A.F.C. State Of Mind

AFC Game Of The Week

Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots

Chiefs: Theyare 5-0 for the second straight season and third time under Andy Reid. The last two weeks, we’ve seen just how good this football team is. In week four on the road against the Broncos, their toughness was measured in an electric atmosphere in Denver, but they prevailed and came back. Last week against the Jaguars, it truly was a battle of strength versus strength with the top-ranked defense of the Jacksonville and the top-ranked offense of the Kansas City Chiefs and they passed that test too. I know they’ve been an exciting team to watch so far on the young season and a zero still sits in the loss column. I think their win against Jacksonville was their best victory of the season because they finally put everything together as a football team and I know that the offense has been beyond remarkable this year and they’ve scored just about everytime they have stepped onto the field, but the defense hasn’t been as stout as we know they can be and they finally showed up and made some plays to complement the offense’s success and if you watched the Chiefs in the previous years, their defense had always carried the team while the offense just had to manage and control the clock with Alex Smith under center. Now, it seems like the roles have switched. The offense has been incredible and the defense lost its luster. That wasn’t the case in week five and let’s look at the stats. Four interceptions of Blake Bortles and Mahomes didn’t throw a touchdown pass in the game, but the defense picked him up and when the Chiefs play like this, they can be a scary team. Not only was it their best win, but it was also a statement victory for Andy Reid’s football team. Okay, they’ve passed two tests already, now they have one more: Sunday Night Football, Foxboro, Massachusetts to face the defending AFC Champion New England Patriots. This will be a challenge for them once again.

Patriots: After losing two of their first three games, the Patriots have reeled off two wins in a row only the way they can bounce back and last week was the first time that they’ve had an offense that had everyone on the field from Gronkowski to Hogan, the newly acquired Josh Gordon ,and Julian Edelman is also back and the last meaningful game we saw him play in was in Super Bowl 51 against the Falcons. When I think of him and what he brings to this Patriots offense, I think his presence is just as big as Gronk’s and he’s the heart and soul of this entire Patriots team. When he plays, he has the mentality of a running back because he won’t go down that easy and you always have to appreciate a football player with that type of toughness. As you’d expect, many said the Patriots were done and when I heard that, I didn’t even bother to entertain it because the Patriots have been known to get off to slow starts at times and if you’re going to try and beat them, September is probably the best time to do so because they’re still plotting and scheming with their system and after that, they get locked in. I’ve even heard that the Patriots don’t trust Bill Belichick anymore because of his decisions to bench certain players in important games. I found that hard to believe but the one thing I admire about the Patriots is when they have issues as a team, they keep it within the locker room and don’t allow the media to dissect their problems or break them down because they solve them as an organization. When it comes back to football, I’m not concerned when it comes to their offense because with 12 under center, they are going to get their points regardless and if you’re open down the field, you’re going to get the ball. I’ve also been impressed with Sony Michel and early on, he looked to be shaky and continued to fumble the football, now he looks more confident. What worries me is their defense and the inconsistency they play with. They looked great against the Dolphins in week four and shut down a Miami team that can score and last week against the Colts in the first half, they were solid then let the Colts back into the game.

Chiefs Player To Watch: Kareem Hunt– Gillette Stadium is where he introduced himself to the world last season in the opening game of the 2017 season. I’m not saying he has to have that type of game again, but he can help this offense keep the New England defense on its toes because they will probably come out expecting Mahomes to pass it. If he can get his touches early on and keep Brady and company on the sideline, this will work in their favor.

Patriots Player To Watch: Kyle Van Noy– Since he became a member of the Patriots, he’s become a very important piece to their front seven because he can stop the run and rush the passer. His speed and awareness will be needed in this one to help contain Mahomes and keep him in the pocket.

Final Analysis: What a battle this is going to be and when you look at the AFC, it’s almost as if there is a trifecta atop the conference. New England owns Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh has struggled with Jacksonville and the Patriots have always struggled against the Kansas City Chiefs. Remember that opening game last year? The Pats got off to a hot start and the Chiefs found their rhythm and never looked back. This game will have a lot of star power on the field on Sunday night. You have Brady, Mahomes, Gronk, Kelce, Edelman and Tyreek Hill. Mahomes can’t expect to throw interceptions and think he’ll beat those guys so when the opportunities present itself to score, he has to take advantage. The Patriots have always been known to take away your top offensive weapon, so I’m curious to see how they will prepare for this offense.

Prediction: Chiefs 38 Patriots 35