But the Patriots have beaten the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers this season, showing that, with good defense and coaching, anything is possible on any given Sunday. On this Sunday, however, it was the Chiefs' turn to disappoint the New England faithful with a flurry of scoring before and after halftime.
The trademark issues were still on offense, but they kept fighting through them. It also felt like they made progress on finding the right roles for some of the young (and old) Chiefs.
Here are a few who stood out as the Chiefs beat the Patriots 27-17:
Running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire: It's a luxury to have a former first-round pick at the running back position sitting on the bench. But games like this show why keeping numbers at the position makes sense. Edwards-Helaire put together a 100-total-yard game this week with a highlight-reel catch for a touchdown. He also had the game's longest play with an incredibly well-blocked screen play that he took for 48 yards. Edwards-Helaire isn't great at everything, but he showed what he does best this week — catch the ball, run downhill and sometimes make guys miss.
Running back Jerick McKinnon: This game also showed the ideal role for McKinnon. Perhaps he doesn't have the same level of burst he used to have, but he showed off all the tools in this game. McKinnon's eight touches resulted in a passing touchdown and a receiving touchdown, albeit for limited yardage. Heading into the postseason, it seems like Jet is going to have a valuable role once again.
Wide receiver Rashee Rice: The Chiefs have a No. 1 receiver this season, and he caught all nine of his targets on Sunday, turning them into 91 yards and a touchdown. Rashee Rice has already put together one of the best rookie seasons of any receiver to play for Andy Reid. It hasn't been perfect (he recovered his own fumble this week), but he's getting more comfortable playing out of structure with Patrick Mahomes, and he's making plays every single week. He's heads and shoulders above the rest of the wide receiver room already, and the arrow is still pointing up for Rice.
Linebacker Willie Gay, Jr.: This looked like a pretty good game from the entire linebacker room, as Leo Chenal batted a pass, Drue Tranquill got a sack, and Bolton looked a bit more like himself. But Gay's interception early in the third quarter allowed the Chiefs to push to a two-score game. Then the defense would go on to force four punts and a turnover on downs in the last five New England drives. Gay also had a batted pass in this game, really showing his ability to contribute when opponents pass.
EDGE Charles Omenihu: We also could have selected a number of Chiefs defensive linemen this week. Derrick Nnadi was credited with a sack, Chris Jones was dominant at times and Mike Danna was disruptive as well. But this week's winner was Omenihu, who had a really good rush around the edge and got a sack and nearly a fumble to help end a Patriots drive in the third quarter. When this group is getting after opposing quarterbacks, everything is easier for the Chiefs' defense, and Omenihu is going to be a significant factor in how they close the season.
Defensive back L'Jarius Sneed: Sneed led the team with nine total tackles, two for a loss, and broke up two passes on the day. The announcers noticed what we all know to be a fact— there's no defensive back that tackles quite like Sneed. Sure, there was one play where he got turned around on a prayer of a Bailey Zappe pass, but Sneed made his presence felt in a big way on Sunday.
Wide receiver Kadarius Toney: Emblematic of the struggles we've seen from this entire position group, Toney still couldn't get out of his own way to contribute in a positive fashion. This week, it was a pass going off of his hands and his head, his hands again — then into the arms of a Patriots linebacker. Mahomes was visibly upset on the sidelines, and for good reason. The four times he targeted Toney resulted in two catches for five yards and that interception. Not good.
Tight end Blake Bell: With the Patriots having just tied the game at seven, Mahomes targeted the big tight end over the middle on first down. Bell was outmuscled by the linebacker, Marte Mapu, resulting in a first and goal that could have swung the momentum in the direction of the home team. Luckily, the defense held for a field goal, and the offense got on track, not targeting Bell again.
Right tackle Jawaan Taylor: The penalties continue to come, and at terrible times. Taylor missed a couple of blocks as well, but that can be forgiven easier than drive-killing penalties at a league-leading pace.
Note: Applying the labels "winners" and "losers" is not intended to be a judgment on the talent or character of any of these players. It's just a simple way to grade their performance in a single game. No disrespect is intended.