It seems that every year we get to a point in the schedule where we start talking about the decline of the New England Patriots. And then they come roaring back with a monster effort. It’s not that we don’t think it’s going to happen this time. But there is certainly the ability lately to explain why this team has been so lackluster on offense.
As for the defense, well, they started to give up a lot more points than they had been earlier in the schedule. And so perhaps it’s not fortuitous that they’ll be facing the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday.
The action gets underway at 4:25 PM ET at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. And while it is televised on CBS, BetAnySports customers can place wagers on it in real-time. That comes by using the advanced technology available through Sports Betting Ultra or Live Betting Extra.
Patriots’ stop unit threatened
In allowing 37 points to the Baltimore Ravens and 28 to the Houston Texans, New England showed some defensive vulnerability. And perhaps there is no one in the NFL that puts together the virtues of the legs and the arm quite like Patrick Mahomes.
Last year’s MVP has had a couple of injuries to deal with this season but just look at his numbers. He threw 20 touchdown passes with only two interceptions. He has averaged 8.5 yards per pass attempt. And he has taken only 13 sacks. Clearly this is a by-product of a couple of things. Yes, he is getting good protection, but his instinct then decision-making are first-rate.
And when he has all his receivers healthy, it can create a lot of problems. He has one of the best tight ends in the game and Travis Kelce. Sammy Watkins is a key guy because he has attracted some attention away from Tyreek Hill. And now there is another speed burner to worry about. Second-round draft pick Mecole Hardeman has scored five touchdowns and averages 19.6 yards per catch. The Chiefs will put pressure on that Patriots secondary.
Here are the numbers…
In the pro football betting odds that have been posted by the folks at BetAnySports, New England is the favored at home:
Kansas City Chiefs vs New England Patriots NFL Week 14 Betting Odds
|Chiefs||+3 (-110)||49 (-110)||+144|
|Patriots||-3 (-110)||49 (-110)||-165|
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New England – Offensive distress
Tom Brady always preferred the short passing game, but he is not stretching the field like he used to. He’s had a banged-up receiver corps, but that shouldn’t be an excuse, as he has always been able to transform “water into wine” before. But there is absolutely nothing coming out of the tight end position, when it comes down to it. And the passing attack is about possession receiver Julian Edelman, running back James White and not much else.
Also, this team has been disappointing in terms of running the ball. There is no way in the world offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels tolerates 3.5 yards per carry. So there would be considerable alarm about whether this team can trade points against high-powered offenses.
The Chiefs’ defense has created a lot of opportunities for opposing running games. When you give up 5.1 yards per carry, you are going to do that. So that there was ever a chance for Sony Michel and some balance for the Pats, this is it.
One of the important factors to continue to consider here is that Bill Belichick won’t be able to do what he did in the secondary against Kansas City in last year’s AFC championship game. Yes, he could double-team Hill, but with the presence of Hardeman factored in, it makes it more difficult to slow down the Chiefs.
Without a doubt, New England has the numbers. They given up only five yards per pass attempt if you can believe it. But that was largely against much lesser QB’s. The better offenses have been able to move the ball. It’s that simple.
If you look at the nature of the last few meetings, you’re going to see some real scoring bonanzas. They have, in fact, combined for 83, 68 and 69 points. But we wonder whether New England can engage in that kind of shootout. Kansas City has the ability to put pressure on the quarterback (34 sacks). And Brady is far less effective when he is under pressure. We’re pretty tempted to take the points.
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