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NFL playoff predictions: Chiefs-Patriots picks are split

It's Chiefs-Patriots week and we're predicting the winner of the game. The Patriots are only 4.5-point favorites at home so the Vegas odds aren't too far off for the Chiefs.

Let's get to it as the Arrowhead Pride staff picks the game...

Joel Thorman: Chiefs 23 Patriots 20

Half homer pick, half "You know, the Chiefs really can win this game" pick. The Chiefs weren't supposed to win without Jamaal Charles or Justin Houston at the end of the season. The ride continues.

MNChiefsfan: Chiefs 24 Patriots 27

I want to believe. I really do. Maybe I've been hurt too many times before and a part of me is holding back. But the Patriots at Foxboro in January? I just don't think this team is quite there yet.

Maybe if the offensive line and Jeremy Maclin weren't the walking wounded, or if Jamaal Charles (as much as I love Ware and West) was still healthy. But I just don't see the Chiefs pulling it out.

The funny thing is that I don't have a ton of FOOTBALL reasons to be pessimistic. The Patriots offensive line is a disaster. Edelman is back, but hasn't played in months. Brady is great, sure, but it's been shown time and again that if you bring the heat and lock down their short routes (you know, kinda the way people play the Chiefs) that offense can be hindered.

On the other side of the ball, the Patriots haven't been as successful on defense as the Texans. But for some reason I think they'll have more luck slowing the Chiefs down. At least in part that stems from my belief that Belichick is going to go all out to stop Smith from scrambling and without Maclin... well, I just don't know if the Chiefs have the horses.

If by some miracle Maclin plays and is able to be himself? Chiefs 27, Pats 24. He means that much to the offense. But as things stand, I just don't see it.

Matt Conner: Chiefs 15 Patriots 14

I have been a believer for a while. This team is good. Really good. They coasted into the postseason with close wins over horrible teams, but when it counts, they know how to show up. This defense is the NFL's best. If you have a weakness, they will expose it. If you make a mistake, they will capitalize. On the flip side, they are facing the most intelligent team in the NFL. If there's going to be a team that treats the Chiefs the same way in terms of exposing weaknesses and capitalizing on errors, it will be the Pats. This will be close, but if the Chiefs can pull it out, they will win the Lombardi Trophy.

Stagdsp: Chiefs 27 Patriots 17

Never bet against the Patriots in the playoffs. Between Brady, Gronk, Belichick and the cheating, they are tough to beat. That said, if the Chiefs are able to do what they do they have a real shot. The Chiefs are playing aggressive, nasty, opportunistic football in all three phases of the game. The OL and DL are peaking at the right time.  They have a chance to physically beat up the Pats and dictate the game. New England is getting healthier, which is a concern. Facing them at home at full strength won't be easy. If the good guys can avoid a shootout, run the ball and play aggressive ... watch out.

NJChiefsfan: Chiefs 30 Patriots 20

Andy Reid dials up just enough misdirection to allow the Chiefs RBs to punish an off-balance Pats D. Tom Brady stomps his foot and pouts because his O-line can't get the job done. Turns out he's right... the Kansas City Chiefs force other teams to play bad football.

Super G: Chiefs 31 Patriots 17

The Chiefs will get ahead early and never look back. Tom Brady is in rare form as he fumbles once and throws an interception. The pass rush causes problems for Brady all game. The offense does just enough to win.

Clay Wendler: Chiefs 13 Patriots 27

The Chiefs don't just have the firepower in this one with a hobbled Jeremy Maclin, not to mention their top two pass rushers still ailing. The Brian Hoyers, Tyrod Taylors, Johnny Manziels and Jimmy Clausens of the world are gone at this stage, leaving only Tom Brady, and that spells for doom for a Chiefs team that really hasn't faced a really good quarterback on a winning team since they were 1-5. The fantasy ends here: this isn't a Super Bowl contender.

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