What We Learned from Thursday's Media Availability from The Mothership
Q: On Bill Belichick Xeroxing a copy of the gameplan and plans for Chandler Jones and sending it to Kansas City:
REID: "Well Chandler, he's a pretty good football player and he's coached by a pretty good coach. So I'm sure they'll have a variety of things that they do with him."
Q: How confident are you with your sense of what New England has planned to slow down your offense and your pass rush?
REID: "They do a nice job with the pass rush as far as chip-and-goes or ball-out-quick. And notoriously, that's what they've done over the years. Bill's always going to give you something different. We've prepped for a little bit of two-deep zone, that's where his roots are - you go back to the New York Giants - so they do a nice job with that. And they play a little bit of man coverage, that's how they roll. We'll be ready for all of the above."
Chiefs vs. Patriots: Five Things to Watch from The Mothership
1. Will the magical season for the Chiefs continue?
It's something we probably won't fully appreciate until the season has come to a conclusionâwhenever that might be.
A season that began with such high hopes faltered early into the depth of a 1-5 hole and the loss of their best offensive player -
Jamaal Charles. But this only set the stage to prove what general manager John Dorsey has preached all along - signing and drafting players of high football character.
It was the right group of players and the right leadership to set forth a plan that ultimately was as simple as having everyone grab their shovels and get to work.
Chiefs vs. Patriots: How to Watch and Listen from The Mothership
CBS (KCTV5 Local)
Play-by-Play: Ian Eagle
Color Analyst: Dan Fouts
Sideline: Evan Washburn
Chiefs to Host Watch Party for AFC Divisional Playoff Game at Power & Light District from The Mothership
The Kansas City Chiefs will again host an official Chiefs Kingdom Bar watch party at KC Live! in the Power & Light District for the AFC Divisional matchup against the New England Patriots on Saturday, Jan. 16. This free event will kick off at 2:30 p.m. and will include appearances by KC Wolf, Chiefs Cheerleaders, Warpaint, the Rumble, Chiefs personality Jillian Carroll, autographs by former players and more. The first 5,000 fans in the door at KC Live! will receive an exclusive Chiefs Kingdom Playoff flag, presented by Hy-Vee.
Fans attending the watch party can receive two free drinks (limited to beer, soda or hot chocolate) at any of the five outdoor drink stations in the KC Live! Living Room, compliments of the Chiefs, by claiming the free drink voucher through Chiefs Kingdom Rewards.
Community Caring Team Visits McQuerry Elementary For Play 60 Assembly from The Mothership
Kansas City Chiefs Ambassador Tony Reed, K.C. Wolf and the Chiefs Community Caring Team visited McQuerry Elementary on Tuesday in the midst of one of the most exciting times in recent Chiefs history.
Reed helped lead a "spirit assembly," during which each child received a Hy-Vee Chiefs Kingdom flag before going through a Play 60-styled competition that pitted eight students from McQuerry against K.C. Wolf.
Chiefs Download Podcast presented by Draft Kings: The Patriots and What to Watch For
Conan O'Brien to Host NFL Honors Annual Award Show from The Mothership
CONAN O'BRIEN, Emmy award-winning comedian and late night talk show host, will take the stage as host of NFL HONORS on Saturday, Feb. 6 at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The two-hour primetime awards special recognizing the NFL's best players, performances and plays from the 2015 season will air nationally at 9 PM ET/PT on CBS.
O'Brien, an avid New England Patriots fan, is host of the late-night show "CONAN," on TBS. "CONAN" has a strong influence in both the broadcast and digital space, with clips from the show often going viral.
The man who's beaten Bill Belichick more than anyone else has some advice for the Chiefs from The Kansas City Star
Belichick is, in many ways, the nightmare of his peers. Smart, relentless, cocky, and exceedingly successful with enough stories about the lengths he'll go to make you nervous. Not counting interims, NFL teams changed coaches 85 times between Belichick's first Super Bowl championship and his most recent. But Gilbride, perhaps better than anyone else, was able to think a move ahead of The Hoodie.
Gilbride's teams went 11-7 against Belichick, including his only two Super Bowl losses, and describes a clear but difficult way to beat the sport's most successful coach â a rough outline of what the Chiefs are facing in Saturday's AFC Divisional playoff game.
"You always hear, ‘Bill Belichick takes away what you do best,' but, well, every defensive coordinator does that," Gilbride says. "He's not the only one. The difference is, he's willing to go to more extreme measures. His looks will be even more unorthodox than what you might get somewhere else, and you have to know that going in, and you have to have a plan of attack based on your strengths, that allows you to attack him where he's vulnerable because of that adjustment."
The Game Plan: Expect the unexpected when playing the Patriots from Chiefs Digest
The Kansas City Chiefs will arguably face their biggest task of the season this Saturday.
