Patriots visit the Chiefs in a clash of eras in the AFC Championship


The AFC Championship game on Sunday very much feels like a clash of two eras:  Tom Brady, Head Coach Bill Belichick, and the status quo Patriots against Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and offensive dominated future that the Kansas City Chiefs personify.

In a rematch of a regular season match-up in October that saw 83 points being scored, the Patriots come to frigid Kansas City for the chance at another Super Bowl appearance, their ninth in 17 years.  This Sunday’s clash will be the first Championship match in the history of the 40 year old Arrowhead stadium and it should be another high scoring affair.

While New England were able to quell a relatively strong Los Angeles Chargers offense in the Divisional round, they will face a different beast in the Maholmes led Chiefs.  Kansas City should provide headaches all across the field in receivers Hill, Sammy Watkins, Travis Kelce, and even young running back Damien Williams.

In their week six contest, Hill and the rest of the receivers totaled 352 receiving yards on the Patriots secondary.  New England’s back end has improved in recent weeks, but they may still struggle to contain such a potent offense. Hill, especially, has been a nightmare for opposing defenders and defensive coordinators, as Kansas City deploys him around the football field, in many different roles.

The Patriots will look to young, un-drafted cornerback J.C Jackson to hopefully slow down Hill’s productivity.  Jackson, un-drafted out of Maryland, has been a fantastic addition to New England’s secondary and has yet to allow a touchdown scored against him, despite seeing the majority of he traffic coming his way,  Hill or Watkins are tall orders for the young defensive back but he has shown so far this season, he is up to the task.

The most important factor, however for the Patriots this Sunday will be how well New England is able to pressure Mahomes.  Mahomes’ play this season has been out of this world and the Patriots will need to put the former Texas Tech Red Raider under pressure, otherwise he has the patience and arm talent to pick the Patriots apart.  While it doesn’t seem like it, this is the first year for Mahomes as a starter and the big lights of an AFC Championship game, along with a potent pass rush, may be able to slow down the young quarterback. That being said, he’s also the quarterback who did this, so maybe not.

On the other side, the Patriots have Tom Brady.  There is no quarterback in the history of the NFL that is more prepared for this moment than him and he goes against a weak Chiefs defense.  

Brady completely picked apart the Chargers defense last week and will hope to do the same to their AFC West compatriots. Brady used running back James White and receiver Julian Edelman to pick apart their way down the field (the two combined for 24 catches for 248 yards) and then used running back Sony Michel to batter their way into the end zone.  This will likely be the formula against the Chiefs.

Looming on the periphery is Rob Gronkowski Gronk. Gronk has looked like a shadow of his former self this season but if he can find a spark of his old self, the Patriots will have a big, dynamic weapon that could put them over the top. He did have one of his better run blocking days in last week’s victory over the Chargers, but he was only targeted once in the passing game.

The Chiefs will try to get pressure Brady through the pass rushing trio of Dee Ford, Chris Jones and Justin Houston who have combined for 27.5 sacks on the season.  Belichick will hope Brady’s ability to quickly get the ball out of his hands to Edelman and White should counteract the Chiefs pass rush.

This matchup between the Chiefs and the Patriots for the AFC Championships seems both fitting and inevitable.  The Chiefs are on the precipice of dominating the conference for the next decade with a once in a generation type of quarterback in Mahomes but to quote the great Ric Flair, “To be the man, you gotta beat the man.”

The best comes in the form of Brady and the Patriots. Even when they struggled early in the season, it always felt like they would find their way back near the top. Can New England stay on top for one more year or will there be a new King of the AFC? We’ll find out Sunday.



About Author

based in Frederick, MD, USA. Multi-sport correspondent for Prost International and Prost Amerika focusing mainly on Soccer/Football and American Football

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