3 Reasons Why The New England Patriots will beat the Chiefs
The presumptive MVP will take on the most successful dynasty in recent NFL history here as the Kansas City Chiefs host the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship with a spot in the Super Bowl on the line. Both teams are coming off convincing divisional round victories, with the Chiefs pummeling the Colts while the Patriots demolished the Chargers. While oddsmakers have the Chiefs as slight favorites, the Patriots will end up playing in their third straight Super Bowl. Here are three reasons why the New England Patriots will beat the Chiefs.
Patrick Mahomes’ inexperience
I love Patrick Mahomes as much as the next guy, but he won’t win here. At the end of the day, it’s still a player in his first full season as a starter going up against Tom Brady, and I think Mahomes will wilt under the added pressure. Quietly, Mahomes hasn’t played his best in big games this year. For example, the Chiefs went just 2-4 this year in primetime games, and while Mahomes was never terrible, he had some of his worst games in primetime.
Even in one of their victories in primetime, in Week 4 against the Broncos, he had one of his worst games and averaged just 6.8 yards per attempt, his worst figure of the season. He also wasn’t great in his first playoff game, again averaging just 6.8 yards per attempt without any passing touchdowns. He’ll need to do a lot more here if the Chiefs are going to win this game, and I think we could be in for a dud from Mahomes.
The Patriots’ Resurgent Pass-Rush
As usual, the Patriots saved their best play on both sides of the ball for late in the season. In particular the pass-rush has been heating up after a slow start, and that will be the key here. The key to beating any young quarterback is getting consistent pressure, and I think the Patriots will be able to do that here. They completely dominated the Chargers’ O-line, and had Philip Rivers running for his life the entire game. They generated 27 pressures against the Chargers, which was their highest total of the season. If they can come anywhere close to replicating that number of pressures, they’ll throw Mahomes out of sync and easily win this game.
The Chiefs’ defense is still a liability
While it was nice to see Kansas City’s defensive effort against Indianapolis, I’m not drawing too many conclusions from it. It showed us more that the Colts were just overrated and hadn’t played anyone good in months than anything else. The Chiefs’ defense is still among the worst in the league, and should get gashed by Brady and co. here. The only strength of this Kansas City defense is their pass-rush, which should be neutralized by a Patriots offensive line that is playing out of their mind right now. This Patriots O-line didn’t allow Brady to get touched last week by Joey Bosa or Melvin Ingram, so I have a hard time believing that Justin Houston or Dee Ford are going to be able to get home against Brady here. With plenty of time to throw, Brady will pick apart this awful Chiefs secondary that will again be missing Eric Berry. The Chiefs’ run defense is also one of the worst in the league, and Sony Michel should run wild on it.