One game away from the AFC Championship, but the defending Super Bowl champions stand in their way and New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick is very good at finding the weaknesses of a football team and exploiting them for a victory.
Here is the game plan to topple the Patriots (Screen grabs courtesy of NFL.com).
Chiefs executed a great well against Patriots the last time from ESPN
"We executed our game plan pretty well that day,'' offensive coordinator Doug Pederson said. "We also showed them some different looks, I think, than what they had seen from us or from any other team earlier in the season. Those are things that you kind of have to do against a team like this because they're going to keep it mixed up. I think offensively, it's a challenge for us to keep it mixed up as well.''
On Saturday, we'll find out whether the Chiefs were as successful in devising and executing their game plans against the Patriots.
"It'll be a different game,'' said ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, a former Chiefs head coach. "That's what happens in football. You saw it with the Chiefs going to Denver and finally winning there. That doesn't mean New England is going to win. It means the game is going to be different.''
The 2015 season shows why Patriots' Tom Brady may be best quarterback ever from The Kansas City Star
Much of Brady's drive to succeed can be traced to a pair of circumstances at the beginning and at the peak of his career.
Brady has never forgotten how insulted he was to be a sixth-round pick and 199th player taken in the 2000 NFL draft. It motivated him as he led the Patriots to three Super Bowl titles in his first four seasons as New England's starter.
And Brady has never forgiven the NFL for its unsuccessful attempt (so far) to suspend him for whatever role he may have played in the Deflategate scandal in last year's AFC Championship Game.
Brady, 38, played like a man possessed as the Patriots raced to a 10-0 start this season, reminiscent of 2007 when New England went 16-0 in regular season.
Even as injuries struck the team, Brady kept raising his game.
Higher stakes won't alter Chiefs coach Andy Reid's approach to Patriots from Chiefs Digest
The approach is a sports cliché, of course, but the Chiefs more than lived it while climbing out of a 1-5 start to ride 10-game win streak all the way to the postseason.
And the line of attack offered familiarity to former Philadelphia Eagles backup quarterback Koy Detmer, who said in a telephone interview Reid's philosophy won't deviate even against a Belichick-coached team.
Detmer would know, having gone through preparations 11 seasons ago to face the Patriots on the NFL's grandest stage in Super Bowl XXXIX.
"He would tell you to break it one play at a time," Detmer said. "That mindset is definitely what is going to be preached going into this game. That's a formula for success and that's what he's built with the mindset of his teams."
Former Eagles tight end L.J. Smith, also a member of the Super Bowl team, agreed emphatically with Detmer.
Chiefs' defensive turnaround coincides with Sean Smith's early-season return from ESPN
His presence is a big reason why opposing quarterbacks have thrown so many passes at the player Peters has been covering.
The Chiefs haven't allowed 30 points in a game since their early-season slump. They allowed more than 20 in just one game since and last week shut out the Houston Texans in a wild-card playoff game.
Smith's return to the lineup came one week after the Chiefs lost Phillip Gaines, who had been starting at cornerback in Smith's absence, for the season with a torn ACL
Alex Smith's best times are following his worst, and ‘Mr. High Road' is happy for both from The Kansas City Star
But even that ended with a virtual noogie for Smith, because just as he was having a terrific season â leading the league in completion percentage and passer rating â he suffered a concussion and was then benched.
The 49ers lost in the Super Bowl that year, and Smith will forever be convinced they would've won if he had been their quarterback. He admits to being "pissed off" at the decision.
What we've seen since is the football equivalent of a jilted girlfriend losing 30 pounds, finding a great new job and falling deeply in love while the ex-boyfriend mainlines mayonnaise on the couch, needing progressively bigger sweatpants.
The 49ers are terrible again, having fired two coaches in two years, their chosen quarterback benched for Blaine Gabbert. Meanwhile, Smith is the first quarterback since Joe Montana to win a playoff game for the Chiefs, and is now getting ready to face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots for a spot in the AFC Championship Game.
He's playing the best football of his life, and if you're thinking he is full of schadenfreude, pointing to how differently two franchises went when he left the 49ers for the Chiefs, well, this is where brother Josh wants you to know that Alex can be really annoying.
Chiefs' Cairo Santos ahead of curve with pregame scouting of Gillette Stadium from Chiefs Digest
While the second-year pro continues to kick during practice, it is more about what he accomplished off the field in the past week.
Santos has been busy scouting to gain a better understanding how the wind conditions affect kicks at the New England Patriots' outdoor venue.
"I reached out to a couple of kickers just to hear their experience kicking in that stadium," Santos said, "and I watched every field goal and extra point at Gillette Stadium this year just to see how the ball moves."
Special teams coordinator Dave Toub appeared genuinely pleased when told Santos called peers around the league to gain insight on the kicking conditions.
"That doesn't surprise me," Toub said with a wide smile. "He's a professional, he's a true professional."
