Kansas City Chiefs
Here we are, the Patriots against the new God of the AFC: Patrick Mahomes. One of the marquee games of the year, everyone’s been expecting a toss-up when the Chiefs visit New England in Week 14, with many pegging the matchup as a conference championship preview.
However, there are two major factors holding the Chiefs back from making this game as close and competitive as it could (and should) be.
First, and most obviously, their defense is downright ugly. It’s not quite as bad as the likes of the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinnati Bengals, but it’s far below K.C.’s own level of offensive talent. It’s also already proven to be a huge liability, giving up the fourth-most rushing yardage per game in the NFL at 148.9 yards per contest. Only the Browns, Bengals, and Dolphins regularly give up more yards on the ground.
Head coach Andy Reid has time to fix this, but without improvement, the Chiefs will have both Tom Brady and Sony Michel rolling over them.
The second factor could either be minuscule or enormous: Mahomes’ health. The league’s reigning MVP just dislocated his knee in Week 7, which is an injury that can change depending on the way it’s treated and handled. If the Chiefs are patient with his healing, he should be back to full strength right before the Pats game.
However, some worry that the Chiefs will rush Mahomes back to full-time gameplay… a worry strengthened by the fact that Mahomes hasn’t even officially been ruled out for Week 8 at this point. A four-week recovery period is what Mahomes needs at a minimum, and putting him back on the front lines too soon risks further injury to a vital part of his talent: his mobility.
Now if Kansas City is patient, this will be a non-story come Week 14, and the game should be intense. They just have to fix that defense in the meantime… before it’s too late.