Kansas City Chiefs at New England Patriots
Thursday, September 7, 2017, 8:30 pm Eastern, TV: NBC
Gillette Stadium – Foxboro, Massachusetts
Opening Line: New England -7 (-115)
Current Line: New England -9 (-115)
Opening Total: 48
Current Total: 48 1/2
Opening Money Line: Patriots -390 / Chiefs +310
Opening Money Line: Patriots -440 / Chiefs +350
The last time the New England Patriots took the field in a game that actually mattered, they put the finishing touches on a 34-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons in overtime in Super Bowl LI in Houston last February. The Patriots were down 28-3 in the third quarter before mounting the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history. It was the fifth Super Bowl in the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady era for the Patriots.
New England kicks off defense of their title Thursday night as they host the Kansas City Chiefs. Kansas City leads the series against New England 17-14-3. The Patriots have beaten the Chiefs in seven of the last ten games, and in three of the last four games. The Patriots won the last meeting 27-20 in the 2016 AFC Divisional Playoffs. The only Kansas City win in the last four games was a memorable Monday night game in 2014 that the Chiefs won 41-14. Tom Brady was actually benched in that game and many thought it was near the end of his brilliant career. The now 40 year old Brady has won two Super Bowls since then.
Kansas City is coached by Andy Reid. Kansas City won the AFC West with a 12-4 record. The Chiefs lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers 18-16 in the Divisional playoffs. Kansas City was 9-8 ATS last year and the total was 6-11 last year. The Chiefs went 2-2 in the pre-season including a 30-6 win over the Tennessee Titans last Thursday.
New England is coached by Bill Belichick. The Patriots won their eight straight AFC East title last year with a 14-2 record. New England was 16-3 ATS and the total was 9-10 last year.
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Kansas City outscored teams 24-19 last season. The Chiefs averaged 346 total yards per game on offense including 245 passing and 110 rushing yards per game. Kansas City allowed 369 total yards per game on defense including 258 passing and 121 rushing. The Chiefs were 91/227 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 106/242. Kansas City forced 28 sacks and allowed 32 sacks last season. The Chiefs were +16 in turnovers and scored eight defensive/special teams touchdowns.
Quarterback Alex Smith completed 67.1% of his passes for 3,502 yards with 15 touchdowns and 8 interceptions, and had 48 carries for 134 yards and 5 touchdowns. Smith is the starter without question but he had to hold off hard charging rookie Patrick Mahomes for the job. Mahomes is the quarterback of the future
Running back Jamaal Charles is now with the rival Denver Broncos Running back Spencer Ware had 214 carries for 921 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also had 33 catches for 447 yards and 2 touchdowns. He suffered torn ligaments in his knee during the preseason and is out for the season. Charcandrick West had 88 carries for 293 yards and a touchdown, and also had 28 catches for 188 yards and 2 touchdowns. He is expected to split the carries at running back with rookie Kareem Hunt who is listed on top of the depth chart. C.J. Spiller will also get some carries. Anthony Sherman is the fullback.
Tight end Travis Kelce had 85 catches for 1,125 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is probable with a calf injury. Receiver Tyreek Hill had 61 catches for 593 yards and six touchdowns, plus 24 carries for 267 yards and three touchdowns. He also had a kick return and two punt returns all for touchdowns. Receiver Chris Conley had 44 catches for 530 yards. Albert Wilson had 31 catches for 279 yards and 2 touchdowns. Seven defensive players are listed on the injury report. Kicker Cairo Santos is probable with probable with a groin injury.
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The Patriots outscored opponents 28-16 last season. New England averaged 386 yards per game on offense including 269 passing and 117 rushing yards. The Patriots allowed 326 yards per game on defense including 238 passing and 89 rushing yards. The Patriots were 112/239 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 83/224. New England forced 24 sacks and allowed 34 last season. The Patriots were +12 in turnovers.
Tom Brady completed 67.4% of his passes for 3,554 yards with 28 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, along with 28 carries for 64 yards after coming back from a four game suspension. Jimmy Garoppolo and Jacoby Brissett started in place of Brady during his suspension. Garroppolo completed 42/60 passes (70%) for 496 yards and 4 touchdowns, and also has 7 carries for 8 yards.
Running back LaGarrette Blount had 299 carries for 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns, plus 7 catches for 38 yards. He is now with the Philadelphia Eagles. James White had 60 catches for 551 yards and 5 touchdowns. Dion Lewis has 64 carries for 283 yards, plus 17 carries for 94 yards. Both will start at running back. James Develin is the fullback.
Receiver Julian Edelman had 98 catches for 1,106 yards and 3 touchdowns and 12 carries for 57 yards. He suffered a torn ACL in the pre-seaason. Tight end Martellus Bennett has 55 catches for 701 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is now with the Green Bay Packers. Chris Hogan has 38 catches for 680 yards and 4 touchdowns. Malcolm Mitchell has 32 catches for 401 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is questionable with a knee injury. The Patriots acquired Brandin Cooks from the New Orleans Saints. Danny Amendola has 23 catches for 243 yards and 4 touchdowns. Tight end Rob Gronkowski has 25 catches for 540 yards and 3 touchdowns. He returns from a back injury that kept him out of a sizable portion of last season. Nine defensive players and three offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
Kansas City is 6-0 ATS in road games, 5-2 overall, and 1-4 in September.
New England is 6-0 ATS on fieldturf, 5-0 in September, 18-6-2 at home, 18-7-2 against AFC teams, and 34-16-2 overall. The home team is 4-1 ATS in this series. The Patriots are 7-3 ATS against the Chiefs recently including 1-4 in Foxboro.
The Patriots will unveil their championship banner and could have a hangover from the celebration. Could is the key word, and I don’t see it happening. KC hangs around for a while but New England pulls away in the end.