with the Chiefs offense (which should be full strength for this game), not having their starting quarterback and clear centerpiece of their offense through the first three games would likely be too much to overcome under regular circumstances. Having to try and overcome it when the offensive game plan had already been installed with Newton in mind and no practices to adjust it is devastating.

The Chiefs Were Already The More Loaded Team

In the last six head-to-head matchups between Andy Reid‘s Chiefs and Bill Belichick’s Patriots, the Chiefs have averaged 32.8 points per game and have topped 40 points in three of the six games. In other words, even before Patrick Mahomes took the reigns of the offense, Reid has figured out ways to put up points on Belichick’s defense. This game will likely mean more of the same in that regard.

The Chiefs offense is stacked with Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, Travis Kelce, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Sammy Watkins, Mecole Hardman, and a good offensive line and it was always going to be a huge challenge for the Patriots to outscore them. Even with Newton and without travel issues and a last-minute game plan change, the Patriots would have likely lacked the firepower to keep pace through four full quarters with a Chiefs team that is averaging just over 30 points per game. Now without Newton and with those challenges it is a near impossible task.

I hate to sound overconfident, but do you believe that Brian Hoyer can come in with no practice reps to prepare and outscore that group listed above with weapons like Julian Edelman, N’Keal Harry, Sony Michel, Rex Burkhead, Damiere Byrd, and Ryan Izzo? I just don’t see it. In my opinion, it would take a Herculean effort by New England’s defense to basically shut down the Chiefs high-powered offense for them to really have a chance.

While the Pats defense has been solid so far, they have given up 22 points per game against the Miami Dolphins, Seattle Seahawks, and Las Vegas Raiders, with the Seahawks putting up 35 against them. I just don’t see them shutting down K.C. enough to give that group of offensive players a chance to keep pace.

I hope the game happens tonight and I hope I’m not jinxing things by being this confident. I’m a little disappointed that we won’t get to see what a full-strength Patriots team could do. Newton had done a great job through three games for them and a head-to-head battle with Mahomes would have made for a fun game. Now I simply think there is too much for the Patriots to overcome. So hopefully the Chiefs stay healthy and will roll tonight and then can move on to face the Raiders next Sunday.

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