Yes, the Chiefs do indeed work on kicking the laces from ESPN
The answer to the question you've had ever since the Minnesota Vikings' Blair Walsh missed a potential game-winning field goal in last Sunday's playoff game against Seattle: Yes, the Kansas City Chiefs practice for the contingency of kicking the laces of the football.
"We do that from time to time throughout the year," Chiefs kicker Cairo Santos said. "It doesn't happen very often [in a game]. Our operation has been smooth. I practice it on my own, when I'm warming up. I put the laces sideways or I put the laces backwards or make it a bad lean just to work on it if it does happen."
Chiefs' Travis Kelce says it's not about him vs. Patriots' Rob Gronkowski from The Kansas City Star
"We're in a single-elimination game, so I have no focus or no care for anything the (Patriots) offense does while I'm not on the field," he said. "It's one of those things where you just prepare for you and go out and do everything to help your team."
That focus seems to have evolved over the past few weeks. Kelce has been less demonstrative after receptions. This from the player who wound up and punched the football through the end zone on his second touchdown of the season, at Houston, in the opener.
Kelce has been in playoff mode for weeks.
"Right now, I'm just on a mission," Kelce said. "You can't get too high or too low. It's a game where the next play matters even more than the last one did, and it's kind of gotten in my mind-frame that getting too high after a big catch can affect the next play."
After wild-card sweep by visitors, here come the big boys from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
The Chiefs have won 11 in a row, 10 during the season, then a 30-0 romp at Houston. This task is different.
''Yeah, it's a statement game for us,'' Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce says. ''It's a statement game for anybody that would come into the world champs' stadium and take on the Patriots and who they are. It's a challenge, but at the same time, we're excited for it and we're ready for it.''
Perhaps not as ready as they'd hope to be if top receiver Jeremy Maclin can't go - or be effective if he does play - because of a high ankle sprain.
New England lost four of its last six as injuries everywhere, combined with inadequate blocking up front, plagued them. Tom Brady could have back most of his main targets this week.
Key Matchups: All-Pro safety Eric Berry and whomever else KC uses to cover Rob Gronkowski; New England's O-line against a formidable front led by Dontari Poe.
Chiefs-Patriots Preview from The Associated Press via FS Kansas City
Though Edelman is expected to play Saturday, Gronkowski's status is suddenly murkier. He missed practice Tuesday because of a knee injury suffered Nov. 29, was limited Wednesday and sat out Thursday's final workout before the game. Reports indicated he had treatment at a local hospital that included an injection in his knee.
Bill Belichick's team dropped four of its final six after winning its first 10 and managed just 196 total yards - its fewest since 2010 - in a 20-10 loss at Miami in the regular-season finale.
Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin goes through warmups Thursday but does not practice from The Kansas City Star
"Maclin came out and did a little bit during the stretch period and that was about it," Chiefs coach Andy Reid said.
Reid said Maclin will be a game-time decision for the Chiefs' AFC Divisional playoff game Saturday at New England. He sustained the injury in the Chiefs' 30-0 win over the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card round last Saturday.
Chiefs' Jeremy Maclin participates in stretching session from Chiefs Digest
Reid said Duvernay-Tardif and Morse have not passed the concussion protocol, while the team continues to take it easy on Hali.
"He's got a little bit of swelling in his knee," Reid said of Hali.
The Chiefs list outside linebacker Justin Houston (knee) as a limited participant for a second straight day.
"Justin Houston went through the warmups and is making progress," Reid said.
Running back Spencer Ware (ankle) also put in a limited practice after not practicing Wednesday.
Chiefs work without Jeremy Maclin, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali from ESPN
Maclin, for the first time this week, was at practice during the early portion open to the media. But he was working off to the side and not participating in drills with the other wide receivers. Maclin has what the Chiefs are calling a high-ankle sprain.
Houston likewise worked early but didn't participate when the Chiefs began the game-plan portion of practice. He missed the season's final five games because of a hyper-extended knee. He returned to play in last week's playoff game against the Texans.
Secondary ticket market shows seat at Chiefs-Patriots game will cost more than $200 from The Kansas city Star
If you are headed to Foxborough, Mass., for the Chiefs' divisional playoff game against the Patriots, you'll be paying a pretty penny.
A look at some secondary ticket sellers shows the cheapest ticket costs more than $200.
Here are the numbers from Priceline.com and TiqIQ.com:
Chiefs, Patriots each overcome toughest opponent - injuries from Chiefs Digest
Every player that will take part in this weekend's divisional round of the playoffs is hurt after six months of training camp, practices and games. About 10 to 20 percent of the roster is injured with a malady that makes participation probable, questionable, doubtful or out of action.
There are common denominators among the eight teams still active, but unquestionably there is one thing that all of those teams share: they've won the battle of attrition.
