If the Chiefs offense records its fourth 40-point game against the Patriots, the people shouting from the rooftops that the Patriots defense just bullied bad teams in the first half will be proved right. But if the Chiefs play well but the Patriots win because Belichick managed the clock better than Reid, we will learn that nothing has changed.
Chiefs +3 at Patriots
The Chiefs offense wasn’t spectacular last week but still put up 30-plus points without even trying. They face a much tougher defense this week but also a more limited offense. If the Patriots have to play from behind at all, they are cooked. Yes, the Chiefs can struggle against the run, but New England can’t run the ball. I think Steve Spagnuolo is going to be able to exploit a few things with New England’s offensive line, and unless Patrick Mahomes is throwing pick-sixes, I don’t see how the Patriots can keep up with the Chiefs scoring.
Andy Reid’s Chiefs match what Texans did last week vs. Pats
I’m already on the edge of my seat waiting for this weekend’s rematch of last season’s AFC title game. This time, the Patriots boast the No. 1 scoring defense, and Patrick Mahomes isn’t the favorite to win league MVP. Speaking of that New England defense, it has allowed just eight touchdown passes in 12 games, but four of those came last week against Houston, as four different Texans notched TD receptions (including Deshaun Watson). The Chiefs match what the Texans did and get four players with receiving scores on the stat sheet.
NFL On CBS lead play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz has been impressed with the Chiefs defense of late. “That defense definitely is playing at a higher level than not only what we saw from Kansas City earlier this year but from what we saw in the playoffs last year against the Patriots and what we saw in the regular season against New England. They have gotten that side of the ball in a better place.”
The Patriots traditionally bounce back well from losses, and Brady said it was because Bill Belichick puts the team in the proper frame of mind.
”There’s been a lot of urgency, I think, both when we win and when we lose,” Brady said. “Coach puts us right back into the mode of preparation, and gets us ready to play a game. This is a big one, it’s on our schedule next, and it’s a big challenge for us.”
The Patriots released Folk last week after the kicker underwent an appendectomy. Folk worked out for the team Friday afternoon, was healthy and, after his signing becomes official Saturday, should kick for the team on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs.
New England brought in Kai Forbath for Week 13, then summarily released him this week after one game in which he made a 23-yard field goal but went 1 of 2 on extra-point tries.
5. Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs are getting healthy, especially on the offensive line, which is hugely important. However, something just feels off about this offense. Patrick Mahomes is putting up ridiculous numbers this season, but he too often drifts out of the pocket when he doesn’t need to, and he ends up in a poor position to make throws. His arm strength and side arm slot can only go so far. The Kansas City OL being healthy should help with this pocket anxiety.
And if it does, watch out, because the Chiefs have sneakily been a great team against the pass. Football Outsiders has their pass defense rated at sixth in the NFL. I’m not sure many people realize they’ve been playing that well. Also, the Chiefs have beaten the Ravens this season, so they know how to attempt to stop their offense if they meet again in January.
So why wasn’t Morten Andersen, whose records for field goals and points scored were broken by Vinatieri, the other kicker chosen? Mostly because Andersen spent all but three seasons of his 25-season career playing for teams with domes. And Jan Stenerud, the first kicker ever elected to the Hall of Fame, spent all but two of his 19 seasons in the nightmare conditions of Kansas City and Green Bay.
It could, of course. Multiple sources interviewed for this story said teams are still likely to lean toward offensive-minded coaches in their January searches. Team owners and general managers want fresh ideas on how to score more and more points, and those who have guided this year’s successful offenses likely will get looks. Offensive coordinators such as Greg Roman (Ravens), Eric Bieniemy (Chiefs), Kevin Stefanski (Vikings), Nick Sirianni (Colts) and mercurial favorite Josh McDaniels (Patriots) are expected to get phone calls and interest and likely interviews.
Around the NFL
Ravens -5.5 at Bills
Pete Prisco argued the Bills will bracket Mark Andrews and let someone sit outside to watch Lamar when he reads the end on defense. That’s fine, but it then creates a major numbers problem for the rest of the Bills defense if the Ravens offensive line wins their battle. It’s going to be an awesome game and there will be tons of runs. There won’t be any rain, but it’s expected to be 19-plus mph winds the whole time. Whoever gets down early in this game will be in trouble against a pair of great pass defences.
The interview got off to a rocky start, with Jones telling the hosts to “get your damn act together” and saying he didn’t like their attitude. Later in the interview, Jones used the word “bulls---” twice, leading the call to be disconnected after a delay button was used in each instance.
He is much better than Flacco when he’s healthy, and would instantly make Denver a force on offense. He would break the procession of failed quarterback experiments and probably save Elway’s career — if Newton can remain healthy, that is. His health will be the biggest issue for every team that considers him for 2020.
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McCoy was once again on the field for less than 40% of the snaps against the Raiders. He had five carries for 10 yards.
“He did a nice job and had productive runs today,” said Andy Reid after the game. “Look, we’re not fooling anybody here and he’s not getting any younger. It’s my responsibility to manage him the best I can and I think I know him as well as anybody. I’m going to do what I think is right on that and if it’s wrong then it’s my fault and I’ll take that on my shoulders. I know he wants to play every play. He loves to play, but I also have to trust what I do on that part.”
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