The AFC Championship game is now set and it is the two teams pretty much everyone was expecting: The New England Patriots and the Kansas City Chiefs. The Patriots and Chiefs played earlier this season at Gillette Stadium and the Patriots came away with a 43-40 victory on a last second Stephen Gostkowski field goal. A lot of people are thinking Kansas City will run away with the rematch very easily. Tom Brady says not so fast!
Brady isn’t wrong! A lot of people do think the Patriots suck on the road. They kind of did this year, going 3-5 on the road including horrible losses to teams that didn’t even make the playoffs (Jaguars, Lions, Titans, Dolphins, and Steelers). Of course, if it isn’t for the Miami Miracle (thanks Kenyon Drake), the Patriots would be playing at Foxboro on Sunday. Sadly, they have to go to Arrowhead. With that in mind, let’s take a look at both teams going into Sunday’s tilt.
New England Patriots
The Patriots are the underdogs in this game, which is an uncommon place to be in if you are a Patriots fan like I am. The Patriots once again have one of the top offense in the league. They established a running game this season, as they were 5th in the NFL in rushing yards per game with 127.3. They also finished 8th in passing yards per game with 266.1.
Not bad for a quarterback that’s about to fall off the cliff, right Max Kellerman?
It is no secret that Kellerman is one of many Patriots critics. But enough about him, back to the Patriots! The Patriots were 21st in the league on defense in yards given up per game with 359.1. However, the defense took a step in the right direction on Sunday as they only allowed 7 first half points to a very talented Los Angeles Chargers offense. So if a guy like Stephon Gilmore can make some big plays against Kansas City like he did against the Chargers, the Patriots could be in better shape on defense than people think.
Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs were the AFC’s best team in 2018 with a 12-4 record. Their offense was electric, no other way to put it. They led the NFL in yards per game, averaging 425 of them, pretty good. They also had this quarterback named Patrick Mahomes who has been doing some special things with the football in his hands this season.
Patrick Mahomes is a future star in the NFL, there is no denying that. His 66% completion percentage, 50 touchdowns and 12 interceptions can back that up. He also has a wide receiver in Tyreek Hill, who is a three time Pro Bowler and had 12 touchdowns this season. Hill has breakaway speed and can get to the endzone just about whenever he wants to.
For as great as the Chiefs offense was, their defense lacked behind. They were next to last in the league in several categories, including total yards given up (6,488), and yards per game (405.5). The Chiefs defense did hold the Colts to 13 points in the divisional round, so they proved they can shut down a good offense.
So it’s very simple. Two high powered offenses and two average defenses are going head to head for the right to play the Saints or Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Brady vs. Mahomes, Belichick vs. Reid, Gronkowski vs. Kelce, the list goes on and on! For now, let’s enjoy the week and be ready for a sure to be classic on Sunday at 6:40 pm, EST.
Official Prediction: Chiefs 31 Patriots 21 (Hopefully, I’m wrong though!)
-Alan Nahigian (BigAl2793)
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