Actually, it might better be said they survived the battle of attrition. Maybe the team that holds the Vince Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl 50 could be said to have won the fight; the others will limp into the offseason.
Governors bet ribs and cupcakes on the outcome of Chiefs-Patriots from FS Kansas City
If the Chiefs win, Baker will donate a batch of Boston Creme cupcakes to a local food pantry. They're the official state cupcake and they look delicious.
Also delicious: A sizzling rack of famous Gates BBQ ribs, donated by Nixon if the Patriots emerge victorious.
Keep an eye on: How Chiefs defend middle of the field on passes from ESPN
One of the key matchups in Saturday's game between the New England Patriots and Kansas City Chiefs will be one of strength versus strength.
Tom Brady has thrown 18 touchdown passes and four interceptions on passes between the painted numbers this season. It's one of his favorite areas in which to target Rob Gronkowski, Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola.
But during this 11-game Chiefs winning streak, Kansas City's defense has sealed off the middle of the field.
Scouting the referees for NFL divisional playoff weekend from ESPN
Analysis: This assignment means Wrolstad was one of the NFL's highest-graded referees in just his second year on the job. ... His regular-season crew led the NFL with 11 penalties for roughing the passer, a call that the referee himself is typically responsible for making. ... The Patriots, who led the NFL with 12 offensive pass interference penalties this season, will be happy to know Wrolstad's crew called just three in the regular season, tied for the second fewest in the league. ... His crew was aggressive in calling pre-snap penalties, ranking second with 41 false starts and third in combined false starts, encroachment, offsides and neutral zone infractions (55).
Chiefs' Doug Pederson reportedly will become Philadelphia Eagles head coach from The Kansas City Star
It appears Chiefs coach Andy Reid will have to hire a new offensive coordinator.
Doug Pederson has reportedly agreed to become the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, according to various media reports. He is expected to be hired after the Chiefs' season ended. The Philadelphia Daily News first reported the news.
Pederson, 47, is a former quarterback who spent nine years in the NFL and has been on Reid's staff for the last seven. He joined his staff in Philadelphia as a quality control coach in 2009 and was promoted to quarterbacks coach in 2011.
Eagles expected to hire Chiefs' Doug Pederson as head coach, per reports from Chiefs Digest
The Eagles and Chiefs have not confirmed the anticipated move, but that doesn't come as a surprise because the Eagles can't officially hire Pederson while the Chiefs are in the playoffs.
The Chiefs play the New England Patriots on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
For his part, the 47-year-old Pederson said Wednesday his interview with the Eagles proceeded well.
Doug Pederson expected to resume Andy Reid coaching tree in Philly from ESPN
Asked by local media Thursday night about the team's search for a coach, an Eagles spokesman said: "We have concluded our search for a head coach. No further interviews are scheduled."
The Eagles have also hired Ken Flajole, according to reports from El Paso, Texas, and he is expected to be a defensive assistant. Flajole had been set to become the defensive coordinator at UTEP.
A relationship between Flajole and Pederson goes back to 1998, when Pederson was the backup quarterback for the Green Bay Packers and Flajole was a defensive assistant coach.
Andy Reid could lose more than one trusted Chiefs confidant from FS Kansas City
The Chiefs-coordinator-turned-Eagles-coach is reportedly targeting longtime Andy Reid aide Brad Childress as his offensive coordinator in Philadelphia. Childress currently works as K.C.'s "special projects/spread game" coordinator.
CSNNE Video: New England Tailgate: Patriots-Chiefs preview
This late-season craziness isn't the Patriot Way from CSNNE
We should all be used to this drill by now, as there are apparently a lot of cooks in the Gronkowski kitchen -- and they all like to talk. But isn't it still amazing that every time he gets hurt we get this effluvium of conflicting reports? The last time it prompted a joint statement between the team and the Gronkowski family.
I would call that unPatriot-like. But it's nothing compared to what happened early Sunday morning in Foxboro, when a shirtless Chandler Jones, high on drugs, stumbled across the back parking lot of the town Police Department and threw himself on the ground at the back door seeing assistance as he came down from his high. The team couldn't bury this one (again, unPatriot-like), and by midweek we were adding it to the list of late-season mishaps.
Oh, Jones was reportedly coming from Gronkowski's house, even though the big tight end with the bad knee and bad back was in Florida over the weekend.
What does it all mean for Saturday? Who knows?
IN THE CROSSHAIRS: SO MANY PATRIOTS HAVE SO MUCH TO PROVE AGAINST CHIEFS from WEEI
Complete the following sentence: When the Patriots open the defense of their Super Bowl title on Saturday, all eyes will be on ______?
(a) Chandler Jones
(b) Julian Edelman
(c) Rob Gronkowski
(d) Tom Brady
(e) Bill Belichick
(f) Sebastian Vollmer
"Your rosary beads," probably also should be an acceptable answer. What's borderline unfathomable about that question is how many ways it can be legitimately answered. Any one of those choices, in a normal season, would be cause for concern. But all of them simultaneously?
Rob Gronkowski gets treatment at hospital on right knee from ESPN
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowskispent part of Thursday in a Boston hospital getting treatment on his injured right knee, which included an injection, according to a source familiar with the procedure.
The Patriots believe Gronkowski will play in Saturday's divisional-round playoff game against the visiting Kansas City Chiefs but will ultimately need to see how Gronkowski feels on game day.
Source: Rob Gronkowski had pain injection in knee, Pats then add his back to injury report from The Boston Herald
It's unclear when or how the back injury occurred, but Gronkowski has a history of back issues. He had surgery in 2009 while at the University of Arizona and again during the 2013 offseason.
Gronk was also held out of Tuesday's workout because of the knee before returning yesterday on a limited basis. He has been dealing with the right knee issue since he sprained and bruised it during the fourth quarter of the Patriots' loss to the Broncos in Week 12. Gronkowski missed one game and returned in Week 14 against the Texans on a limited basis.
Gronkowski's knee hadn't been on the injury report from Weeks 15-17, but he aggravated the knee in Week 15 against the Titans and limped out of Gillette Stadium that night. It's also believed that he tweaked the knee in the regular-season finale against the Dolphins.
Chandler Jones sorry for 'studid mistake' from The Boston Herald
Jones was more expansive. He was overly apologetic and clearly showed disappointment in himself while discussing his situation.
"I feel the need to apologize to everyone," Jones said. "But right now, like I said, I made a mistake. Each and every day, all I can focus on is just Kansas City. I know it sounds competitive and it sounds like I'm repeating myself, but that's what it is right now, becoming the best No. 95 I can be right now and help this team out."
TEDY BRUSCHI: CHANDLER JONES SITUATION ‘AN EMBARRASSMENT' TO PATRIOTS ORGANIZATION from WEEI
Bruschi added he wouldn't be surprised if Jones is disciplined on the field by Bill Belichick such as missing a series or not starting. The coach benched Wes Welker for a series during a playoff game in 2011 against the Jets after he made foot jokes directed towards Rex Ryan.
"I hope they gather all of their facts and if discipline is warranted, maybe it needs to be," Bruschi said. "Bill Belichick has enforced discipline on players for being a distraction during crucial weeks before. Is it a series? Does he not start? Is it the first quarter? Something like that. That is what he will consider."
Borges: Shirtless, shoeless Chandler Jones is a low priority for Patriots The Boston Herald
So what do we make of the bizarre circumstances Jones put himself in? In terms of the outcome of tomorrow's divisional playoff with the Kansas City Chiefs, we probably put him at defensive end and hope he puts himself on top of Alex Smith a few times. In terms of his future, that's a different issue.
According to Jones' father, the Rev. Arthur W. Jones Jr., "Everything's under control. Everything's cool." Actually, Reverend, I'd say everything is not cool nor under control when your son ends up in a police station, shirtless and shoeless in January after having blown his mind on artificial weed, avocado ice cream or whatever the hell he was doing.
SCOUT'S TAKE: DECONSTRUCTING DIVISIONAL PLAYOFF CONTEST BETWEEN PATRIOTS, CHIEFS from WEEI
3 keys to victory for the Patriots
1. The Kansas City offensive line is starting to come together, and it's helping spark their running back by committee. The Patriots will need Malcom Brown, Akiem Hicks, and Alan Branch to provide strong gap control in the middle, giving the New England linebackers protection to get to the ball.
The Patriots have been pretty good most of the season when it comes to run defense (they ended the year ninth in the league against the run, having allowed an average of 98.8 rushing yards per game), and that has started with the interior of the defensive line getting good gap control and allowing the New England linebacking corps time to flow to the ball. If the big guys up front can continue to plug the gaps along the interior, that should make things easier for the likes of Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins and Jerod Mayo when it comes to targeting ballcarriers.
Guregian: Who has the edge in Patriots vs. Chiefs? from The Boston Herald
Dont'a Hightower, Jamie Collins, Jerod Mayo, Jonathan Freeny
Justin Houston, Derrick Johnson, Josh Mauga, Tamba Hali
The Patriots play a 4-3 alignment with Hightower and Collins featuted. When healthy, they are a dynamic 1-2 punch, both against the run as well as the passing game. They are difference-makers. Mayo and Freeny, who is expected back after missing time with a hand injury, usually take turns depending on the down and situation.
In the Chiefs' 3-4 base defense, Houston (7.5 sacks) and Hali (6.5 sacks), make their living as effective edge rushers. In the sub-defenses, they line up more like defensive ends. Either way, they both got to Brady in last year's blowout loss. Johnson and Mauga play well on the interior, while Dee Ford sees considerable time filling in.
Hightower has been hobbled of late with an MCL sprain, while both Houston and Hali played through knee injuries.
Shaughnessy: Will be 'fascinating first quarter' vs. Chiefs from CSNNE
"It's going to be a fascinating first quarter to watch," said Dan Shaughnessy on Sports Tonight. "Are they going to punish Jones? What's up with the physical status of these guys? Edelman, so much has been on his shoulders this last week. . . Gronk with the knee, the back, the shot, the time away from practice. These are huge questions going in."
Chiefs' front creates potent storm from The Boston Herald
In Kansas City's 30-0 blowout wild card victory over Houston last weekend, the Chiefs pass rush sacked quarterback Brian Hoyer three times. The push directly influenced two of the six Texans turnovers.
Just another day for the Chiefs defensive front.
Kansas City recorded 47 sacks in the regular season, fourth in the NFL, presenting a difficult challenge for a battered Patriots offensive line that has started 12 different combinations this season.
Pressure on Vollmer & Co. from The Boston Herald
Sebastian Vollmer hasn't played since injuring his left ankle in the first quarter Dec. 27 against the Jets.
His reward for returning tomorrow for the Pats' divisional round playoff game at Gillette Stadium? An afternoon with the Kansas City Chiefs' pass rush.
The Chiefs were third in the league in sacks this season with 47 and feature two of the better edge pass rushers in the league, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. The rest of the cast is not too shabby either as Jaye Howard, Allen Berry and Dee Ford have all proven adept at getting to the quarterback.
"Obviously they throw a lot of stuff at you and if you are not on the same page as the other four guys it is not going to be a good result," Vollmer said.
Pats aware of KC threat from The Boston Herald
The Patriots are artists in not getting too high or low about something, and in the case of Davis' return last week, it doesn't seem like anything they'll overextend themselves about in their preparations.
"Everybody has big-play ability in the league," rookie specialist Brandon King said. "If you go back and watch the film, there's a lot of things that went wrong that Houston did, so you just have to learn from their mistakes. It's not anything at all like, ‘This guy is going to be a problem.' Everyone's a problem if you don't tackle them the right way and make sure you defend it the right way.
"It was a really good play, but overall, it comes down to what we do, and how we scheme things up and how we take in the film every week and just learn from it."
Defense seeks destiny from The Boston Herald
After one triumphant Super Bowl, which was punctuated by cornerback Malcolm Butler's exclamation point, the Patriots can demand more respect as a team that can consistently win games because of their defense.
By deserved and undebatable measures, Tom Brady and the offense have garnered the vast majority of credit for the Patriots' long run of nearly unparalleled success, but the defense could earn a higher heaping of praise for its efforts if it shuts down the Chiefs tomorrow in the divisional round at Gillette Stadium.
Key matchup Chandler Jones, Rob Ninkovich & Jabaal Sheard vs. Chiefs offensive line from The Boston Herald
Skinny: The Patriots had the second most sacks in the league, but their defense seems to fly under the radar. That won't be the case if they can wreak havoc on a vulnerable Chiefs line, and this is the time for the Patriots' tenacious pass rush to earn its reputation as one of the best in the NFL.
Eagles hiring Doug Pederson as coach from Philly.com
It also helps Pederson that the team officials know him and are comfortable with him. After enduring friction in the front office during Kelly's three seasons in Philadelphia, the team should hope for a more harmonious setup when Pederson works with Roseman. They will collaborate to make roster decisions with senior director of player personnel Tom Donahoe.
The Eagles made the decision after interviewing three other candidates from outside the organization and two from inside the organization. Adam Gase took the Miami Dolphins job and the New York Giants hired Ben McAdoo. Tom Coughlin backed out of consideration. Pat Shurmur and Duce Staley, the two internal candidates, could be in contention for positions on Pederson's staff.
Doug Pederson returning to Philly as Eagles coach from Philly.com
Lurie will be asked why he put former general manager Howie Roseman back in charge of personnel when he fired Chip Kelly - hired Thursday to coach the 49ers - last month, and how much of an issue Roseman's role was in interviews with coaching candidates who ended up elsewhere, such as Miami's Adam Gase and the Giants' Ben McAdoo. He'll be asked about the flurry of reports that the Eagles were close to hiring Tom Coughlin Thursday before the former Giants coach took his name out of contention.
Even though ESPN's Adam Schefter and then the Daily News' Paul Domowitch identified Pederson as a leading candidate early on, the perception will be that the Eagles ended up as settlers, like that family in the DirecTV commercials.
Can Pederson succeed with Eagles? from Philly.com
People will pass their judgments, of course. People who have played with Pederson when he was a journeyman quarterback, who have coached alongside him, who have talked football with him, will endorse him. People who follow the Eagles and root for the Eagles will hope for the best with him. Their endorsements and hope offer no tangible indication of whether Pederson will be a good head coach or a bad one.
