The New England Patriots face-off against the high-flying Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night in Kansas City in the AFC Championship Game (6:40 pm EST, CBS).
Oh, what a matchup we all have in store for us…
The Chiefs just overpowered the physical Indianapolis Colts, who previously had been the hottest team in the NFL. Kansas City’s much-maligned defense made national headlines, harassing Colts quarterback Andrew Luck for a full 60 minutes last Saturday. Meanwhile, the Chiefs’ running game piled up 180 yards on the ground, and gave Kansas City a two-to-one advantage in time of possession (all statistics from Pro-Football-Reference.com unless otherwise stated).
They now host the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game. The Patriots are playing at Arrowhead instead of home in Gillette because they dropped the ball in five road losses during the regular season to a slew of non-playoff teams (Jaguars, Lions, Titans, Dolphins, and Steelers). Their punishment is they now must fly halfway across the country and head to chilly Kansas City instead of staying home in Foxborough.
The Patriots claimed the second seed in the AFC by winning the AFC East, while the Chiefs won their tie-breaker with the Los Angeles Chargers and took the No. 1 seed by clinching the AFC West.
The two teams last met earlier in the regular season on October 14, 2018, when New England defeated Kansas City 43-40 in a back-and-forth thriller at Gillette Stadium. Quarterback Tom Brady passed for 340 yards and a touchdown that night, while running back Sony Michel pounded out 106 yards on the ground. Kicker Stephen Gostkowski nailed the last-second, game-winning field goal to seal the victory.
Both teams are very different from that meeting three months ago.
The Chiefs no longer have the dangerous Kareem Hunt at running back, with former Dolphins running back Damien Williams–who rushed for 129 yards last week–taking his place. The Patriots are without their deep threat wide receiver Josh Gordon, who stepped away from the team to address his personal issues.
The New England Patriots are in their eighth consecutive AFC Championship Game. The Kansas City Chiefs advance for the first time since 1993, when Joe Montana and Marcus Allen led the offense. Let’s take a look at what to watch for (W2W4) on Sunday, analyzing the offense and defense of both squads: