Sep 14, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Alex Smith (11) looks to pass the ball during the second half against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The Broncos won 24-17. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
3. Force Chiefs’ Passing Game To Go Deep
The strength of this 2014 Patriots team right now is the secondary. They are the top pass defense in the NFL, and have been specifically tough in the deeper passing game. New England has not allowed any passes of over 40 yards through three games, and only six completions of more than 20 yards.
Meanwhile, Kansas City averages only 6.3 yards per pass attempt, which is seventh worst in the NFL. They rely on the short passing game, and if the Pats can take that away, this game could be a lot easier for the Patriots than many expect.
Darrelle Revis, Alfonzo Dennard, Logan Ryan, and Kyle Arrington playing tight man coverage underneath should be enough to force Smith deep, which is where a few turnovers may be up for grabs. Devin McCourty is great in the back end, and his range is probably the best in the league at the safety position. I think he could have an interception or two by the time tonight’s tilt comes to a close.
Forcing Smith to hang onto the ball for longer than he wants will also open up the pass rush, which means Chandler Jones and Rob Ninkovich need to take advantage. If the Patriots rough up Smith, and dare him to take on their secondary, this will be a fun three hours for the defensive side.