HERE’S WHY PATRIOTS WILL BEAT THE CHIEFS 24-17

Kansas City at New England
When: 4:35 PM ET, Saturday, January 16
Where: Gillette Stadium, Foxborough
TV: CBS3
LINE: Patriots -5. O/U: 42 1/2
By Harry Allison

The reigning AFC East-champion New England Patriots enjoyed a bye to begin the playoffs – and by all accounts, so did the red-hot Kansas City Chiefs. After breezing to a 30-0 victory over Houston last week, the Chiefs vie for their 12th straight win when they face the host Patriots on Saturday in a divisional-round clash.

“Typical Kansas City game – a lot of turnovers on defense, no turnovers on offense, capitalized on opponents’ mistakes and didn’t make any,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of the Chiefs’ convincing victory. “They’ve won a lot of games pretty much doing that.” Belichick has won quite a few games in his own right, and the cagey coach likely will have Julian Edelman (broken bone in foot) back in the lineup for the first time since Nov. 15. The shifty wideout helped the offense average 418.6 yards and 33.6 points during the team’s 9-0 start to the season, as opposed to 317.5 and 23.1 without him (3-4).

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (12-5): Alex Smith became one-dimensional in the passing attack last week after wideout Jeremy Maclin suffered a high-ankle sprain. Kansas City initially feared Maclin had endured the third right ACL injury of his career, but the 27-year-old’s availability for Saturday’s tilt remains clouded at best. When asked if Maclin could play without participating in practice, coach Andy Reid said: “He could do that. He might not have to do that, but he could do that.”

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS (12-4): Tom Brady threw for 4,770 yards this season, but the veteran quarterback may find the going tough against All-Pro safety Eric Berry, as well as cornerbacks Marcus Peters and Sean Smith. New England’s 30th-ranked rushing attack averaged just 87.8 yards per game, the team’s lowest since Belichick’s first year as head coach in 2000. Brandon Bolden, who has risen up the ranks in lieu of injuries to LeGarrette Blount and Dion Lewis, is averaging just 3.3 yards on 63 carries.

Kansas City TE Travis Kelce reeled in eight passes for 128 yards versus Houston, with the latter total trumping his combined production from the previous three weeks.

The Patriots rebounded after dropping a 41-14 decision to the Chiefs last season to win 13 of their next 15 games and capture the Super Bowl title.

New England won its previous two playoff games against teams riding double-digit winning streaks, besting Pittsburgh in 2004 and San Diego two years later.

PREDICTION: Patriots 24, Chiefs 17

STATS AND RECORDS
Team Comparison
W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
Kansas City 12-5 W11 25.6 16.9 6-2 6-3 11-3 0-0 11-2
New England 12-4 L2 29.1 19.7 7-1 5-3 1-2 1-0 9-3
Last Meeting
Kansas City New England
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
9/29/14 NE 14 KC 41 443 207 236 290 75 215
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Kansas City A. Smith 76.9 248 3 0
New England T. Brady 60.9 159 1 2
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Kansas City K. Davis 16 107 6.7 0
New England S. Ridley 5 28 5.6 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Kansas City T. Kelce 8 93 11.6 1
New England B. LaFell 6 119 19.8 1
Touchdowns Player TD
Kansas City J. Charles 3
New England R. Gronkowski 1
Season (Regular Season and Playoffs)
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Kansas City A. Smith 65.9 3676 21 8
New England T. Brady 64.4 4770 36 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Kansas City C. West 168 660 3.9 4
New England L. Blount 165 703 4.3 6
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Kansas City J. Maclin 90 1117 12.4 8
New England R. Gronkowski 72 1176 16.3 11
Touchdowns Player TD
Kansas City J. Maclin 8
New England R. Gronkowski 11

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