Chiefs-Patriots Preview: AFC Heavyweights Set To Battle

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Jan 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) scrambles away from New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich (50) during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional round playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 16, 2016; Foxborough, MA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) scrambles away from New England Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich (50) during the fourth quarter in the AFC Divisional round playoff game at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Can the Chiefs take down the defending champions? The Chiefs will get the first shot as they face the New England Patriots in week one of the regular season. The Patriots completed arguably the best comeback in Super Bowl history, as the Atlanta Falcons blew a 28-3 lead last year. All the Patriots’ Super Bowl victories have come under Bill Belichick and the leadership of Tom Brady, as this will be the fifth time that New England will raise a championship banner.


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Primetime Tale of the Tape

Since becoming head coach in Kansas City, Andy Reid is 5-6 in primetime games. Bill Belichick, on the other hand, is 44-20 in primetime games since his tenure with New England began in 2000. In these two teams most recent primetime meeting, the Chiefs defeated the Patriots 41-14 on Monday Night Football at Arrowhead Stadium in week four of 2014. These two teams will be on display in primetime more than most teams this season. The Chiefs will play six primetime games and the Patriots have five primetime games on their schedule.

Battle of the 87’s

Travis Kelce and Rob Gronkowski are debated by some fans as to who is the best tight end in the NFL. Kelce has often been referred to as “baby Gronk”, and Kelce has previously stated how much he dislikes that montra. Kelce has continued to improve year after year for the Chiefs. Gronkowski has had to deal with injuries the last few years, but when healthy he is almost unstoppable. These two will have a lot of eyes on them in this one, as they could each have the biggest offensive day for their respective teams.

What will the Chiefs defense be able to stop?

The Patriots already had a lot of weapons for Tom Brady last season, but they may be more dynamic this season. The Patriots added wide receiver Brandin Cooks in a trade with New Orleans, who is a speed demon and has made corners look silly on vertical routes. The running backs are even deeper with the addition of Rex Burkhead. These Patriots running backs will have to make up for eighteen touchdowns that will be lost from LeGarrette Blount, who signed with Philadelphia in the offseason. The Chiefs defense is aggressive, but can they keep up with all these weapons of New England.

Can the Chiefs get over the hump?

The Chiefs have been good, but not great since Alex Smith and Andy Reid have come to town. This is only game one of sixteen, but a competitive showing by the Chiefs could be a sign to if the Chiefs are going to be a Super Bowl contender or pretender this season. The Patriots are obviously tough at home, and they have not lost a home opener since 2012. The current spread going into this matchup has the Patriots favored by nine points, which makes this a very intriguing matchup to watch.

The Chiefs opened the 2007 season in New England, but that was a long time ago. A lot has changed for both franchises and in the nature of NFL play. The aura that is magnifying this game seems like it is the game all fans will want to see this week. Week one is here and it’s time to see these two dominant forces square off.

Braden Holecek is a writer for cover32 Chiefs. You can follow him on Twitter here.

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