People who have played with Pederson or been around him or who are in or around the NFL and are paid to deliver opinions - usually at the highest possible decibel level - will blast the hire. People who follow the Eagles or root for the Eagles will roll their eyes and feign yawns because Pederson's name and resumé carry relatively little cachet.
Twitter Reacts to Eagles hiring Doug Pederson as next head coach from Philly.com
On the same day the 49ers hired Chip Kelly, Les Bowen of the Daily News is reporting that the Eagles will hire Doug Pederson to fill their head coaching vacancy.
Pederson, the offensive coordinator for Kansas City, won't be formerly hired until the Chiefs are eliminated from the playoffs. But that didn't stop people from reacting instantly to the news on Twitter.
Eagles' hiring of Pederson the Reid option from Philly.com
IF THE Eagles truly are trying to recapture the tenure of former head coach Andy Reid with the reported imminent hiring of Kansas City Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, why would that be a bad thing?
Count me among those who felt that Reid had run his course with the Eagles when he was fired after the 2012 season, but that doesn't negate the success he had with the Birds.
Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots Preview from The New York Times
The game is likely to be decided by the health of New England's top receivers, Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski, who are listed as questionable. They are expected to play, but if they are limited or forced to leave the game, Kansas City can pull off an upset. If they are reasonably healthy, the Patriots should advance.
The New England Patriots Belichick Era Hasn't Been Kind To Kansas City Chiefs from CBS Seattle
It Will Come Down To Alex Smith
Kansas City QB Alex Smith tossed his first NFL postseason interception last week in the Chiefs 30-0 blowout win over the Texans on the road. He has a career postseason QB rating of 107.0 now, which is higher than Brady's career mark (89.0)âalbeit in significantly fewer games. If Smith can play error-free football on Saturday, the Chiefs have an excellent chance of extending their win streak to 12 games. Smith's whole game is predicated on mistake-free play, so as long as K.C. Head Coach Andy Reid can keep his QB's head straight, the Chiefs should be good to go on Saturday.
What They're Saying: Kansas City Chiefs from Patriots.com
On if there is more pressure to score against New England...
"Yeah, you're always trying to score. Every time you get the football you're trying to go out there and score. For us, we're getting ready to play their defense, we're not playing their offense. No, so I don't think the mentality changes at all."
- Chiefs QB Alex Smith
Patriots Locker Room Quotes 1/14 from Patriots.com
DEFENSIVE END ROB NINKOVICH
(On practicing in the stadium)
"We haven't played at home in a while, so the lighting, the return guys seeing the ball, it's a little bit different than being out on our practice field, so being in the stadium definitely helps with the special teams guys and vision of the football."
(On corralling Alex Smith)
"You have to be smart. You can't obviously be too aggressive and let him step up and run for first downs and you can't just stand there and let him pat the ball. It's definitely a balance that you have to be smart as a unit collectively rushing the quarterback."
Meet the Kansas City Chiefs' 'Cat Suit Guy,' same as the Royals' Cat Suit Guy from FOX Sports
Turns out the Kansas City Royals' "Cat Suit Guy" is a two-sport athlete/celebrity.
His name is John Stoner -- his real name as far as we can tell and not a moniker referencing a popular hobby. He's a die-hard fan of the Chiefs -- and the Royals, of course.
Stoner's decision to wear a onesie at a professional sports game occurred as many other great ideas do: he was just browsing the Internet, as he explained to FOX4KC in Oct. 2014.
Chiefs-Patriots Key Matchup: Tom Brady vs. Kansas City's pass rush from CBS Sports
Brady completed a far greater percentage of his passes, for significantly more yards per attempt, when under pressure this season than he did over the previous three. Those passes also turned into touchdowns at a much greater rate (7.9 percent vs. 2.6 percent) and interceptions at a far lower rate (1.6 percent vs. 2.7 percent) than they did over the previous three years.
All of that, once again, brings us to this weekend's game. The Patriots will line up on Saturday against the Kansas City Chiefs, owners of arguably the NFL's best defense over the past three months -- a defense that sports a monster pass rush similar to the Baltimore team Brady was getting ready to face just over a year ago.
How an NFL Star Worked Out During Chemotherapy from The Wall Street Journal
Berry elected to get all of his chemotherapy treatments through separate intravenous injections, or IVs, in his arms, not through the standard method of delivery, a so-called PICC line, which leaves a catheter in the body between treatments. The catheter is generally preferred because neither patients nor medical providers want to deal with needles and vein-punctures at each visit. But the problem for Berry, Flowers said, is that the catheter comes with a prohibition against heavy lifting - anything more than 10 pounds or a "heavy bag of groceries." That just wasn't going to work for Berry.
"Eric Berry is a guy who normally works out for his lunch break," said Chiefs cornerback Sean Smith, a friend of Berry's. "He's not going to stop working out just because he's fighting death."
