AFC East, AFC West, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, NFL Playoffs

AFC Conference Championship New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs

AFC Conference Championship New England Patriots @ Kansas City Chiefs

Sunday’s AFC Conference Championship sees coaches Bill Belichick and Andy Reid meet in their biggest clash since facing each other in Super Bowl XXXIX (39) back in the 2004 season. Bill Belichick took the honours that day as the Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years with a narrow 24-21 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles. Fast forward 14 years and the two meet again in what weather allowing could be a bit of a shootout.

Kansas City Chiefs Arrowhead Stadium

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The Two sides met in the regular season at Foxboro and in that one New England prevailed 43-40 to maintain their unbeaten home record. They are 9-0 at home but lost 5 road games including a costly loss to Miami which in the end cost them home field in this one.

Kansas City relied heavily on Mahomes carbon arm and ranked number one in overall yardage in the regular season. New England ranked number five,  so one would expect this to be a high scoring affair, however, the weather is forecast to be sub-zero which never lends itself to passing the football.

Kansas go into the game as favourites (3 points) and in Patrick Mahomes, they have possibly the most promising young quarterback in the NFL. He has amassed 50 touchdown passes in what is effectively his first season and they helped the Chiefs to average the most points per game by any team. It was this offensive prowess which carried them to the number one seed, as they ranked a disappointing 31st overall in yards allowed per game.

New England were no slouches themselves on the offensive side of the ball, ranking fifth overall in yardage, and although there was much chatter about Tom Brady not being the player of old, he still threw 29 touchdown passes. Defensively they were less formidable, but came in at 21st overall, but were markedly better against the run ranking 11th. If the game is as expected played in Arctic conditions then this may prove to be a key advantage.

Tom Brady New England Patriots

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When it comes to post-season experience, Tom Brady is without peer with 28 postseason wins & 10 losses, including five Super Bowl rings. To put this into perspective his nearest challenger the great Joe Montana had 23 postseason appearances in total! Patrick Mahomes, by comparison, has only played 18 NFL games. So with two great coaches, and two evenly matched teams this is a difficult one to call.

Backing against New England in the playoffs is never wise, however, their road record in the playoffs is patchy at best. Their last three road game Conference Finals have ended in defeat and they have looked a different team when playing away from Foxboro.

The Chiefs have been consistent all year having never lost a game by more than 3 points, and all four losses came against playoff-bound teams, including two who are in the Championship games. They have been great at home with only that gutsy two-point conversion by the Chargers pushed them to 7-1 in the regular season and in Kareem Hunt, they have a running back who is capable of that one big play which should settle this one.

Overall home field advantage should tell and we are predicting a narrow Chiefs win in a lowish scoring game.

Prediction Kansas City 21 New England 17 if the weather is as bad as forecast. Otherwise 44-40 Chiefs.



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