The stakes don’t get much higher than this. New England hosts Kansas City in a rematch of last year’s AFC Championship Game. The Patriots look to stay on top of the AFC East, while the Chiefs will look to steal the division round bye from the Patriots and clinch their own division title. It’s a clash between two AFC playoff contenders and Al Mac is here to breakdown the game from kick off to handshakes.
Kansas City Chiefs (8-4) vs. New England Patriots (10-2)
Sunday, December 8 at 4:25 PM ET (CBS), Gillette Stadium
Chiefs Keep Chugging Along
After going on a stretch of just two wins in a span of six games, the Chiefs hammered off two impressive victories vs the Chargers and Raiders. While on the defensive side of the football, after starting the season as a liability, the Chiefs defense is starting to wake up and keep pace to the offense of their opponents.
Patrick Mahomes has thrown for 2983 yards so far this season with 20 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Leading the way on the ground, RB LeSean McCoy has 587 total yards with five touchdowns. Meanwhile, TE Travis Kelce has put up 923 receiving yards with 4 touchdowns.
The Chiefs will be looking to solidify themselves as division title holders this weekend- which they can do with a loss by the Raiders and a win over the Patriots. In that case – the Chiefs will clinch the AFC West division title, for the fourth straight year. Meanwhile, Patrick Mahomes has put up decent numbers against New England in his career. In their two meetings last year. Mahomes put up a combined 647 passing yards, with seven touchdowns and just one interception. If the Patriots D can’t contain the barrage of offensive skill from the Chiefs. It could be a long night in Foxborough.
Patriots Have Put Faith in the GOAT
New England looked to be another juggernaut Patriots team early in the season putting up a quick 8-0 record. Although, after losses to the Ravens and the Texans, the now 10-2 Pats are looking behind their shoulder at Buffalo who has moved within one game of their AFC East division lead. The Patriots have won 11 straight AFC titles are hoping to make it 12, but any loss in the final few weeks of the season paired with a Bills win would potentially put an end to that title streak.
The Patriots have shown to be vulnerable especially on the offensive side of the football, but as the football world has come to know time and time again; Counting out Tom Brady is never a good idea. Although, the man people call ‘the GOAT’ has looked less than average while working with a somewhat misfit group of skill players on the offense.
Brady without question has struggled as of late, with an 18:6 touchdown to interception ratio – Brady will be looking to bounce back from a docile performance he had against the Texans. The offensive weapons have been touch and go for the Patriots. RB Sony Michel has put up 719 yards for 6 touchdowns, while star receiver Julian Edelman has 915 reception yards for fove touchdowns.
The Patriots have beaten up on teams with losing records all season long, but since the end of their eight-game winning streak to start the season – the offense has sputtered and stalled. In their last four games, the Patriots have averaged just 18 points per game. That lack of offensive firepower from the Patriots has put some added pressure on their defense which started the season looking like an all-time defensive unit, has loosened up slightly while still remaining the #1 defense in the NFL.
Trends Worth Tracking
Kansas City Chiefs
ATS on ROAD: 4-2
ATS as DOG: 1-1
Over on Road: 3-3
New England Patriots
ATS as FAVS: 7-5
Under @ Home: 3-2
ATS @ Home: 3-2
Road Dogs ATS: 70-47-4, +15.97u
Road Teams ATS: 106-82-4, +14.46u
Dogs ATS: 105-83-4, +12.55u
Road Dogs ML: 45-77, +5.01u
Dogs ML: 69-123-1, +3.46
Road Teams ML: 88-102-1, +2.18u
TeamRankings.com has the Patriots as the #2 team in the NFL and the Chiefs as the #4 rated team. This is a rating I do agree with, as even with all the offensive weapons that the Chiefs have – the real knock on their ability to win important games is their defense.
Even though the Patriots have struggled as of late on the offensive side of the football, putting added pressure on the New England defense; The D has still managed to hold the #1 position in the defensive ratings almost fully across the board. The Patriots have only allowed an average of just 12.1 points per game all season, and an average of just 258 yards allowed per game. Giving them a defensive efficiency of 49.8% – the best in the NFL.
In contrast to New England, the Chiefs are down in the mid-range when it comes to defensive efficiency and based on my defensive ratings (via SparkSports.ca) I have the Chiefs rated as the #16 defense in the league. The Chiefs allow 22.1 points per game, and on average 372.1 yards per game, giving them a defensive efficiency of 27.1%, which is far worse than what the Patriots juggernaut defense has been able to do this season. In my opinion, the difference in the defense is going to be what sets these two teams apart in this game.
Based on my defensive efficiency power ratings (via SparkSports.ca) I have the Patriots winning this game by a margin of up to 13 points. With the line opening at -3.5 and moving to -3, I think there is alot of value on a Patriots team that is in a buy low position vs a Chiefs team that may be peaking at the wrong time of the year.
As far as the total goes, this one opened up at 49.5 and has since moved to 48.5. With the Patriots only giving up on average 12 points per game and coming off of a poor performance vs the Texans – I think the Chiefs will struggle to put up the kind of offensive numbers that they have in more recent games. Games go under when the Patriots cover the spread and I think they will be able to do so vs a rival they have otherwise dominated for almost a decade.
I see the Patriots winning this game by more than a touchdown, but the score staying about 10 points or two touchdowns short of the total of 48.5. Give me the Patriots in a buy low, sell high spot vs the Chiefs this weekend.
Al Mac’s Best Bets:
1.7% – Patriots/Chiefs u49 (-107) via Pinnacle
1% – Patriots -3 (-112) via Pinnacle
Score Prediction: Patriots win: 24-10
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