KSHB Photo Gallery: Go Chiefs! Kansas City pets show their pride
KSHB Video: A look at how Kansas City is going red for the Chiefs
P&L District to host watch party for Chiefs fans from FOX4KC
The Chiefs fly out to New England Friday morning.
The Patriots are favored to win the game by five points, but New England's offense is banged up and with the Chiefs defense playing like it has during this 11 game winning streak, this is a game the Chiefs can win.
"This city has some kind of magic going on right now," Galan said. "First time in forever that both of our Royals and Chiefs have made noise in the playoffs and it's just a good thing for the city, man. It's a good time, a good time to be a fan."
During fight for survival, fan support fuels Chiefs radio producer's return to the booth from FOX4KC
The Kansas City Chiefs are one win away from their first AFC Championship game in 22 years. One member of the Chiefs broadcast team is waging his own far more important battle -- for survival.
Dan Israel's life revolves around football talk, but now, his life is on the line. Israel, 51, has worked as the Chiefs Radio executive producer for 26 seasons. He didn't miss a single broadcast for the first 25 of them, dating back to 1989. He can count 512 consecutive gamedays he spent on the radio in Chiefs Kingdom.
Israel remembers August, when the Chiefs were in training camp, and he was contending with persistent stomach pain. It turned out to be stage-three colorectal cancer.
Keller @ Large: Ready For Patriots Playoff Run from CBS Boston
We don't know what's been going on in practice behind closed doors these past two weeks, but if they were playing patty-cake, I doubt Gronk - or, as the late, great Mayor Tom Menino loved to call him, Gonk - would have gotten banged up.
I am encouraged by the intense look in Julian Edelman's eyes during his TV interviews, and by Belichick's very own black eye, which I believe he got from falling asleep watching too much video and bouncing it off the desk.
Could they lose to a red-hot Kansas City team? Yes, they could.
But they won't.
NFL Divisional Round game picks: Home teams own weekend from NFL.com
Call it a Stephen Gostkowski kinda game. That's not a bad thing, as he is the top kicker in pro football. ( Dan Bailey and Justin Tucker are hopping on Twitter right about... now!) These two teams present the best of both worlds regarding the bye/non-bye conundrum. Everyone suspects a team like the Patriots would want that darn off week. Agreed. Health is of primary concern for the entire receiving corps, particularly tight end Rob Gronkowski. Meanwhile, the hottest team in pro football doesn't want to let the playoff meal get lukewarm. I've heard many players say that as nice as it is to get the time off, many of the ailments these guys are dealing with won't fully heal without a month off. So, both the Pats and Chiefs are in the best situation for their situation.
The meat and potatoes of this matchup really boils down to the meat-and-potatoes guys: thePatriots' O-line. They have started a different group multiple times, and thus the offense struggled late in the year (especially sans Julian Edelman). How they fare against a now-healthy Chiefs pass rush will determine the outcome of the game. With Edelman back in the fold, Tom Brady should be able to get the ball out quick to mitigate the pressure. Still, Justin Houston, Tamba Hali and Dee Ford will be a pressure cooker. (Over/under on cooking analogies in this article was set at eight. Will we get there??? Stay tuned!)
If you can't stop Dontari Poe, you can't stop the Chiefs from SB Nation
Second-and-goal saw comedy turn into disaster when Brian Hoyer -- lined up in shotgun to advertise "Hey, we as a team are about to make another bad decision!" -- was intercepted for the third time (!) in the first half, this time by Chiefs linebacker Josh Mauga in the end zone. Had he just thrown the ball away, the Texans had another down to try to get it in the end zone. Even if they failed on third down, they could've at least cut the Chiefs' lead to 10 right before halftime. That could've been huge seeing as how the Texans were getting the ball to start the second half. The one thing he could not do in that situation was throw it to the other team.
But he did.
Everybody remembers that play because it was so indicative of Houston's overall epic failure, but do you remember who it was that pressured Hoyer into that interception in the first place? That's right, it was that big ass nose tackle Poe who was coming for him.
Robert Kraft: 'Lack of egos' key to New England Patriots success from Sky Sports
The Patriots are looking to win their fifth Super Bowl under Kraft's ownership. The billionaire invited Sky Sports' Jim White to go behind the scenes at the franchise for a documentary to be shown before Saturday's clash against the Kansas City Chiefs.
Football: Super Bowl will be broadcast in cinemas from Manaus from Portal Amazon [translated from the original Portuguese]
MANAUS - lovers football in Manaus will enjoy the Super Bowl this year in a different way: on the big screen of movie theaters. The Kinoplex (Amazonas Shopping) and the UCI (Kapok Park Shopping) transmit, on 7 February, the duel to decide the champion of the NFL, the largest American football league in the world. Tickets cost R $ 60 (full price) and R $ 30 (half price).